This is driving me round the bend…

Two little boys playing a video game.

I’ve always looked forward to the day that Dylan and Xander get into video games and it looks like it has arrived, but that saying about being careful what you wish for is already starting to resonate with me.

A few weeks ago, we got back from Sunday lunch at my parents’ house. We were tired and, in a desperate bid to stop a row that was beginning to brew over which TV channel they were going to have on, I suggested that we give Mario Kart a go. I thought it would be dismissed out of hand and that the Wii would continue to play its important role of keeping a small portion of the shelf free of dust but, to my surprise, they said yes. We played in teams – Xander sat on my lap and ‘helped’ to steer while Dylan was Kate’s equally effective co-driver.

This has since become something of a routine. They ask if we can play it as soon as we’re on the bus back home – video games are the only time any of us do any kind of driving – and, for some reason, we always let them. It should be fun – and it is to a degree – but, for the most part, it’s a thankless task. First of all, there are the inevitable squabbles over who gets to be which character and which tracks we’ll be racing on. This is promptly followed by the whining about why we have to use a bike instead of a kart, but that’s normally just me.

Then comes the trash talk. I’ve genuinely got no idea where it comes from, but Xander is immensely talented at the pre-race mind games. Every time we’re about to start, he’ll lean over to Dylan and Kate and menacingly say something to the effect of “We’re going to knock you off the track”. He adapts this threat depending on the track, and has so far promised to propel them into lava, icy cold water and a black hole. Lovely boy.

Dylan responds by shouting angrily about the injustice of having a mushroom-headed boy being barged off the road by a large primate on a scooter. This should, of course, stop me from attempting to do just that but, as a seasoned gamer – and because it’s always easy enough to blame it on Yoshi – I can’t bring myself to pass up such presentable opportunities.

Two under fives with road rage. Good work, Tom! And this is just Mario Kart. I dread to think what they’re going to be like once they’re old enough to play things like GTA…

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