“Test the cake,” I urged. I thought Lauren (9) was in the process of testing the cake for doneness. She had opened the oven door and pulled the rack beneath the cake half way out. She turned toward the counter, I thought she’d pick up the knife, but instead she picked up her Nintendo DS ‘pencil’ and started tapping away at that little 4 x 6-inch white plastic box. Its tiny screen flickered commands to my young daughter, and entranced, she obeyed.

Desperate to reclaim her, I cried, “Lauren!” Then in exasperation, I said, “Oh, I’ll do it,” and I picked up a knife.

“No, Mom! Let me.” She took the knife, but eyes still on the tiny screen, she impaled the cake with a slanted cut. She glanced at the blade and said, “It’s not done; the knife didn’t come out clean.”

“That’s because you didn’t insert the knife vertically,” I explained. I tested the cake. It was done. While it cooled, Lauren settled into the couch and offered full homage to her electronic ruler. I’d lost her again.

In case you do not have a child in this age of hand-held video games, I’ll explain exactly what a DS is. It’s a “toy” marketed to parents as an educational tool. The conscientious parent can purchase $20.00 chip cards to feed the tiny computer which will entertain your child’s mind while stimulating it to problem-solve. So they say.

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