My husband’s Saturday morning ritual of making pancakes with the kids has been replaced recently by him going to work instead. This makes my “sleep-in” day vanish entirely. I never really got to sleep-in anyway, but there was hope. What’s life without hope?
This past Friday night as my husband reminded the kids that he won’t be here in the morning, I overheard my son complain, “But Mommy never plays with us. She’s always just on the computer.” Cue the mom-guilt. I promised that I’d play games with them after I finish my first cup of coffee in the morning. Despite nursing that first cup of coffee and hoping they’d forget, they showed up at my desk with arms full of board games. So we played. And I quickly remembered why I don’t play games with my kids…
1. The Sore Loser. Whether it’s really losing the game, or just having to go fish immediately after a sibling got a set of four, my kids are monumental sore losers. They cry, complain of unfairness, and spread misery with alarming generosity.
2. The Obnoxious Winner. Ha ha! I won. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I won! Oh yeah! You lose! Ha ha…. This winner’s dance of gloating lasts until someone cries.
3. The Cheater. The kids lie, peak, steal, grab, stack decks and try whatever else is possible to give them an advantage and make the game suck more than it does naturally.
4. The Gang Up. My kids don’t understand that if some non-self-person is going to win, it does not matter which non-self-person that might be. Instead, they have some sort of ranking of which non-self person is the least/most objectionable winner. They band together, conspiring so that the most objectionable non-self person does not win. I am always the most objectionable non-self person.
5. The Never Ending Game. Chutes and Ladders. ’Nuff said.
6. The Back to Start Game. Any game where a roll of the dice or selection of a card results in a person going backwards towards the starting point inflames sore losery, inspires cheating, lends itself to attempted conspiracy, and then never ends.
7. The Mind Numbing Stupidity. Children’s games generally suck.
8. The Mess. Children’s games come with parts, pieces, cards, sticks, marbles, dice, timers, boards, and other small objects. These pieces are inevitably left all over the place and/or lost. A lost card from a game of Memory? Sucks. A lost piece from Sorry? Stepped on. Ouch!
9. Ending the Play. I remember reading once that children are like batteries in that you can “charge” them with some attentive play and then they’ll be more ready to play independently for some time, as they’re all filled up and satisfied with love and attention. This is either total bullshit, or my kids need to read that book too. There is no way to extract myself from playing with them that doesn’t end in anger/tears for all involved.
10. The Begging. If we do something fun with the kids once we are then stuck with them begging for it again for the rest of our lives. My kids beg for fairs, parades, skiing, swimming, roller skating, movies, sledding, ice cream, candy, gum, restaurants, late bedtimes, the beach, Christmas, birthday parties, friends’ houses, cookies, zoos, Grandma’s house, popcorn, plane rides, bus rides, train rides, etc, etc, etc all.the.time. If they’ve never done something, then they don’t know to beg for it.