Apr 14, 2006

What Was I Thinking???

4/14/2006 — cori
I decided that tonight would be a perfect night for the boys and I to live it up and play a few games together before bedtime. We were about to have some major fun. I let each boy pick a game. That is where my plan started to unravel. I should have picked the games and thereby averted a whole evening filled with misery. Let me expound....

Gavin knows me too well. He knows my pressure points and he uses them to his advantage at various times throughout the day. He KNOWS I hate the game "Trouble", yet he 'innocently' made that his game of choice for tonight. My perils with Trouble began the day we got the game and have yet to cease. I've even tried to put the game in the Goodwill pile before and it somehow miraculously found it's way back to our game closet.

For those of you who have yet to experience the joy this game can add to your life, let me give you the simple version of the rules. There is a little dome covered popper thing in the center of the board. Residing under this dome is the lone die (I don't even know if that's the proper terminology/spelling for a singular dice). When one pushes hard enough on this transparent dome-like enclosure, you render enough force to pop the die and make it land on another number. It is the definition of the word random. In order to get your four little pieces out of the starting block, one must get the number 6 to miraculously appear under the dome. Then one may proceed the nausiating, circular journey around the board until you reach 'home'. However, in the process, if someone else lands on your space, they can send you back to start and you must once again produce a 6. It is utterly maddening! It took us a good 15 minutes tonight before anyone obtained this magic number.

What might my problems with the game be? I don't know that there is enough space here to properly address each issue. I think a list of bullet points might aide the reader in understanding why this game vexes me so. Whoever invented this game and decided to name it 'Trouble' might have also had these thoughts parading through his/her head:

1. "You're going to be in big trouble if you ever pick this game again."
2. "If you don't quit popping/pulling each other's toes and move your guy this instant, you are going to be in trouble."
3. "Whoever sends me back to start one more time will have some trouble coming his way!"
4. "Trouble will come upon the player who doesn't know how to count out his spaces properly and/or go when it is his turn without somebody (me) having to prod him (Bennett) for the 100th time."
5. Beware future players, you will be in trouble if you attempt to play this with a child still
learning the key elements of counting who also might be unaware of the term 'strategy'.

Those were but a few of my misgivings during our lovely game night, and that was only the first game. Bennett chose Dominoes as the second game. I previously had no qualms with this game. That is, until the boys 'taught' me how to play. Once Trouble mercifully came to an end (thank God - I won, finally), Bennett immediately starts building something with his allotment of dominoes that were next to him. I asked him, "So, Bennett, how do we play Dominoes?" After receiving the look of 'what does it look like I'm doing, Mom' from him, he placates me with, "Just build whatever you want, Mom." To which I'm like, "Uh, no. These are not blocks. This is a game. Plus, I can't build anything with 7 dominoes."

Gavin, ever ready to lay down some rules, chimes in with, "The rules to this game are...." I abruptly cut him off. After proving that I had indeed played a legitimate game of dominoes at least once in my life, I had gained a little clout and was thus 'allowed' to inform all other players of such rules involved. I'm sure they thought I was making up the rules, the way they looked at me - but they placated me none-the-less. Bennett really didn't understand the basic concept of matching like numbers together. He just picked up any ol' piece and placed it any ol' place.

Gavin thought there must be a deeper meaning to the game and there must be other rules I had not informed him about. He kept trying to come up with new ones. When none of the 'new rules' were given a thumbs up by the expert (myself) the other players then digressed into seeing what type of picture our pieces were making.

Come to find out, our game was really just a knight and each piece played only added to our knight's armor. Then out of the blue, our knight was riding a horse. Then they had a whole story-line going about our domino knight and had long ago disregarded the strategy to the game I tried to teach them.

Lesson's learned: when suggesting a game night, either get the games out myself or hide all unwanted games and let the kids pick from what's left. Who knew we were going to be making a domino knight and pulling each other's toes tonight? I just thought we were playing games...it's always so much deeper with kids.

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