When I became a parent, I swore to myself that I would always take an interest in whatever my kids were into. I figured that was not only responsible parenting, but also a good way to find common ground and be involved in their lives as they grew. So far I’ve made good on my promise, but I have to say I’ve really been suffering from princess fatigue. While I don’t think they’re going away completely any time soon, there’s a new game in town that has Annabel turning her back on royalty: Minecraft.


Minecraft. is. baffling. Annabel was introduced to the game by her cousins over Thanksgiving weekend. They all sat around a computer while my nephew and niece patiently explained the game to Annabel. I tried to listen to some of the things they were saying, but it was basically gibberish to me.

When we got home after the holiday, Annabel begged us to get her a copy of the game. When we asked her what she wanted to do with the game, she said, “I want to build beautiful houses and farms!” We realized then it was more than just a weekend activity with the cousins.

Mike downloaded the game to his phone, and I started looking up things I should know about Minecraft. I set up controls so she didn’t get onto shared servers, made sure she kept things in peaceful mode, and didn’t allow any downloads. We also established our number one rule: she must always sit next to an adult when she plays.

Still, the game is beyond me. As Annabel has figured out how to…play? the game, the things she says get more confusing. She will say stuff like, “Look, my baby pig hatched from this egg!” (Um, okay) or “The dogs don’t like it when you punch them” (obviously). And then she shows me her screen, which has the crappiest-looking graphics I’ve ever seen, and says, “Look how cute my chicken is!” An ultrasound is easier to decipher.

Even though I really don’t understand how/what she’s doing, she does. She absolutely loves building houses, farms, and “Annie’s Disneyland.” Recently we were eating a meal together when out of nowhere she sighed and cooed, “I love my house.” Mike smiled at her and said, “You love our house? That’s so sweet.” Annie looked confused. “Our house? No, I mean my Minecraft house!”

As much as I may not have connected to Minecraft in the way I did to some of her other interests, I have to say that I appreciate how it has taught her about problem solving and how to do things on her own. When she first began playing by herself she complained that she didn’t know how to do it without her cousins, but it wasn’t long before she’d taught herself so much that she was explaining things to them! I’ve definitely been impressed with all the things Annabel has figured out how to do without being able to read an instruction manual or most of the commands on the screen.

Still…I don’t think I’ll be building my own Minecraft house any time soon.