Street Fighter, Michael Jackson and turning two
Your father and I spent a long time preparing you to turn two.
“Do you know how old you’re going to be?” we repeated pretty much every day in the run up to your birthday.
“Dos!” we shouted. Because we’re raising you bilingual. Kind of. Our main household language is a lazy Spanglish – mostly English with the occasional más and gracias thrown in.
We held up two fingers to show you dos. You tried to imitate us but couldn’t get your fingers quite right.
“Mummy help dos,” you said. I bent your fingers into the right position. You dropped your pointer and accidentally gave me the finger.
“Good dos,” I said.
We were clearly more pumped for dos than you were.
The weather was gross on the day you actually turned dos, so we took you to an aviation museum with your grandparents (because you love airplanes) that happened to be hosting a retro video game exhibit (because your father is a nerd). I showed you how to play the arcade version of Street Fighter.
“He’s dancing!” you said, pointing to Blanka as he jump kicked around the screen.
“Yes…dancing,” I said. Blanka landed a kick on Guile.
“That’s not nice,” you said.
It occurred to me, somehow for the first time, that Street Fighter probably wasn’t an appropriate game for a two-year-old. I shuffled you over to the arcade version of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker instead.
“DANCING!” you shouted.
We watched Michael Jackson dance fight this way through a street full of bad guys in an attempt to save some children. Each time he found a child, he did a little dance thing. This seemed possibly more inappropriate than Street Fighter.
Mario, I thought. There’s nothing wrong with Mario.
I took you over to the Super Mario Bros station handed you a Nintendo controller. You held it up to your ear like it was a phone. I realised then how old I am, and how young you are, and how everything is going to be different for you.
You’ll never have to memorise a phone number or blow into a video game cartridge to try to get it to work. You’ll never have to hear a busy signal or the dial-up tone of a modem. You’ll never have to sit next to your boombox all night, just waiting for the DJ to play your favourite song so you can record it onto a blank cassette.
You’ll have access to all the games you could ever want to play and all the information you could ever want to know and all the music you could ever want to dance to.
And man, you are quite the dancer.
We have dance parties almost every night, where you demand música (Spanglish household, remember) and then jump around in circles with your arms over your head. I hope you dance as hard at 22, 52 and 82 as you do at two. Nothing would make me happier.
Happy dos birthday, my weird, wonderful child.
Keep on dancing.