The Electronic Pacifier: VTech’s MobiGo

Daniel is three years old.  This means sitting quietly for one hour is about as reasonable as expecting a lion to turn vegan.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Which is why I was desperate to find something — anything — that would occupy him during the impending Christmas Mass, which often runs MUCH longer than one hour.  The last time I attempted going to Mass with the little guy (it was the second Advent Sunday, December 5), he bellowed, wanted to splash the baptismal fount, and squirmed and ran around the narthex of the church.  After putting him in time-out twice OUTSIDE on a bench to no avail, he and I spent the rest of the Mass in the car, waiting for my sister.

He was not happy, and certainly neither was I.  Not exactly the right vibe for attending a sacred service and taking the sacraments of bread and wine.

I remember as a child bringing my favorite books with me and reading during Mass because I would get bored bored bored.  As soon as my mom would realize what I was doing, she would reach over and give me a quiet **whack** to indicate “QUIT IT.”

It wouldn’t be until my senior year in high school that I learned to *not* be bored during Mass. (Dating one of the altar boys, well, helped.)

The solution my brother had for his son was to get him a Nintendo DS as soon as he was able to figure out the Nintendo Wii, which was around age four.  Talk about an electronic pacifier: my nephew was even in his video gaming world during Daniel’s baptism ceremony.

Although I’m not ready to introduce Daniel to full-bore gaming (we don’t even have a game console in the house), I gave Daniel his own cheapy netbook and bookmarked and set as his homepage preschool friendly sites like Nick Jr. and Sesame Street.  While I’m on my own laptop, grading papers and such, Daniel can spend hours — HOURS — on his little netbook, watching kid-friendly videos and playing kid-friendly online games.

I needed to replicate that behavior for Mass.  Since I highly doubted that a Catholic church would have widespread wi-fi, I knew I couldn’t just lug his netbook to church for Christmas Mass. (Also, he can’t read yet, so my childhood solution wouldn’t work.)

That’s when a woman introduced me to the concept of the MobiGo a few days ago.

I was standing in line at Target, waiting to have some Christmas odds and ends rung up, when I mentioned to a similarly harried-looking woman that I was glad that I could do some shopping without my three-year old to keep track of.  She laughed in commiseration and then shared a tip: when she has to shop with her kid, she packs a snack and his MobiGo, and he’s the perfect shopping companion, sitting in the cart.

“Really?” I asked.

“Really!” she affirmed.

It was too late for me to go and grab a MobiGo — especially since I didn’t quite know what a MobiGo *was* — so I waited until I got home to do some research.

This review helped lots.  So when I returned to Target a couple of days ago, I compared the Leapster 2 with the MobiGo (Target was all out of the Leapster Explorer), checked out the pricing of the various learning/gaming cartridges, and went with the woman’s original recommendation: the MobiGo.

What’s funny is that it’s more expensive than the actual Christmas gift that I got him (a Tonka dump truck and a DC Comics book for pre-readers), but it’s not a Christmas gift.  It’s an electronic pacifier, so I knew I had to test it out, that it would actually work.

Well, my readers, the MobiGo is GO.  The little guy played with it all evening on the day that I bought it, he played with it a little bit before he went to preschool, and he played with it for a couple of hours this evening.

So.  A lion may never turn vegan, but the little guy may — just may — be able to sit quietly for an hour or so, with the MobiGo to keep his attention.  I think we may be able to survive Christmas Mass 2010. 

::fingers crossed::

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About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
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