Kyle and Owen have been working very hard for the past five weeks to earn their first ever “video games” (these Leapster2 Kindergarten systems, to be precise). Every once in a while we do an ‘earning chart’ but we’ve never done something as big as this. They needed to accumulate 100 checks each to “earn it!” And we really wanted them to earn it before Christmas (i.e., not a Christmas present) so that they’d have them for the long road trips we’re going to be setting out on in the coming days! They had 3 chances each day to get a check– making their beds and tidying up their rooms in the morning (without complaint), feeding Cooper and setting the table for dinner each evening (without complaint), and doing “good bedtime behavior” at night. 100 checks is a lot when you’re five years old. But, we wanted this to be big because it is a big deal for us to dive into the whole ‘screen-time’/video/media world with our kids. At age 5.5 K & O have never had any exposure to this stuff. They have seen only two movies in the theater, ever. And they’ve never watched television with advertising (only PBS, with the exception of a handful of baseball and football games only in the past six months). The videos they have exposure to are very limited (the majority of their video collection is comprised of Curious George). We’ve held off for lots and lots of reasons, about which we feel very strongly. But we felt it was time now, and the boys really wanted these Leapster things, and the more we researched them, and talked to other parents about them, the more we thought that it was the right thing to do. Anyway, this week they both earned it! They couldn’t be more thrilled with themselves. And seriously, they on fire with spelling and reading right now– both of them– and this is in large part thanks to those hard-earned Leapsters.