One of the kids’ favorite things to do with us is relax with us and watch a movie. We enjoy it, too, though, there are more than a handful we’ve now watched far more than necessary. (I think it’s high time we ordered a permanent blackout on both big-screen “Smurfs” adaptations.) But there are plenty of other things to do, of course, instead of stare at the tube, and thankfully Grace and Zachary are starting to see that a little bit.
Over Christmas break from school, Bec — probably to get the kids away from the TV, as well as find an additional activity that didn’t involve setting out into the dreaded polar vortex — sat down with G and Z and played some good-old fashioned board games. And, lo and behold, rather than complain about being taken away from the 15th-or-so viewing of “Despicable Me 2,” they actually had fun (mostly).
Now, we had played games with the kids before, to be sure. “Candyland” and “Chutes and Ladders” have long been favorites, but those are getting outgrown nowadays. Many hands of “Uno” have been played over the years, Grace in particular enjoys a good “Connect 4” challenge and both she and her brother get a kick out of catching the wanted “Mousetrap” prey. Game-playing, though, is starting to advance to a whole new level.
A couple of classics have moved to the “game-on” forefront. “Life” has gotten some action lately, as the kids seem to like the whole idea of driving across a board while going to college, getting married, getting jobs and buying houses, having babies (many giggles seem to consistently ensue at this stage) and so on. The game is not perfect, though — “job cards” and “salary cards” in real life aren’t necessarily picked at random, and when Zachary beat us all despite being the only one to skip college, Bec and I felt compelled to offer a brief explanation that this route would not be the preferred one in our home. Still, there was plenty of fun had, and that was the bottom line.
And then, there is “Monopoly.” After just one or two games, Grace began to display a fiercely competitive streak that results in her announcing her desire to “kick our butts” each time. She enjoys taking money from her other family members, unsurprisingly, and is even intrigued by the “art of the deal” — proposing property trades and even forging alliances. Perhaps if her longed-for careers as elementary teacher, dancer or (let’s not forget) princess don’t pan out, she’ll be some sort of power broker.
Zach, for his part, likes to roll the dice and, like his sister, consistently longs to land on Free Parking. He doesn’t want Park Place and Boardwalk because they’re the game’s high-rent district; blue is simply his favorite color. He has a somewhat fitting propensity to wind up in jail, and his favorite part of the game is re-arranging the Chance cards so that other players get their own sentences in the slammer.
With this enhanced interest in board games taking place, our long tradition of Saturday Movie Night may just become Saturday Game Night. And I’m not “Sorry” to say that at all.