Something has clicked in Jackson's brain. It's one of those life lessons that we all encounter. The temptation is there... but will it overtake us? The desire to spend hour upon hour jumping through virtual hoops to win coins or mushrooms or Lego studs.
It seems that Jackson has caught the bug and now hears in his head, "MUST. PLAY. VIDEO. GAMES." Or more specifically, "MUST. PLAY. DA. WII".
A few months ago, he could not have been less interested in playing by himself. He was happy to watch Ayla play princess story games and participate if she was in a loving mood. We have suggested playing Wii sports together and he had a pretty successful first try at bowling.... but he could take it or leave it.
The situation now is completely different. And I might mean that we have a real "situation" with learning limits and controlling serious Wii side effects. I haven't started an incentive program yet, trading chores for Wii play time - but I think it will soon be necessary. The biggest problem is that Jackson will wake up early in the morning and start up a round of Lego Star Wars before anyone else is awake. God only knows how long he has been standing there (sometimes in his pajamas, sometimes stark naked) when we rouse Ayla for school at 8:15.
Jackson constantly asks to "play da wii". Driving in the car home from school, he completely loses his sh%t if we have to stop at any store before going home. He would much prefer to run into the house, throw his backpack on the floor and stand in his coat and shoes for HOURS while slaying storm troopers with his lightsaber. (What's the problem, Mom?)
Describing it as standing is not even a good description. He moves closer and closer to the screen, flailing the Wii remote around, jumping, bouncing back and forth and lunging and yelling. And yes, there is even the occasional maniacal laugh.
While I am impressed by how good he has become at his Lego games (mostly Star Wars, but also the odd moments of Indiana Jones or Batman), I don't like the intensity. For awhile, Jackson didn't understand that turning off the television did not affect his place in the game. He was okay with pausing. He was okay with putting down the remote. But if we tried to turn off the screen - God help us all! Panicked tears and screams and terror. Many a time out has been spent over hitting, sticking out the tongue and going temporarily insane.
And here is rock-bottom: one night I woke up with Elliot at around 4 am. Who did I see playing the Wii in the pitch dark of night? One lanky little guy with messed up hair. It was like a possession because when I told him it was time to get back in bed... he climbed right up the stairs and was asleep as soon as he was back on his pillow.
Poor man. I understand it. How amazing was your first game system? We only had three games for our Nintendo and that totally rocked my world! I remember fighting for my turn and how traumatized I became if *perhaps* a certain older brother covered my eyes during Level 11 of Tetris.
But now I am the parent dealing with the daily battle of limiting the Wii. I have to be honest: it is sometimes SO tempting to just let him keep playing because it could literally give me hours of uninterrupted sewing time or the ability to make dinner in peace. I am happy, though, that we are a family with ONE television and we are therefore forced to take turns (Elliot needs his Elmo, you know!) and not let anyone get sucked into a technology black hole.
But then again, if I don't wake up at 4 in the morning, how do I know Jackson is really sleeping or just battling with droids in a galaxy far, far away?