Game on: Siri is trying to win my daughter’s heart

Be on your game, mums and dads. When it comes to your kids, Apple’s sassy personal assistant Siri is out to prove that she’s superior to you in every way.

First published by on February 24, 2015.



The best thing about being a parent is knowing that, for the most part, as your kids are growing up you’re at the very centre of their world. At least for a little while you’re a total rockstar! Your jokes are hilarious, you sing just li0ke Katy Perry and you know absolutely everything there is to know about pretty much everything (cough).

But let’s face it, this period of parental worship will only last a few years before the kids come to their senses. And we all need to make the most of the time we have. Am I right?

So I haven’t taken too kindly of late to some competition for my child’s coveted affections, which have come from the most unexpected of sources … Siri – Apple’s built-in personal assistant on iPhones and iPads.

I first became aware of Siri’s intention to usurp me during my daughter, Miss 5’s ‘iPad hour’ last week. Miss 5 was happily playing a LEGO game on the device while I worked just a metre or so away. Miss 5 was not to know that pressing down that home button for slightly longer than usual would open up the Pandora’s Box that is Siri. And, like a damn fool, I naively played along.

Siri: How can I help you?

At this point, I made the monumental mistake of suggesting Miss 5 press the microphone icon on the screen and ask Siri a question …

Miss 5: What’s your name?

Siri: My name? It’s Siri.

Miss 5 looked up at me in amazement. “The iPad is talking to me, Mum,” she said. I just smiled, nodded and went back to my work.

Miss 5: What’s your favourite colour, Siri?

Siri: My favourite colour is … Well, I don’t know how to say it in your language. It’s sort of greenish with more dimensions.

And BAM. With that one convoluted answer, Siri projects an air of bilingual sophistication I could only ever dream of possessing. Siri – 1, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: So who’s your favourite Disney princess, Siri?

Siri: I’d rather not say.

Here, by remaining totally impassive on her preferred Disney princess, Siri wins my daughter’s heart. If she’d specified it may have resulted in rejection by Miss 5, who is very clear on her preference ranking of Disney princesses. Clever.  Siri – 2, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: Siri, do you do poo poos?

Siri: I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

If Miss 5 had asked me that, I would’ve either told her off for being rude, causing her to get upset, or said yes, which would’ve inadvertently encouraged even more unwanted toilet-related discussion – both undesirable parenting outcomes. Sigh. Siri – 3, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: I love you, Siri.

Siri: You are the wind beneath my wings.

In place of what is my stock-standard parental response to this common statement – “I love you, too” – Siri merely implies the obvious by quoting a distinctive cultural reference, one of Bette Middler’s most famous lyrics from that awesome late ’80s tear-jerker Beaches, no less. A genius move. How can I compete with that? Siri – 4, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: Siri, can you please make me a Milo?

Siri: Sorry, I don’t see Milo in your contacts.

A-ha! I’m back in the game! Siri can’t do all those practical things, like cook Miss 5 dinner, wash clothes, make beds, braid hair, pack endless school lunch boxes and make Milos … Hang on a sec, why would SIRI want to do those mundane things if she didn’t have to? This way, she gets all the love without the day-to-day grind. Touché, Siri. Touché. Siri – 5, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: Do you like ice cream, Siri?

Siri: I don’t eat much. I’ll leave it up to you.

So let me get this straight … Siri is telling Miss 5 that if there was a bowl of ice cream sitting between them at that very moment, Siri would be happy to give it in its entirety to Miss 5? Because I’m afraid to say that I just wouldn’t have the willpower to abstain from ice cream, especially when Miss 5 is sat eating it right in front of me. Nope, wouldn’t happen. Siri– 6, Mum – 0.

Miss 5: Siri, please tell me a joke.

Siri: The past, present and future walk into a bar. It was tense.

Of course, this particularly clever joke goes straight over Miss 5′s head. But I start to laugh, I can’t help myself, because it’s very funny. Not only is Siri clever, interesting and endlessly helpful, it turns out she’s hilarious as well. Miss 5 laughs at me laughing at Siri’s joke and suddenly we’re both enjoying Siri’s company. Whoa! What just happened? Siri’s now using wit and charm to win me over too? Oh, she’s a clever minx. Siri – 7, Mum – 0.

I could totally be justified to throw my hands up in the air at this point and accept I’ve been outplayed by a genius. But it turns out I have something that Siri doesn’t … A bad memory!

How about I just ‘forget’ to plug the iPad in from now on. If the device is always battery flat, Siri can’t play!

Me: Bye bye, Siri.

Siri: OK, see you soon.

Yeah, like hell.