Taming the tiger

ONE of the most common sources of tellings-off in our house involve computer games. (I think pant and sock retrieval from bedroom floors probably ranks marginally higher).

Our kids have an Xbox and were given a Kinect, which allows you to jump about hands-free in front of the telly, for Christmas.

They aren’t allowed to play computer games at all during the week, so at weekends it’s a bit of a scramble to see who can get gaming first.

There’s also the issue of the games being played on the Family Telly in the front room, as we won’t let them have a TV in their bedroom, which according to our eldest sons, makes us some kind of medieval puritans.

There are rules about the Xbox, mostly to do with taking turns, not letting the on-screen fighting displace to the real-world of the living room and playing age-appropriate games when the smaller siblings are around.

While seven-year-old Billy will usually fight his corner quite well to get his hands on the controller now and then (or threaten to tell Mum), Bonnie is really rather left out. Most times I’ll arrive just in time to see her balancing precariously on-top of the back of the sofa trying to get one of her goggle-eyed, game-hypnotised brothers to pay her some attention.

We bought a game when the Kinect came out specifically for Bonnie and Billy, the impossible-for-a-three-year-old-to-pronounce Kinectimals. This features a band of apparently orphaned and abandoned tiger/lion cubs living it up on a desert island.

Naturally, as it was expensive, Bonnie wasn’t that interested, especially as the Kinect machine thingy didn’t seem to be able to ‘see’ her properly, presumably because she’s little. Her Kinect image always looked like it was kneeling.

This weekend, out of the blue, she decided that she wanted to play “tigers,” much to the disgust of her brothers who would be content to spend an entire weekend shooting aliens and zombies.

This time she seemed to get it. She taught her cub how to copy her, doing spins, star-jumps (she’s still very uncoordinated) and how to lie down with her ‘paws’ in the air. It was hilarious to watch.

She particularly enjoyed endlessly, repetitively kicking a beach-ball back and forth with her cub, and shooting it with a virtual water-pistol. She was frustrated by the fact her brothers had to ‘help’ when the machine wanted the ‘player’ to read instructions, or hold their hand still in a specific place to make the game progress.

Still, she was determined to keep playing, and eventually we had to remind her that she too had to play by the rules and let her brothers have a go. “I not sharing,” she announced. “Boys not share theirs.”

She still needs some more training in gaming etiquette. . .

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