Life with HotWheels is a bit like spending most of your days beside a radio that is always on, and semi-permanently tuned to KCAR, “Your Trusted Source for Everything Car.” Every day, he performs long, loud, elaborate races with his cars. They talk to each other and make noises that probably sound like a bad posse of Nascar V-8s inside his head, but to the rest of us sound more like a Mad Max fan motor that’s burnt out of lubricant. Because I’m his mother, I actually like it, but I respect that it can be a bit of a strain for anyone visiting or even on the phone. My favorite part is when he comes dashing in to exclaim, “Mummie – great news! Guess who’s in fourth place? Chick Hicks! Jason is in third, and it looks like Sophia’s going to win!” (He combines cars from movie and game sources to make his own spicy blend.) Then he’ll tear back to the race – to see how it all comes out, of course.
As we ride to his preschool, the station usually runs its ‘Auto Identification in the AM’ show. It often sounds like this – “See that Honda? That’s Derek’s.” As we bike past the line of cars outside the school, it’s a running commentary, “Trevor’s dad drives that one… this is Chloe’s…” He has loved calling out car names for a long time – it started with easy ones like Mini Coopers and PT Cruisers, but now he’s getting more refined. It’s a handy skill to have around, to identify acquaintances’ cars, or even bikes, when we’re out and about.
The program I’m least fond of at the moment is the Race Recap – it seems to be on ALL the time, and just runs constant reruns of famous races from various games. He loves to just ruminate over the details of a great race, but I’m afraid it might be your textbook ‘you had to be there’ scenario.
Occasionally the programming drifts over to other topics – science, nutrition (of all things) and pure fiction. In the science category we have Big Questions, which I love. It’s an open-ended approach; heavy on questions and light on answers. Some recent ones have been, “Are everybody’s brains the same color?” “What can break the sun?” and “Can a Porche ever beat a Ferrari?” You can see that the programming does always drift back to the main topic eventually.
When he was younger, it dawned on me one day that at some point I’d no longer have a family member who would shout “FIRE TRUCK!!!!!” every time he heard or saw one drive by, and that made me sad. The good news is that although that day has come and gone, his fascinations shift, and he’s still excited to talk about them. Now, whatever the station, I’m just grateful the radio’s on.