Five ways having a baby needn’t subdue your inner geek by Isy Suttie
As well as being a successful comedian, Isy Suttie is an avowed lover of video games. Would becoming a mum take her away from her passion? Of course not. Here are her top tips for maintaining a digital infatuation after the arrival of a child.
1. Play Ms Pac-Man during the gestation stage
I spent a lot of my pregnancy eating Eton mess and playing Ms Pac-Man. Ok, I’ve spent a lot of my life eating Eton mess and playing Ms Pac-Man, but finally I had an excuse. The main reason I prefer Ms Pac-Man to Pac-Man is because, in the former, there’s a ghost called Sue. This is nearly as good as having one called Sandra, or Pauline. I was sure the opening sting, the tiny bleeps as Ms Pac-Man ate the pellets, and the exhilaration and terror I felt as I gained on a banana only to be eaten by a ghost would permeate through to my unborn baby. When she was born, we played her the music from Ms Pac-Man but she carried on looking indifferent. Therefore I can conclude that my mediocre gaming skills did not affect her for the worse. Hooray!
2. Get your baby into 19th Century Russian folk music
To evade the feelings of guilt as you whip out the Gameboy and start playing Tetris as your baby falls asleep, it might do you well to remember that what you’re doing is educational. The theme music for Tetris - embedded in our collective consciousness since 1989, along with Global Hypercolor t-shirts and Kylie and Jason's Especially For You - is, in fact, a popular Russian folk song called Korobeiniki. Korobeiniki tells the story of a doomed romance between a peddler and a young peasant girl. They meet in a field, get on pretty well, he gives her a ring and promises to return and marry her one day, but then is killed during a robbery and never does. Luckily the bit of the music used in the Tetris theme is just the first bit where they’re in the field comparing ears of wheat and planning their 7,000 children, so there’s no risk of upset regarding your baby. Babies are well-known for interpreting the nuances of 19th Century music.
3. Create a life-size Space Invaders grid
You move the ‘aliens’ (rusks, your partner’s face, etc) along slowly to the left and right as your baby repeatedly fires ‘laser cannons’ by squeezing a bottle of milk. You can also create a Pac-Man maze with raisins as pellets, some remote-control toys as ghosts, and actual fruit as the fruit! Who needs baby-led weaning?
4. Play on a Gameboy rather than a phone
Once she’s finished her daily arithmetic, German and hand-bell-ringing lessons, it’s only natural your toddler might want to kick back and enjoy Mr Tumble. Simply hand her your phone to watch while you get out an old-school Gameboy: no interruptions. She can deal with WhatsApp messages about the baby-friendly harp recital tomorrow (remember, she only listens to 19th Century Russian folk now) while you steer Super Mario through some very important life lessons.
5. ...And get her a Super Mario outfit
Speaking of which, there’s no better way to ensure your child inherits your gaming addiction than to dress them as one of the best gaming characters around. Who doesn’t want to see a one-year old girl dressed as an Italian plumber? Forget cats and pumpkins, I’m about to patent the baby-sized blue dungarees, red cap and frankfurter moustache. If nothing else, it will bagsy her first dibs on the slide as the other parents recoil in horror when they see I’ve used an actual frankfurter... What? It’s a snack for later. While I play Ms Pac-Man.