I’ve been a fan of The Sims since the first version came out and I promptly began shutting myself in my room, creating little Sim worlds. My best friend and roomie once roamed the super store near our university in the middle of the night, on the prowl for The Sims. I always created myself, of course, and then every boy I had a crush on, and then a few friends. I have experienced long periods of not playing — until now, the last time I had played was when we bought The Sims Castaway while I was pregnant. I may or may not have spent hours obsessing over my Castaway baby, which we named Lentil, and deciding we were having a girl after “we” did on Castaway (we had a boy in real life), and worrying about poor little Lentil, who had to deal with Castaways-Stephanie who apparently didn’t own any slings or want to breastfeed.
I borrowed The Sims 3 (note: it’s fucking awesome. You can have bikes as your primary transportation, choose to be vegetarians, and if you buy the travel expansion pack, take trips to Paris and Egypt) a few weeks ago from my sister-in-law and have returned to my Sims-obsessed state. This time around I’ve created the family that I actually have (myself, husband Sean, and our son Jasper), and try to model their interests on our own (note: why isn’t “blogger” a possible profession yet?). I’ve noticed that Sims-Stephanie and Sims-Sean are similar parents to both of us, and Sims-Jasper is very interested in music, like real-life Jasper. These are signs, I’ve told myself. Signs of awesomeness to come.
I’ve also noticed that Sims-Stephanie and Sims-Sean get pissed off when the house is messy or they don’t get to see each other a lot, so I’ve played with their sleeping schedules (and, um, hired a maid, which is something real-life Stephanie and Sean haven’t done) to see if I could give them some more time together. And voila — as soon as they started waking up at 4AM, Sims-Stephanie and Sean had plenty of time to clean up the bathroom (why is it always the most disgusting room in Sims worlds? Or is it just in mine?) and hang out on the couch together before making breakfast and tending to the kid.
Also: cheat codes are LIFE SAVERS. Give your Sims all the money you want and then they don’t have to work and BOOM. Love abounds.
Like real-life kids, Sims-Jasper has his own challenges and rewards. Here are the things I’ve noticed about parenting Sims-style vs. parenting in real life:
- Sims parents have to be on the same page or they get stressed out: Sims-Sean and Stephanie have sometimes been annoyed with each other because they’re a) over-tired, b) don’t get enough time together, and c) Sims-Sean doesn’t get enough time with the Sims-kid. See also: this happens in real life unless we have our shit together.
- Your Sims-kid will totally throw tantrums when you don’t want him to. Like in the grocery store.
- Luckily, Sims-Jasper loves to snuggle as much as real life-Jasper does, or all bets would be off. Of course… snuggling with a digital version of Jasper is NOTHING like snuggling with Jasper in real life.
- It took Sims-Jasper two days to learn to use the toilet. Real life-Jasper has been working on it for months.
- Sims-Jasper has so far never, ever pooped in the bathtub.
- Real life-Jasper won’t let me sit him in front of his xylophone for an hour while I shower, eat, and clean the house at a relaxing pace. Sims-Jasper not only lets Sims-Stephanie, he loves it!
- Sims-Stephanie is prone to leaving Sims-Jasper at the library when she’s going home. Turns out you have to make sure the Sims parent is physically holding the child before you go anywhere, they don’t just automatically pick them up when it’s time to leave.
- Sims-Jasper will happily sit in his crib for up to two hours while his parents sleep! Real-life Jasper will barely stay in his bed long enough for us to fall asleep, let alone while we’re actually sleeping.
- It’s way, way easier to throw birthday parties in Sims world. You make one phone call, pick up a cake and some balloons, and BOOM. Insta-success. Or maybe it’s that easy in real life and I’m over-thinking it?
Sooo… maybe there are more differences than similarities. IT’S STILL FUN.