I Learned Who My Kid Is Through a Video Game

Dance Central 3 Xbox 360

Sometimes I feel like I don’t know my child at all. She comes out with something blasphemous like, “I don’t like breadcrumbs on my macaroni and cheese,” and I want to cry. Did she really come out of me?

And yet, other times, when I’m not nearly as hormonal, her preferences are so clear and so embedded in who she is that it leaves me awed. It doesn’t happen every day or even every week, but sometimes she’s doing something that makes me sit back and go, “Huh! So that’s who my kid is. And that’s WHY she is the way she is.”

The hardest part, I’m finding, is noticing when these moments crop up. Because they’ll come at me out of nowhere.

Take, for example, last week when she was playing the new Dance Central 3 game on our XBox 360. I recently partnered with Microsoft to take a look at some of their family-oriented games because we have long been an XBox family anyway.

But when I slipped the disc in, I expected more of the same. Music would play. She would dance. I’d actually get a moment’s peace.

It’s what happened. More or less (the Kinect has made these dance games much easier for someone her age to simply move, unhindered by some device held in the hand or strapped to the body, and the basics of this game are the same as the previous iterations). But there was something more.

I started noticing the songs she was choosing.

Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby.

The Macarena.

Songs that were popular before she was born. Songs that she’s heard not on contemporary radio but on “throwback” stations that play the sort of things I sing along with without even noticing. Yes, I know the words to the Macarena. I’m OLD and a little bit dorky.

There were others sprinkled in too — Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger. Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. Newer songs, but the ones I would have chosen myself if I’d been choreographing the workout.

I realized how much my likes and dislikes do affect my child. I haven’t pushed them on her, but it’s happened all the same.

Ironic that this realization came to me while she was playing a game meant to bring families together (there are new party games in Dance Central 3 that we’re finding are a lot of fun … made more so by our common love of the same tunes)? Maybe. Maybe not.

Sometimes just being a room together with our kids isn’t enough to bond you two. Sometimes you need to do something that actually brings you together, makes you pay attention and look at who your kid is. This time it was a game. Next time, who knows.

Do you play family video games? What have they taught you about your kids? 

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet? 

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Dance Central 3. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions expressed are my own. Unfortunately for my daughter, the same goes for my taste in music.


  1. I want us to get more into video games. I think my kids are still not that into it.

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