File this under one more reason to want a Wii. Nintendo has created a Co-Star Mode in the new Super Mario Galaxy that lets parents help younger players navigate the 3-D world in the game. from the GameDaily story:

As the second player, you don’t get a character on screen, you get a cursor that is used to capture gems, gather coins, help give Mario jump boosts and distract would-be foes. So younger gamers still get to control the primary character, feel like they’re controlling a game and ensures that the game experience lasts longer than what would occur based on their current abilities.

Very cool. The few times Carter and I have tried to play any games (albeit, it’s the X-Box), he just can’t quite grasp the controls and game play just yet. I don’t know how old I was when I received my first NES, but I remember playing it for hours. Newer games (and especially 3-D navigation) can be harder for younger players, so it’s cool that Nintendo realized this and actually did something about it.

This past weekend, we went to the Adventure Science Center to check out the DinoRumble exhibit. Carter said over and over he wanted to go see the dinosaurs. It was only a few months ago at Disney World and also in Gatlinburg, he wanted nothing to do with dinosaurs unless they were picture in a book.

Still, he professed his excitement at seeing the dinosaurs and would ask everyday when we were going. Just before we walked in, he timidly asked “will they be making noise?” After the first roar, that was about the last dinosaur we looked at. Luckily, there was a ton of other fun things to do. The BodyQuest exhibit was the most entertaining and easily took the most time to explore. All in all, a fun outing.

Over the weekend, I was in the garage, working on putting up some shelving. I had been outside for a while, so I decided to peek in and see what Carter was up too. Since our move about a month ago, he’s been extremely good about entertaining himself. We packed up a lot of his toys before the move and have slowly been giving them to him since the move. The end result is almost like a new toy.

I made my way upstairs to his room and noticed it was pretty quiet. Standing in his doorway, there were comic books everywhere — he’s got a short-box of comics I’ve given him and he “reads” one every night before bed. He’s sitting in the corner of his room playing with a few toys. As I survey the landscape of scattered comics, I comment, “What happened in here?”

“I was separating them,” was Carter’s reply.

Sure enough, what I thought was a scattered mess was actually a 4-year-old attempting to organize his comics. They were piled in haphazard stacks. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-men, Justice League, etc.

I looked at him and said, “you’re a little geek.”

“What’s a geek,” he asks, puzzled?

“You’re just like you’re Dad,” I told him. To which he smiled.

I decided to stay inside for a while and we sat and read some comics and played superheroes.

It made me think about how much he looks up to me and reflect on the things I’ve taught him (or that he’s picked up from me).

After a not-so-recent failed oil change at the local Wal-Mart, I’ve been changing my own oil in the car. Part in spite to show them it could be done (Wal-Mart claimed I had a leak and cross-threaded oil pan plug – neither was true) and part to save money. It wasn’t until a few nights ago I realized yet another thing Carter had picked up.

Carter kept telling me he needed help changing the oil in his car when I was done working outside. When I eventually made it upstairs, he had a few of his play tools in the floor and was going to change the oil on his car–which is actually the reclining sofa in the bonus room. He stated he needed me to supervise (usually his job) and that he would let me know if he needed help. In a moment of play-time genius, I popped the reclining foot-rest out on the couch and showed him where to unscrew the plug and put the oil filter. He was looking under there when Jill told him to “lay on your back, like Daddy does” and as he slid under there, he had the biggest grin on his face.

I like to think I’ll pass on to him a lot of the good things I picked up from my Dad. I wouldn’t say my Dad is a geek, but he’s got bits of geek in him. A mechanical engineer by education, he’s always eager to take things apart and put them together again. I remember stacks of Sci-Fi magazines around the house as a kid (and wish those were still around). I’ve always felt that he knows everything and am constantly amazed when I can call him 800 miles aways, describe the noise/action my car is making and he’ll tell me what to tighten, turn or fix.

While I would say I’m a different person from my Dad, I know I’ve learned a lot from him (and continue to do so). In this day and age, I’m especially proud to be able to do many of the things I learned from him. I can do minor car repairs, electrical work, build a deck, and lots of other things that more and more people don’t know how to do anymore. I’m not afraid to tackle most home repairs or projects knowing that I’ve got him there to back me up. I guess growing up in an era where there wasn’t Autozone, mechanic, or a handyman on every corner made one self sufficient. That’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s something else that I hope I can pass down to Carter.

Buzz Lightyear and Carter

Carter and Buzz Lightyear, originally uploaded by allaboutduncan.

You may have noticed a lack of posts last week. You may have also noticed the large amount of Disney related photos on this Photos page or in the Flickr bar on the right. That’s right, we loaded up the family and went to Florida / Disney on vacation.

We spent two days total at Disney. The first day was in the Magic Kingdom (what most people think of when they think Disney World). While we didn’t get to do everything, we did quite a bit and had a great time.

The second day we split between Disney MGM and Disney Animal Kingdom.

MGM is geared to older kids, but Carter still had fun. He loved the 3D Muppet movie and got very excited when he saw Darth Vader, R2-D2, Luke, and Leia in the parade. He was an inch too short for the Star Wars ride, so we didn’t get to check that out.

Animal Kingdom was great and I’d love to go back there and spend more time. The safari ride was worth the wait and the Festival of the Lion King entertaining as well. Still not a lot of rides for Carter. He was a little short for a few and some were still a bit to scary. He’s decided he would he ready for them when he’s 4.

We spent the rest of our time with some of Jill’s relatives, who made us feel right at home. Add in a day at the beach and it was a fun vacation, but a tiring one (with the driving and walking).

Carter was moping for a day or two about how he missed Disney World, but seems to have snapped back to normal now. I have to say, I can’t wait until he is a little older and we can go back and do even more (Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, Epcot, Dinosuar!).