Life Game: What’s Cool and What’s Lame

What’s up Gamers?

I’ve done it! I’ve got to Level 3 of Life Game and I’m becoming quite a pro. I’ve got to the stage where I can watch n00bs blundering about the training levels at Toddler Groups, trying to do Walk or Crawl (badly), and I can have a laugh at them or go up and give them some pointers.

I have also got to a point in the game where I have a pretty clear idea about what I like and what I don’t like. And I don’t see why anyone should try to make me do the bits of the game that are Lame. So in this episode of my Life Game Hacks, I thought I’d give you a run down of the bits I like and the bits I don’t like, and some tips on how to get any interfering busy-bodies (read: The Mummy) to butt out and let you get on with painting your underarms purple or whatever it was you were doing.


Painting – What could be more glorious than covering a piece of paper in bright colours using a brush? And your hands. And your knees. And then covering the table, the chair, the floor, your clothes, your hair, your arms and whatever you can get to before the Mummy is alerted to what you’re doing (she calls it Making a Mess but I say potato potahto). Painting is photo (9).JPGawesome.

Cake – With icing please. And every day please. And once I’ve licked the icing off you can pick the discarded spongy bit up off the floor yourself because I don’t need it anymore, thanks.

Teefee – Best. Thing. Ever. Princesses, Barbie, doggies, kitties, beautiful girls with starry Manga eyes, and they all go around rescuing people and eating cupcakes. It’s like my imagination has come to life! And you don’t have to make the characters talk for once so you can just sit back and recuperate some health points.

Tip! Teefee also gives you useful updates on what you could buy in the Shops (with your Mummy’s credits of course). When you spot an item from the Teefee, just point at it and shout at the top of your voice LOOK LOOK LOOK Mummy! It gets her to interact with the item, though I’m still working out how to actually move it to my inventory. Will keep you updated.

Role play – Why be yourself when you can so easily pretend to be someone else? When you interact with an NPC and they address you by your name, just give them a blast of your Charisma and say: “Do you mean: Dora?” You can use any TV character name of course. My current favourite is Princess Leia. Insist that all henchman and other players change their screen names to match your new identity, for instance, The Brother has to be Luke, the Daddy has to be Darth Vader and the Fairy Godmother is, obviously, Cheesebacca.


Stickers and colouring – The Mummy seems to think that these are somehow just as fun as Painting and should be an acceptable alternative. But she clearly does not understand what is so fun about Painting. How can you make a decent mess with stickers or crayons? Why would you want to colour inside the lines?? (Yuck)

Comics – Once you’ve got the toy off they’re pretty much useless. Juvenile stuff. I much prefer a decent novel: a bit of David Mitchell or Kate Atkinson will do.


Preferred outfit in sub-zero temperatures

Warm clothes – ZOMG will they quit already with the coats and jumpers? Don’t they know that they cover up my pretty dresses?? I need to wear a dress, pref a summer dress, not trousers because they are for boys. That is stuff you know when you get to Level 3. Also, socks are nasty and unnecessary, just take them off anytime you can and abandon them wherever.

Playing with stuff I am allowed to play with – Where is the fun in that? Sure, I wanted to play with Skye, but once the Brother gave me his big cuddly Skye, I only got half the experience points for holding her. I had to start sneaking over to his Paw Patrol box to get the little Skye out, because that still gave me the triple experience for doing Thief missions.

Lame Stuff Avoidance Techniques

Here are some ways you can make it clear to the Mummy that her suggestions are lame:

1. When offered unacceptable dinner options, shout: “I SAID I not want dis food!!” Then push the bowl away. You can do this with drink as well, of course: “I SAID I want JUICE!” Then push the offending cup of water across the table so it tips over and soaks the Mummy’s supposedly important papers (my paintings look much more beautiful and she puts those in the recycling so I think this is only fair).

2. Cry. Just roll around on the floor or the sofa and do Crying, making as much noise as possible.

3. Hit. If no NPCs are within range, just whack the sofa or a toy. They have fewer hit points and break more easily so that has the added bonus of making a mess (again)

Well, there you go, it was a long one but I hope this points you in the right direction.

Got any requests for my next update? Let me know in the comments if there is a tricky bit of Life Game you are struggling with and I’ll do you a walk-through in my next post.


The Girl



Ode to Weetabix

Ode to Weetabix

Squatting, quietly contained in the bowl
These two woven wheaty biscuits
so innocent you look
but add milk
and mix
you stir
into a paste
more potent than cement
congealing in hair, on pyjamas
Weetabix, you glue our lives together.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Linking up to Prose for Thought.

Prose for Thought

Also linking up to Shoulder to Shoulder Today, hoping this will cheer Emma a little.

Shoulder to Shoulder to Day

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The Big Fat Yummy Book

I was a terrible eater as a child. My favourite dish was plain pasta with grated cheese on top. I would also have meat, potatoes and veg, provided there was no sauce involved and none of the foods were touching each other. Everything needed to be just so: my porridge quite runny, my slices of cheese neatly tiled on my bread, orange not apple juice, not too much milk with my cereal, and definitely nothing spicy or new.

My Mum was at a loss. She would attempt to get me to try new things by using Jedi mind tricks on me: “You will like this.” Unfortunately, I was of strong, sound mind and eager to prove my mother wrong. She tried shaming me – “I can’t take you anywhere” – but I was impervious. I went everywhere anyway and just asked the waiter to bring me a plate of chips while my mother cringed in a corner.

My father tried playful encouragement. My limited diet made it tricky if I went to stay with a friend or relative, so he made the “Big Fat Yummy Book” for me. It was a homemade notebook with an optimistic number of pages on which I could write all the food I did like. I could show this to my host to help plan the menu – and I think my Dad hoped I would try new things because I would want to fill up the book. This also sadly failed to do much good.

I am loathe to admit it, but this is how I ate until I was nineteen years old. What happened then? I moved out of home and had to cook for myself. Cooking plain pasta and grating some cheese on top got old fast, so I learned to cook and eat more interesting things to avoid dying of boredom and/or starvation.

Having gone from being a very picky eater to someone who enjoys food – cooking it, eating it, experimenting with it – I am determined that my children will not spend the first eighteen years of their lives going on sleepovers with a hopefully named Big Fat Yummy Book under their arm.

When it was time to start our son on solid food, my husband and I decided to try something called Baby-Led Weaning, which basically does away with purees and jars and encourages babies to eat with the family from the start. The thought is that babies are designed to feed themselves: the maturation of their digestive system, ready for solid food, coincides with them learning to sit up, grab things and bring them to their mouths. They naturally want to try to chew and eat everything they see. So you provide them with easy to grab titbits from your plate and let them get on with it. It takes a month or two for them to start actually swallowing some food and realising that it is not just a plaything but that it fills you up and stops the hunger-feeling. Then they are away and you can start dropping milk feeds.

Part of the idea behind baby-led weaning is that you provide them with a wide range of different types of food but let them decide what they want to try. You don’t put any pressure on them, there is no “here comes the aeroplane” or “just one more bite, darling”, they munch what they want to munch. And because it is like playtime for them, they really do want to try everything.

My son took to baby-led weaning like a duck to water. By eight months, another mum at a toddler group was gaping at him as he munched on a piece of toast and said: “I have worked in nurseries for ten years, but this is the best eating I have ever seen a baby do”. He devoured everything: he was eating hummus and tzatziki, mango, trout, avocado, chickpeas – you name it. I was really hopeful that he would avoid being a picky eater altogether.

But no. It appears picky eating and what they call ‘neo-phobia’ is just a natural stage of toddler development, and now my son likes eating plain pasta with grated cheese on top. It is seriously his favourite dish. Oh, and he loves pancakes.

I keep offering him other types of food and I am told that he will return to them. He has already discovered that actually, meat balls are quite nice and chicken is good too. Also, if he refuses to eat dinner we don’t offer alternatives, just an extra beaker of milk. Hopefully in time, he will broaden his repertoire again.

I’m sure that was what my parents kept telling themselves as well.

So, what will we do with the Baby? We will definitely be doing baby-led weaning again – to me it seems more natural, easier and it really helps foster independence. But I won’t hold out hopes that it will avoid picky eating. That is just a phase we will need to weather.


For more information on Baby-Led Weaning, I can recommend this book. As with all parenting books, do read it with a pinch of salt. Spoons are not as evil as the book makes them out to be.

Dinner with the Toddler

I am planning a post about picky eating and Baby Led Weaning, but this is not it. This is just a little snapshot of what it is like to have dinner with my son.

I show him the chinese stir fry we are having with noodles and bean sprouts. “Yaaaay!” he shouts, “Getty!”

“Yes, it is chinese spaghetti,” I confirm, in the hope of encouraging a positive attitude to the dish.

He sits up nicely at the table with his little bowl of noodles and makes yummy sounds as he carefully picks out each noodle from between the other ingredients. “Getty,” he says again appreciatively.

Thinking he might as well learn what they actually are, I say: “Noodles.”

“Doodles!” he shouts in delight. Now he thinks they have something to do with the bitey crocodile from Tilly and Friends, one of his favourite shows on CBeebies.

“Noodles,” I try again.

We settle on “oodle”. By now he has found a lovely long bit of noodle and is sliding it along the (not terribly clean) dining table going “sssssss”.

“Let Mummy have the snake,” I say, carefully keeping any urgency out of my voice, because if he knows I don’t want him to eat it that is just what he will do.

Now he dangles each noodle in the air before eating it, singing a little song that sounds vaguely familiar. I listen for a while to work out what it is. Then I realise it is from a Peppa Pig episode: “You’re a wriggly worm, you’re a wriggly worm, how do you do, I love you.”

The wheels really come off the wagon when his glass of Ribena gets involved. First he dips his fork-with-stir-fry-sauce into the Ribena. “Mixing!” he says proudly.

“No! No mixing. That’s for drinking!”

Obediently, he grabs the glass with two hands, drinks a generous gulp of Ribena-mixed-with-sauce and then tips the rest into his bowl.

Mummy gives up as the Toddler attacks his new and improved Chinese stir fry with renewed enthusiasm.