Wednesday, October 4, 2023

‘The Legend of Zelda’, ‘Dinky’ and a Bridge to My Daughter

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When winter does its second pandemic occurrence here in Montana, I found myself eager to relive my first experience with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To my dismay, the result Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the Nintendo bash-fest released in november, hasn’t scratched my taste for sweeping and calming landscapes and solving low-stakes puzzles during a year of high-stakes reality.

I’ve been at home with toddlers for 11 straight months, every minute of lockdown being a battle against darkness and chaos, filled with my own two little red Bokoblins perpetually swinging their Boko Clubs on my weakened defenses. I wondered every day: are there still enough stamella mushrooms in the entire game universe to help us get through this year?

When we first squatted last spring my children were 18 months and 4 years old. I introduced my elder to Yoshi’s craft world to add variety to the quiet hours while the baby was napping and I was working. She hadn’t spent much time with a Nintendo Switch controller yet, and it took a bit of time for her to manage the buttons.

But she had already approached PBS Children’s Games and Mini world of sago on an old iPad, so she wasn’t entirely new to the basics of the game. After that, she spent most of the summer in the backyard, chasing bugs and digging in the dirt until dinner time, then sit on the couch with me or her dad to play. Yoshi. She was in pain for her preschool classmates and friends, but as Yoshi she could forget about loneliness for a while. As Yoshi, she could gobble up bad guys. Like Yoshi, she could fly. By August, she had beaten the game at least 10 times, a few without any help.

I’ve been craving this moment for five years, ever since I first learned that our unborn daughter had ventriculomegaly, a brain condition that falls on the lower end of the hydrocephalus spectrum. The ventricles carrying cerebrospinal fluid to his brain were too big, potentially taking up space where his brain needed to grow. The maternal fetus specialist could only say, “I saw him go both ways from here. All we can do is wait for the test results and watch. “

I couldn’t plan what our life would be like with her – the results ranged from 24 hour medical care to a relatively simple brain shunt to relieve fluid to … maybe nothing. I wondered if I could ever share my love for the Zelda franchise, my favorite games, with my child. Would she be able to hold a controller or develop the logic needed to solve a difficult puzzle? I swore to find a way.

Shortly after the diagnosis, I went to bed with hip and back problems caused by weakened ligaments. I spent much of the rest of this pregnancy horizontal, the weight of the unknown slowly reorganizing my internal organs. Between the biweekly ultrasounds and the long wait for the results of the amniocentesis and fetal MRI tests, I turned to my old friend, Link.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, reissued on WiiU, has become my safe space. I sailed across the Great Sea, mapping the waters of a flooded Hyrule as I spent a person’s growing hours, trying not to worry, to worry, to worry.

My daughter arrived early, two days after an ultrasound revealed a dramatic change since our last visit: her ventricles had shrunk to an almost normal size. His test results did not show any of the genetic or chromosomal disorders often associated with ventriculomegaly. She had the rare chance of a good result from a rough diagnosis.

She was born eager to run, dance and wrestle, despite a slight motor retardation in her legs which gives her a bit of wobble, and she was just starting to master her body at 16 months when the physical limitations of my second pregnancy subsided. arrested. the fun down. This time around the baby didn’t have a scary diagnosis but the defect in my ligaments leveled out, forcing me to settle into a wheelchair, which I mainly used to get out of bed or for a walk. playing with my daughter. She learned that playing meant bringing me toys and books, or asking me to sit down for a hug. I expected this complication to return, but the severity of it was a blow.


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