Games For Grown Ups

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Games For Grown Ups

We’ve talked about the little games that kids play with their parents. If you haven’t read my previous post, feel free to bring yourself up to speed. The rest of us who actually DID the assigned reading will wait. Slacker.

Anyways, now it’s time to discuss the games parents get to play. We don’t do it out of spite and we don’t do it to be mean. We do it because it’s our stork-given right as mediocre parents to balance the scales of sweet justice every now and then.

  • Hide and Seek for Grown-Ups

    • This one’s pretty easy. Tell your kids you want to play hide and seek. Then, to their delight, volunteer to be “it” first. Put your hands over your face and start counting. You won’t see the flashes of light that are your kids leaving the room to go hide. But you will hear the distinct mixture of sonic booms and giggles. Once the coast is clear, sit on the couch and read a book or watch some TV. I’ve personally made it through an entire episode of my favorite show before the first contestant returned to “base” and asked me why I didn’t find them. To which I replied, “because you’re that good, sweetie. You’re just that good.” Bonus points if, after what seems like too long, you actually do search for your kids and find at least one of them has fallen asleep in their hiding spot.

  • 21 Questions

    • This is a team event. When your kids ask you for something, send them to the other parent to ask. Then the other parent sends them back. Simple enough, right? Well when you get to gold-medal status, you’ll be able to make your kid completely forget what they were originally asking for by subtly introducing small words and phrases in the form of a message you want them to deliver to the other parental figure. Gradually build on the foundation you’ve started until your kid is doing nothing more than acting as an intermediary between you and your spouse. They will eventually be passing messages and returning replies before they realize what’s going on. It’s how my wife and I usually decide dinner.

  • Scavenger Hunt

    • This one’s risky in that, if you get caught, it’s probably going to cost you some actual money. I’ll preface this by saying that when I was a kid, Easter and Halloween were still in the minor-league stages. The oddities my siblings and I would get in our Easter and Halloween baskets were often not edible according to the discerning palate of candy-eating children. So it was a surprise when, upon returning home from my daughter’s first outing in her Princess Elsa Halloween costume, I discovered at least one full-size candy bar and enough snack size name-brand candy to make Wilford Brimley cock a judgmental eyebrow, rest his soul. Everybody knows you should limit the sugar intake of a child, especially in the early stages of their development. What everybody ALSO knows but nobody ever talks about is that the most effective way to limit your kid’s candy consumption is to remove the source of sugar entirely. Throwing it in the trash is too risky. They might see it and flip out. And, to be honest, that’s just rude to the people who bought it. So, after you put your kids to bed, you should do what any responsible, sensible parent would do– stuff your gullet with as much of that kid-corrupting sweetness as you can. It’s for their safety, really. Now, don’t get out of control. If you eat all of it, your kid WILL suspect you. And as I mentioned earlier, if you’re discovered, there will be some buying of expensive toys and replacing of candy to build back that trust.  So when your kid requests a piece of candy from the previous night’s haul bring them their basket and present it to them so that they may choose a piece of candy. You should probably hold onto the basket while they pick out the candy because they are inexplicably good at memorizing the weight of Halloween and Easter baskets at such a young age. If the kid starts to eyeball their basket a little too hard, or if they’re searching for a particular piece of candy that they remember from the night before, the jig may be up. If they ask what happened to their Family-Size Tropical Skittles, feign bewilderment and suggest that you both search the area together. If they don’t buy it and you get cornered, you might have to fight your way out. Remember– they can smell fear.

Obviously I’m joking about…most of this. There is no place that I yearn to go to as bad as I want to be at home with my family. What I love about my house and the creatures that occupy it is that every day is new. The daily interactions and accompanying emotions are the kinds of things that define what it means to truly be alive. Yes, parenthood means worrying about all of the dark and negative facets of the world that your child may interact with. But, more than that, it’s about living a rich, complex life with the ones that mean the most to you. It’s showing them the joys of human interaction and self-discovery. Who says parenthood has to be boring?

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