Sunday, May 17, 2009

Toddlermania - First ever attempt

I'd thought about trying the Toddlermania challenge for a long time since others seem to have a lot of fun with it. I was pretty dubious about my chances for success, but I'd made up some new skintones for another project I have in mind and needed to test them, so I decided I'd finally give this challenge a try. As I expected, it was for the most part, a failure, but since I did get a handful of pics during it, I decided I'd do a write up on the attempt with a few observations and things I might do differently next time. I didn't tally up points for it, because I didn't get screenshots of all of the pertinient info for scoring, and...I'll admit it...I cheated rather egregiously throughout, mostly regarding the mother's motives, though I did resort to using /maxmotives once early on when I was starting to get social worker warnings because I just couldn't keep up with tending to all of the kiddies' needs. That was the only time that I majorly cheated any of the todders' motives, though I think I did tweak bladder or energy bars slightly a time or two so I could get them to the potty...and keep them on what were largely futile attempts to get them potty trained. But before I go on any further about what did and didn't happen, I'll introduce you to the family I used.

Mary Munson is a Family sim. I later gave her Knowledge as a secondary aspiration. She is an Aquarius with 4 Neat, 4 Outgoing, 4 Active, 7 Playful, and 6 Nice. As of about 2 sim days after the kids transitioned to Child, she has 2 Cooking points and 1 Cleaning point. I honestly have no idea when she got them, whether it was during the challenge or after. As you can see, I used different color skintones for all of the kids, which helped some for telling them apart, but giving them all names that started with the same letter wasn't a very good idea. It just made it that much harder to remember all their names, and to remember which one was which. I'm not sure I'd finally managed to remember them all until sometime after they transitioned. And I still have to look them up now and then. And not really knowing which name went with which kid made it problematic at times while they were toddlers in terms of figuring out which name went with the kid whose diaper I wanted to change, or who I wanted to get a bottle for, etc. More than once I'd have to cancel out of the pie menu on the changing table or refrigerator, then check on the sidebar what the kid's name was so I'd know which one I needed to choose.

Here are a few views of the house I built for them. The design seemed to work fairly well for the most part, and I'd probably do something pretty similar next time. Though I'm not sure that having such a large room and one changing table for each kid was really necessary, so I might cut down on those next time. I'd love to hear any feedback on the house design and furnishings from those of you who've done the challenge before.

The first picture was taken in the evening of day 1. The second picture was taken near the end of the challenge on day 3 I think. Or maybe early on day 4. Note the big puddles in the kitchen and main room...these were nanny pee puddles that grew and grew as the kids got into them and splashed (all together now...EWWW!) and no one had any time to clean them up. I had hired a maid on day 2 I think it was to help clean, but the first day she was there, she spent all day long until she had to leave about 5 saying it was getting late just picking up stinky bottles and maybe emptying a few potties. Not sure on that last one, since by day 3 I was starting to have a hard time finding a potty that was empty and available for use despite the fact that I had 14 of them. I did have at least one nanny there most of the time, oftentimes I had 2 nannies on the lot, but neither of them really cleaned much, probably because the kids kept them so busy getting bottles and changing diapers and such. I'm not entirely sure the 2nd nanny was really worth it most of the time, since often as not they'd end up going to the same kid to give them a bottle or whatnot. And also, often as not, they'd bring a bottle, but the kid would be playing with something so the nanny would end up stamping her foot that she couldn't get to the kid, put the bottle on the floor, then go get another one. So a lot of the stinky bottles I ended up with might have been ones that were never even touched.

Another change I made between the first and second pics is I broke down by day 2 and put pet beds in so the kids could put themselves to sleep somewhere when they needed to. Without them I was ending up with babies passed out on the floor all over the place and it was eating up a lot of time having to wake them up to put them in a crib. I also ended up moving most of the toys out into the main room, partly to be able to fit the pet beds in, and partly because I realized that having the noisy toys like the bunny heads and xylophones in the room likely wasn't a good idea since one toddler playing with it would wake up any other toddlers that were asleep in that room. And it was simply impossible to keep track of them all well enough to make them go to their own rooms to play.

As for the challenge goals, not much was accomplished. Only one of the kids got potty trained, and that was almost at the last minute before she grew up. And I managed to teach one of the girls to talk. None of the others learned any of the toddler skills, though most did gain several skill points from the toys I had laying around. Most of them stayed either in gold or platinum most of the time, though sometimes dropped to green. Mary rarely made it much above the border between green and red, so she couldn't buy or make smart milk to help with the training. The kids all were best friends with Mary before they grew up, and they all grew up well, a few in platinum and the rest in gold. They have since all become BFFs with Mary.

I put together collages to show their accomplishments....note that some of the shots of their skills were taken later and might reflect a point or two gained after they grew up. I thought I'd gotten shots of skill on all of them when they grew up, but when I looked later, I could only find shots of skills for a couple of them and had to go back in to take pics. By then I'd played them for a couple days into childhood, and some had gained a few more skill points, though I've really no idea which of them might have, or what skills they got.

Martin Munson
Libra - 2 Neat, 8 Outgoing, 2 Active, 6 Playful, 7 Nice

Marlita Munson (didn't manage to get a shot of the grow up message for her)
Scorpio - 6 Neat, 5 Outgoing, 8 Active, 3 Playful, 3 Nice

Marion Munson
Capricorn - 7 Neat, 4 Outgoing, 1 Active, 8 Playful, 5 Nice

Melvin Munson
Sagittarius - 2 Neat, 3 Outgoing, 9 Active, 7 Playful, 4 Nice

Mikhail Munson
Pisces - 5 Neat, 3 Outgoing, 7 Active, 3 Playful, 7 Nice

Melissa Munson
Gemini - 4 Neat, 7 Outgoing, 8 Active, 3 Playful, 3 Nice

Monica Munson
Virgo - 9 Neat, 2 Outgoing, 6 Active, 3 Playful, 5 Nice

And finally, here is what they all looked like after they'd become children.

Marlita and Monica have gotten new clothes since I took this shot because the dinosaur suits as everyday wear are just beyond stupid IMO. I'll probably have a few of the others change clothes as well if I play this family any more, but most of the rest I can live with. They are currently a day and a half into childhood, and several have gained more skill points as I noted above, a couple have gotten hobby lot memberships, and Mary has so far managed to teach Mikhail and Melissa how to do their homework. Mary's LTW is to become Captain Hero...I haven't yet decided if I'll let her try for it or not if I play them more.