I’ve had a lot of lousy roommates over the years. In addition to run-of-the-mill layabouts and food moochers, I’ve had the displeasure of bunking with stinky people, angry people and at least one chronic masturbator. When he wasn’t grinding on his own lap, that last fellow at least helped grind my party through battle after tedious battle in Final Fantasy III.

The absolute worst roommate, however, has to be my two-year-old son, Henry. He is messy. He cannot prepare a single meal for himself. He will collapse into a sobbing pile at the slightest provocation. And, he’s unable to help with even the simplest gaming task. He is a terrible Rock Band drummer. He is incapable of even driving in a straight line in Forza 3. If you need a second player, keep moving. H is worse than dead weight—he is actively bad at games. At least, he was until the latest batch of Pokemon games came out.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver ship with the Poke Walker, a Pokeball shaped pedometer. When you sync the bundled device with the game, you can take your Pokemonsters for virtual walks. Your steps are converted into “watts,” which can be used to find items, discover other Pokemon and level up your indentured creatures. After watching H zip through the living room for the umpteenth time, I decided to plant the Poke Walker on him and turn him into a tiny dynamo.

In a completely stunning move, my son completely redeemed himself. In two days, Henry amassed nearly 25,000 steps. To put that into context, the recommended daily activity for adults seeking to lose weight is 10,000 steps. It’s no wonder why he has an insatiable appetite for cookies—he’s like a miniature furnace.

This little experiment made me look at my son in a whole new light. I certainly wouldn’t trust him to manage my Pokemon roster or take on one of the gym masters. I do, however, plan on slipping the Poke Walker into his pocket every morning and reaping the benefits at night. I’ve changed a lot of diapers. He owes me.