By Mir
October 26, 2005

Today I have pleased the fickle fates. My spaztastic keyboard spontaneously healed itself; it was fine this morning when I came downstairs. I typed extra words, waiting for the cursor to start leaping around on the screen, but my keyboard coolly kept placing the letters one after another in logical succession. I think I heard it laughing at me. (“Great job screwing with her mind!” the mouse snickered to its companion. “She’s actually wondering if maybe she imagined all of that last night!”)

Also, I’m pretty sure my hair grew a little bit last night. Really. It so did. JUST LET ME BELIEVE THAT AND SMILE AND NOD. Thanks. You’re pretty.

And lastly, I got an invitation to participate in a migraine study! That’s GOT to be a good sign! Because, you know, usually my migraines only get me, oh, pain and vomiting and whatnot. They don’t often pay $50. But maybe my luck is turning.

Needless to say, armed with all of these favorable omens, I started thinking about Christmas shopping.

I know. It’s not even Halloween. It’s a sickness.

But, see, here’s the thing. My son has suffered a full-blown case of Pokemonitis that is showing no signs of fading, and I’m trying to determine if I need to finally get into this product line and start providing him with… ummm… I don’t know. Pokemon cards? Electronic Pokemon toys? Electroshock therapy to cure him of this addiction? I’m trying to figure it out.

He’s been talking about Pokemon for a looooong time, of course. There’s this bizarre osmosis that happens between little boys. Monkey goes to school, he comes home speaking in tongues about water creatures and special attacks and before I know what’s happened, he’s carrying around a red and white pokeball which houses any variety of MOST IMPORTANT items. I ignored it for as long as I could. “Look, something shiny!” I would offer. Or, “Hey, let’s go play with ANYTHING AT ALL that you will not insist is training to beat me in the ultimate battle!”

But it turns out that I have been… defeated. What was once my ally has become my enemy. I’ve been betrayed by my love of the written word.

Do you have ANY IDEA how many Pokemon books there are? It makes me a little bit dizzy to contemplate it, frankly. Because so far I’ve only had to read one of them to Monkey, and to save you the trouble of checking it out yourself, I shall summarize.

In Charizard, Go!, we follow the story of how Ash–a 10-year-old who has absent parents, two friends who follow him around and point out when he’s being a dumbass, and a chirpy Pikachu whom I imagine squishing between my thumb and forefinger until he Pikachokes–captured this little wounded Charmander one day and everything was grand until it evolved into a Charmeleon. At that point, it stopped listening to Ash! The horror!! But Ash kept trying to get it to battle for him, and eventually it evolved again, into a Charizard, which would normally be a very formidable Pokemon, except that this one hates Ash’s guts and has the habit of taking naps when Ash begs him to battle. It’s quite gripping and in the end Charizard once again ignores Ash and Ash loses the biggest tournament of his career, but he doesn’t give up. Because he’s one plucky kid, that Ash.

I wished, several times, that the book would end with Charizard flambeing Ash and devouring him with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, but no.

Anyway. THE POINT HERE is that my darling Monkey, my sweet son who is fast approaching age 6 and is generally content to go with the flow and stick with what’s easy, wants to learn to read. He’s SO CLOSE. He’s working really hard at it; sounding out everything he sees, asking me if he’s correctly figured out the first letter of the word he’s been mulling over with furrowed brow. There is not a single book he’s been willing to pore over with me and actually attack the letters and words… not Dr. Seuss, none of the old favorites… save for this stupid Pokemon book. For Ash and flying lizards, he is willing to wade through his frustration and try to break the code once and for all.

I am totally buying that kid every Pokemon toy on the market this holiday season. Pretty much I will do anything–anything at all–to avoid ever having to read him another one of those books. When he can read them himself, I can cheerfully feed him a never-ending literary diet of Pokemon adventures without having to partake, myself.

On the other hand, once he evolves into an independent reader, it’s official. No more little kids for me. I still trap Chickadee and demand she allow me to read to her, but it’s not the same as it was before she could do it herself. And it won’t be with Monkey, either. I can’t stop him, so I suppose I’ll encourage him.

Part of me is looking forward to not having to stumble over the names of imaginary battle creatures or trying not to roll my eyes as I read through the world’s most insipid dialogue. And part of me is thinking that evolution is highly overrated.


  1. buffi

    Your migraines study?? Mine only make me feel like my eyeball is going to shoot across the room.

    I am really hoping that this Pokemon thing blows over before Bear starts school. Only, even if it were to blow over (not likely), something worse will certainly replace it.

  2. Jenn

    Pokemon is still kicking around? Sometimes I hear about things like Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh and I think “What the hell?”

    WOOHOO for migraine studies! If you’re going to suffer, might as well get paid for it!

  3. 4Sanity

    Hey there i read your blog quite a bit but don’t comment very often.

    I couldn’t help but laugh when you said “until he Pikachokes” I can’t stand pokemon.

  4. Steve S

    Feed his Pokemon reading desire and he’ll read quicker and then move on (all by himself) to other more interesting reading… starve him and he’ll flounder with reading… readiness and desire are so important at this age… well actually, readiness and desire are important for any age, right!

    Now if only your hair was ready and had the same desire to grow as you do… (I knew you’d think of that!)

    Good luck…

  5. Momof2kids2birds

    My son went through this faze when he was 6 also, he is now almost 13. At that time they had the Pokemon movies in the theaters. Can you imagine having to go to a movie theater and sitting there watching this with a theater full of 6 year olds? Oh my god, it was torture! Atleast now they are on video and you can “just walk away” from the t.v. and don’t have to watch it.

  6. Amy-GO

    No. Pokemon. Pokemon is a never ending slew of CRAP that you have to PAY for! Surely there’s SOMETHING else he’s interested in enough to read about it. And if not…I’m not sure reading is a big enough trade-off for Pokemon. GAH, I hate that stuff! And I have THREE boys! Hold me. *whimper*

  7. Pammer

    Your Pokemon is my Disney Princess hell. I am SO very tired of the stories, but feel compelled to read them because of the whole “I guess she really SHOULD learn how to read” idea. ;)

    Nothing like reinforcing to a 4 year old a little “Prince Charming will rescue me” mentality. Oy.

  8. ben

    Hey, we were invited to participate in a “relationship study” that supposedly pays something (which is probably better than the pain and vomiting and whatnot).

    My eldest is reading like a champ now. We’ll be at the store and he’ll pick up some item at random just to read the ingredients (he gets that scientific bent from his mother, I’m guessing). “Look,” he’ll exclaim, “this has high fructose corn syrup AND sugar. Let’s get some!” “No, honey, that’s a laxative.”


    Oddly enough, my son LOVES pokemon / yugioh / whatchamacallit cards, but has no real interest in playing the actual games that go with them. He just likes having more cards than anybody else. I think he gets that from his dad.

  9. Aimee

    Pikachokes — ha! My nephew’s outgrown Pokemon, but he used to talk about Charizard and the others until my eyes would glaze over and roll back in my head. Still, I’m of the belief that anything that gets ’em reading is good.

  10. Kathy

    It IS a sickness. When my son (now 14) was about 6 he was
    O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D with Pokemon. He actually was physically incapable of stopping himself from talking about Pikachu. Never fear, it will end…and quite suddenly if I remember correctly. My heart goes out to you though. This was not a happy time in MY life.

  11. Zuska

    Given that MegaBoy trails Monkey by a few short months, I’m with ya’. Evolution IS highly overrated. Everytime I high-five him on some new accomplishment, the pride I feel is also accompanied a little twinge in my heart. Sigh.

    But how dare you Pikachoke Pikachu!!! I LOVE Pikachu! Luckily, while my two like Pokemon, they didn’t go too overboard. But we do play Pokemon Yahtzee a few nights a week…

  12. Bob

    I didn’t know Pokemon was still big either. Both of our kids were into it when they were in middle school (both are college age now). Every Saturday the local Books a Million would host a Pokemon “tournament” – so we bought a lot of BAM coffee and quite a few of their bargain books. We made a few trips to Atlanta so they could compete in real tournaments. They would buy cards with their allowance (we only bought cards for birthdays or Christmas) and they discovered the magic of eBay looking for “rare” cards. (It wound up being a good way for them to learn about money and budgets as there were always more cards they wanted than money to purchase them with.) This went on for a few YEARS until they finally grew out of it. They both still have a gazillion cards, the videos, charms, pokeballs, etc. put away somewhere. Maybe this will be their version of gold in the attic (like 78s & 45s and LPs are for our generation).

  13. joaaanna

    Wow – your hair really HAS grown!

  14. Nothing But Bonfires

    I’m sort of embarassed to confess this, but once I ordered this stuff from the back of magazine that claimed it would make my hair grow. And every morning I would inspect it and declare that YES! IT HAD GROWN!
    So I am ENTIRELY sure that yours grew overnight too, even without the skeevy ordered-from-a-magazine stuff, which I am convinced was just witch hazel.

  15. Middle America

    I have a girl and boy that is totally into the world of Pokemon. Pokemon? You name it, cards, stuff creatures, pokeballs, books, DVD sets, VHS tapes, I have them all.

    You know what they continue to hammer in, ‘Gotta have them all’ and the kids are all for it.

    I have a feeling my girl will soon be done. Her friend in the same class has suddenly dropped the fascination for Pokemon and converted over to Groovy Girls. I have no idea what that is, yet. I suspect it wont be long before I find out.

    I enjoyed your article and chuckled.

  16. elswhere

    Ah, Pokemon!

    Long long ago, in my first year at this job, a kid came into the library at lunch one day with some innocuous looking cards. The next day, a few more kids. By the end of the week, the library looked like a Pokemon parlor every lunch recess.

    So I picked up a few cheapo books, figuring, hey, they’ll read ’em, right? And when the craze is over, I’ll just toss them out.

    I swear, those books have *never spent more than a week on the shelves* without getting checked out. It’s been seven years now.

    I can’t decide whether the parents should love me for sparing them the need to buy the damn things, or curse me for having them at all.

    In any case, you have my sympathies.

  17. Jenn

    You had me at “fickle fates”…

    …you lost me at Pokemon.

    I have had to deal with Ash and his band of freaks since my 6th grader was in pre-k. Hasn’t that damn kid mastered this and grown up yet? Sadly, my 4 year old daughter has developed a love for Pokemon, too. It will NEVER leave my house, will it? Never!

    I must go to my room and weep now.

  18. Angel

    Hair growing–prenatals and uh, horse shampoo LOL

    Good luck with the migraine study, and THANK YOU from a fellow migrainee. I hope you find relief with it!

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