If you read these pages regularly, you are no doubt aware that

  1. Rowan is highly obsessed with Pokémon, and that
  2. I am highly obsessed with organization. And, further, that
  3. I dislike playing Pokémon, particularly when I have to play against a winner-takes-all eight-year-old who quite literally stacks the decks against me. “Here,” he’ll say, tossing me some wimpy little deck full of crappy cards like Solosis or Sewaddle or Tynemo, “these are your cards.” Meanwhile, his deck is full of Lugia EXes and White Kyurams and Zekroms. And then he proceeds to annihilate me, all the while maintaining some kind of fantasy that he is a gifted player and not just a hustler. (My brother-in-law has a theory that all games with prepubescent boys are simply versions of, “Hey! Do you want to play ‘Victor’? I’ll be the Victor!”) But I digress.

Although on the surface Rowan’s obsession and my obsession may appear to have little to do with each other, in reality, there’s lots of room for overlap. There are, I believe, nine distinct types of Pokémon (off the top of my head: water, air, grass, psychic, darkness, dragon, metal, fighting, electric, and… something else — and look at me, devoting precious brain cells to Pokémon types!), plus assorted energy cards for each type, and so-called “trainer” cards to boot. All of which for years have been jumbled into untidy heaps around the house and Rowan’s room. At best, under duress, he will pile all of the cards into willy-nilly into a cardboard box in his room, which he later dumps unceremoniously onto his floor, scrabbling through a thousand-plus cards to find the ones he wants to create his power decks. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a constant point of contention between me and him — not simply the mess, which is bad enough, but the potential, the potential, the thwarted potential to sort all those cards into their various types, to place each type into its own separate container for easy access, to create, in short, a system — ideally, one that involves the use of a label-maker. I don’t like the game, but my fingers have itched for so long now to organize those cards. “Do you think you’d like to sort out those cards?” I have asked him at various points, and he shrugs his shoulders and says, “Maybe later.” “How about now?” I’ll say, and he will refuse to answer. But on Saturday, for some reason, we hit the sweet spot. He wanted to make a new deck, and I said I would help. And thus began the great Pokémon card organizational extravaganza. Isaac got in on the action too, and he and I sat on Rowan’s bedroom floor, colour-coding cards into various piles while Rowan handpicked the ones he wanted to make an ever-more-powerful deck. It took the better part of an hour, with me sneaking back into the room at various points during the day to finesse the system, but we got it done. There are labels. It’s been the better part of a week now, and it seems to be holding — although I won’t hold my breath.

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The best part of it all was listening to my older boy exclaim, over and over, “Mom! I really like this! It makes it so much easier to find the cards I want!” Words straight to my colour-coded little heart. He’s Pokémon geek. I’m an organizational geek. And maybe, just maybe, we’ve found some kind of middle ground.