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How Pokémon GO Made Me A Better Dad

Last night, we spent almost two hours walking around a nearby town (ours is too small) collecting Pokémon and visiting Pokéstops.
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Last night, we spent almost two hours walking around a nearby town (ours is too small) collecting Pokémon and visiting Pokéstops. My older kids, nearly 7 and 9, normally would complain during such a long journey, but were oddly occupied following the GPS-enabled map to yet another point of interest. (Could Pokémon GO stop trying to send me to church, please?) We walked so far that the game changed from day to night and we finished hatching my first 5 km egg. It was a Seel, in case you were curious.

We even took the time to stop over at the local library, which at this point was long since closed. Maybe keeping my trainers up until 10 p.m. isn't the best parenting idea but we were having fun and it's summer. By the time we reached the gym, which was previously occupied by a rival team, ours had taken over. I bravely left Marshmallow the Jigglypuff to defend our honor.

Today, we ventured out again in search of more Pokémon, this time in a different town. My twins tagged along in the stroller and once again the pair, with limited arguing, took turns capturing and spinning. Marshmallow was kicked out of it's gym and we're still too weak to take over any ourselves, but we did manage to hatch a Bulbasaur, which was pretty exciting.

It's really encouraging me to be active, too. I want to hatch those eggs and the game keeps a log of how far you've walked. I've covered almost 10 km since downloading it on Friday (as of writing this it's currently Monday). Normally, when taking the kids to playground I enjoy a few minutes of quiet time on my phone, but now I find myself pacing around. Since the game is basically passive I'm also interacting with them to pass the time.

My kids think I'm a god for being able to correctly identify every mystery shadow on the nearby screen. Hundreds of episodes with "Who's That Pokémon?" have trained me well and I'm excited to show off that long lost and quite useless knowledge. While other adults are proudly posting online that they're not playing because they have a life while wasting their hours on Facebook I'm a god damned hero in their eyes. The only judgement that matters in my books.

Normally, I'm not the most "present" parent. I hate playing with my kids. I am so f*cking sick of Minecraft talk (and I even learned how to play it for them) and hearing about YouTubers that I avoid engaging in a conversation at this point. It's hard to sit down and play a video game together with the babies trying to get the controller or the dirty dishes waiting for me in the sink. I will be the first to admit I'm on my phone too much (partially because I run a business, am a freelancer, and a blogger) because it's my only lifeline to the outside world living so far away and too busy to get to civilization. This game forced me to keep my phone open in this app and actually talk to my kids. Even if it's just about what Pokémon we're catching and what's around town.

I am absolutely in love with this game and jump at any chance to wander around to complete my Pokédex. A 7 year old version of myself found his way out as soon as I chose my starter and he hasn't gone home since. My kids are just around the ages that I first played the original Pokémon games and I love that we can share this obsession.

Apparently, it took me reliving my own childhood to properly connect with theirs.

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This post originally appeared on Small Town Nerds.