...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

i know all there is to know about the crying game

As a parent, there are a few tried and true phrases guaranteed to strike fear in my heart. They include, but are not limited to:
  • "I don't feel so well."
  • "I think I'm gonna puke!"
  • "You are not as cool as you've led me to believe."
  • "Mom? Dad? There's something we need to tell you..."

But the phrase that makes me break out into a cold sweat and want to run away from home, punch a stranger in the face, and claim I never had the pleasure of passing either of my children through my birth canal is the following:

  • "Will you play a game with us?"

I believe this request is a means for Hasbro to test market a new game called "Test Your Mommy's Patience!", the goal of which is to see how long one of my children can go before I explode, throw all my game pieces in the air, and have green ooze seep from every orifice in my head (Fact - games are much cooler when there is ooze involved. Also a fact, but far less cool - moms are often left having to clean it up).

Each time the boys ask to play, I'm reminded of this scene from War Games, the movie (nay, the freakin' fantastic movie, and if you don't believe me, check it out for yourself when it airs Sunday on AMC, then come back immediately and tell me I was right. Woo hoo!) where Matthew Broderick unwittingly starts the countdown to World War III by encouraging his Commodore computer to play global thermonuclear war. I'm reminded of this because not only do my sons' requests sound so very similar to the computer's initially earnest desire, but because I know within moments of setting up the board and counting out the play money, someone will launch the first strike that will inevitably engage the rest of us in battle.

That is not a possibility, my friends. That is a fact. The first hints of war begin as the boys stand in front of the toy cabinet and attempt negotiations over what game to choose, and the first goading missile is launched when the dice are rolled to determine first moves. As a result, gleaming bulbous tears are soon rolling down one of their cheeks, making the paper money a soggy wad of despair. The wailing and thrashing of survivors clinging to a life they once knew then kicks in. It' s because of this drama that I abhor playing board games with my children.

Don't get me wrong. As a rule (and I follow all rules when playing games! Except for my junior year in college where I watched Jeopardy an hour earlier than my friends, absorbed all the answers, then stunned them with my mad skillz an hour later when we'd watch the same episode again. But whatever, that was a television show and not a game. Even though I did insist on being referred to as the Jeopardy Queen while those around me thought Cheater was more appropriate. But again, I say, whatever), I will kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit. You will marvel at my greatness at Catchphrase. You will turn to your spouse or significant other when leaving a party at my house and whisper, "Did you see the ease with which she killed us all at Scattegories?!" There does lie within me a love of the game.

When I was a kid, there was a Parker Brothers factory near my home, and every field trip I ever took meant journeying to this magical land of enchantment. At the conclusion of every tour, the guide would unleash us in a room bursting with products, and encourage us to tear the place apart and fill our heart's desire. It was like Christmas and birthdays rolled into one freakishly fantastic day, and I stocked my closet with the likes of Clue, Pay Day, and Monopoly. By stocking my closet with these items, I absolutely mean they accumulated there for my hoped for future use. My parents weren't big on playing board games with me when I was growing up, either, and now I can understand why. Have you played Monopoly lately? Seriously, Monopoly isn't so much a board game as it is a "Oh, dear God please, can we be done with this game already?! I am so freakin' bored!"

My sons' favorite games are a toss up between Battleship and Sorry!. This is most ironic when you consider every game of Battleship does, in fact, end in a battle the likes of which would send those little plastic war ships cowering to the furthest recesses of the ocean. Additionally, no one is ever sorry around here when we play Sorry!. Instead, there is much goading and poxes placed on future family members. I assume this is why Sorry! is marketed as "The game of sweet revenge." However, I think the game really sells itself more realistically as "Sorry that every game your family plays must end in tears and accusations!"

In the end, there are no real winners at my house when the board games come out. There are only whiners. If my lack of interest in playing games with my boys earns me a 'do not pass go' card in the game of life, that's a risk I'm willing to take, for I figure I've already greased up chutes and ladders path they'll take to therapy one day, anyway.

Labels:

41 Comments:

Blogger A.C. said...

Oh, I can relate to this! I play board games with A.J. and his sister regularly and the other night, A.J. accused me of cheating. (I did NOT cheat...I simply took the bottom card instead of the one on top of it and it just happened to be the one he needed). We got into a little bickering match that threatened to escalate quickly. And we're both adults (in age, at least).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Choppzs said...

Luckily, we haven't had many problems with the Monopoly thing. Every weekend, usually, unless other things come up, Hubs and I will play a game of it with Girly after the boys go to bed. It usually lasts about 3 hrs. and by then it's close to midnight and none of us are awake enough to play till someone wins! Plus we do the easy version...we each get 3 properties at the start of the game (by random draw) and we only require 3 houses instead of 4 to build hotels, oh and sometimes just for shits and giggles, everytime someone lands on free parking and collects all the money, we automatically start the pot off with 100 bucks. Then the next round 200, 300 and so on. We've gotten the pot automatically starting at 1000 before! lol Just to make it more fun!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

You are dead-on sistah. I wrote a post about playing 'Aggravation' with my kids and it was aggravating alright.

Loved your Jeopardy finesse. Heh heh heh...

I find my favorite games to play with the kids are physical things like Tiddlywinks, Jenga or Don't Spill the Beans. Anything that involved counting just makes me mad.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I will kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit. Because I know that that every answer is either "Charles Lindberg" or "The Montreal Canadiens".

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cocotte said...

OMG - I couldn't wait to be rid of Candyland and Chutes & Ladders. Both should be renamed, "The Game That Never Ends." I like my kid games to have clear cut endings.

OTOH, just like you FADKOG, I love the word games such as Scattergories, Catchphrase, and Apples to Apples. The kids actually fight over me to be on their team for those. I'd rather show off my skills than play those games of luck.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Sunshine said...

I'm so jealous of the Parker Brothers factory closeby!! I would have LOVED to grow up near something like that...

I do love board games, but I do not want to play with little people who don't follow the rules or whine when someone else does well.......

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I am unstoppable at board games. All the other commenters are mere imitators. Whether it be Chutes & Ladders or Monopoly or Clue or Trivial Pursuit or Pit or the 1970s favorite King Oil or the newer 7 Deadly Sins.

Although I'll admit that my 5-year old kicked my butt at Candyland last week. Plus, he's always wanting me to play Twister with him, which kinda creeps me out.

*PS* Why are we putting the names of all the board games in italics? Hold on, I need to go check my AP stylebook...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

have you played blokus with your kids? it's the.best.game.ever.

really. i swear. it's the only one i'll play with them that doesn't make me want to stab someone in the eye.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

My 10-year old daughter loves playing games when she's here. She taught me Backgammon recently. It probably helps that there's only her, rather than two of them, but funnily enough we played Monopoly last weekend.

The problem with Monopoly, at least with two players, is that one player tends to start doing well early on and goes on to win. Close games are rare.

Helena, having lost, insisted on playing another game immediately after (!), since she had what she thought might be a winning strategy, namely, only to buy about 3 or 4 properties and let me pick up the rest. And although I did eventually win, it was a close call!

But, like everything else, not everyone gets on with those kind of games...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:58:00 PM  
Blogger Laura B. said...

I played Chutes and Ladders with my nephew a couple of years ago and swore that I'd never play another board game with a child again. He kept claiming "No Fair" and would start the game over if he landed on a chute. He'd turn over multiple cards until he got the one card he needed. Nevermind my cries of foul and cheater. Ugh...battleship...now there was a game....hehehe...but nothing...NOTHING was better than Trouble!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:13:00 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I used to love board games till I had kids. Last Christmas I though for some unGodly reason that it would be fun to play wiht my neices..5&7 yrs. OMG! what was I thinking????

Stacie

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You left your unmentionables out for the repairmen to see? What kind of a floozy are you?

Hallie :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:35:00 PM  
Blogger Chas said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was so relieved to find out I'm not the only one, I laughed out loud. I've kept my dislike of playing games with my son hidden, but he'll probably eventually figure out why I run away pulling my hair and screaming every time he suggests a game of battleship.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger justlori2day said...

I like to play games where they (Jadon) doesnt know how to play so I get to play - otherwise not only am I huffing out in a pout, but also mad that when we opened said game that all the pieces werent put back in the proper place so we are playing with play-doh replica's and potato chips.

UGH I feel your pain! Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:25:00 PM  
Blogger cIII said...

My daughter used to ask me to play never ending games of Chutes and Ladders. Until she, like me, saw through all the B.S. That game sucks and leaves me feeling like I chewed Aluminum Foil. I mean, 100 friggin' squares. And don't get me started on that long-ass chute at the very top. I'm going to write a post about my Hatred for Chutes and Ladders.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy Lou said...

I don't mind the games - it's the whiners and sore losers after that I can do without. It's a game people!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:51:00 PM  
Blogger Manager Mom said...

Would. You. Like. To. Play. A. Game?

Ahh, War Games. Back in the day where Hollywood would actually let someone COOL and NORMAL like Ally Sheedy play a romatic lead.

I share your dread of non-electronica. I'll happily beat my kids into a pulp on the Wii, but the sight of Monopoly strikes fear into my heart.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:15:00 PM  
Blogger Always Home and Uncool said...

Thing 1 beat me the first 76 times we played CandyLand. The next day, she beat 34 more times. I hated to finally cheat against a 3 year old, but enough was enough and I had to get to work.

As for you, dearest, in few years, though, you'll be kickin' their asses in Drinkin' Jenga and Tequila Chute-ers and Ladders.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:41:00 PM  
Blogger Trooper Thorn said...

My kids love playing games, especially trivia games. The 12Y.O. is an expert at the Friends Trivia game.

When all else fails, you can't beat Twister. Daddy gets better and more flexible after a few cocktails.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Dude, I so hate Monotony... err Monopoly.
I do, however, kick major ass at Battleship!

I'll lust you with every ship I sink.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger San Diego Momma said...

I'm in the Chutes and Ladders phase and I can't take another minute. I think I'm going to get my girls started on video games early. (One-player video games.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

OH MY GOD, thank you so much for saying you don't like to play games with your kids! I thought I was the only horrible mother who felt that way. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ms Picket To You said...

i pretty much tell my kids i will only play scrabble (lived and learned) but then i remind them that they suck at spelling and one can't even read. so i will win, WIN! and then they go outside.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

i love yahtzee!

its like craps but not.

and besides if you play that with your kids and rub the dice on your ass and scream.."Momma needs a new pair of shoes!" enough times..they stop askin.

Thank me later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

I've the opposite problem in my house. I BEG the kids to play with me. It freaks them out.

And then they take the bait like silly little mice and I CLUB them over the head with my greatness.

(It's only cheating when you are caught.)

For this reason and my gleeful rants of "BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP YOUR QUEEN MINIONS!" my children tend to hide under their beds when I want to play a game.

Pansies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I can only say I do not have children. I do know when I was a child, we has copious amounts of toys simulating mucous and other slimy things.

I do not know if slime ever emitted from my Mom when I played games with her.

I remember playing Othello on a tournament sized board during black outs with candlelight.

My memory of playing board games with Mom was that they were wonderful.

Surely in the thirty years hence, my mother may remember it jus like that

Thursday, July 31, 2008 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Bee said...

We rarwly played games because we would make up our own rules and then beat the crap out of each other. I haven't played a game with my brothers in YEARS. The last time we did, one of them kept making excuses as to why he lost.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Edtime Stories said...

quietly applauding your brilliant writing.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 6:50:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

My favorite game is actually a card game, UNO. One year I got Uno Attack for Christmas and I also have Uno Stacko. I love board games. However when I try to play them with my nieces I want to pull out my hair. They even make Candyland a trip into hell.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 7:31:00 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

Monopoly sucks dockey balls. It is boring!
However, I will kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit and possibly Scattergories (one time I played strip scattergories and was fully clothed while the guys...underpants, all of them). Game on!

Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I can handle the board games--it's the imaginary play with Polly Pockets I'd rather skip.

Hopefully your boys won't be into that.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger April said...

oh, how i understand this...and how i'm dreading how it will get worse as my 8 month old gets old enough to play the game, too.

yes...and thunder only happens when it's raining

Thursday, July 31, 2008 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Stella Blue said...

ahhhh, bad memories of childhood...as a kid with a spatial learning disability and ADHD, board games tended to piss me off. I did have mad euchre skillz, though. If only I could have somehow parlayed that into financial gain. Where was the World Series of Euchre when I was ten?

My one-year-old is not too into games, unless they're games like "how many things can I find on the floor to put in my mouth!?!" and "how close can I put my finger to the dog's eyeball before I get yelled/snarled at?!?"

Thursday, July 31, 2008 2:33:00 PM  
Blogger Wethyb said...

Omigosh, Payday! Do they even still make that anymore?

We didn't play board games when we were kids. I guess we were sheltered :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:27:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

a.c - Oh, the cheating thing chaps my ass. Especially when the charge is leveled before I've even gotten through setting up the dang game board!

Choppzs - You all have a good system in place there! I think my disdain for Monopoly stems from college, when some housemates would play it every day. For hours. The. Same. Game. Rather than go out and drink!

Alice - My Jeopardy skills are legendary. Some of my group still insists on calling me out on my technique, but I just call it a preventative strike!

BP Dad - OK, Mr. Big Talkin' Man. Bring it. Bring. It. I will stun you with both my knowledge AND my extreme awesomeness!

Cocotte - I admit an extreme fondness for word and trivia games. I have so many versions of Trivial Pursuit in my basement, aching to be played. People fear me when I suggest a game, though!

Sunshine - It was very cool having Parker Brothers right up the road. Like Willy Wonka's factory, minus the calories! The calories came into play on the other field trips, when we'd go to the Wonder Bread factory, and they'd ply us with miniature loaves of bread and snacks! These days, my kids go on field trips to learn stuff, to which I say pfft!

ftn - My AP Style book is in a box, tossed there in my "Well, I'll show you!" bravado when leaving my last job! I've actually tried to buy Twister for my kids, but they don't want it, which is odd when you consider all the wrestling around they do.

Oh, and also? I will take your ass down in any game. Just thought you should know.

Ali - Ha! Your very convincing, nonviolent endorcement, has me willing to check this game out!

Brian - I can already say, without even trying it, that I probably don't have the tolerance for backgammon. My dad often tried to teach me how to play cribbage, and omg, even to this day, I still want to scream!

Laura - Some games start and end with the cries of "No Fair!" Usually, at least by halfway through, having endured my limit, the cries are coming from me. I clearly am not a proud person!

Stacie - I think the problem I have getting adults to play games with me stems from this trauma we all harbour from our childhood. Which sucks, because I really do want to play Trivial Pursuit!

WWoW - I am a super floozy! Flooziest Maximus!

Chas - Ha! Sadly, as they get older, it does become increasinly more difficult to hide our disdain. Especially if, like me, there's pouting involved when the mention of playing games is brought up!

Lori - Oh, half the time, before we can even play a game, there is much hunting and scavenging for pieces that never got put away, or put in the wrong boxes. Thanks for mentioning this, because it is yet another reason I get so stressed!

Ciii - You have done well to teach your child so early in life that Chutes and Ladders is nothing more than a portal to hell. I applaud you, even if you did skeeve me with the whole chewing of aluminum foil, because gah! That makes my skin crawl! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Mandy lou - Precisely! I've been known to say the very same thing!

Manager Mom - Sometimes, I have stopped neverending games by suggesting the kids go zone out like zombies, armed with the PS2 and whatever wrestling/Guitar Hero/DDR game they can kill hours with. You and I are good moms!

Always Home - Honey, if it means I can reclaim my sanity and the rightful position of leader of my house, I am not above cheating to get out of the death march that is Chutes and Ladders!

Trooper Thorn - I wonder what the market could be for a Trivial Twister game...

Savage - Do be sure to dedicate every ship in your fleet to me, wont you?

San Diego Momma - Come. Join us here on the dark side... ;)

Biscuit - Sweetie, we are so in this together! And look! There's a gang of supporters behind us!

Ms Picket - YOU ARE A GENIUS!!!! I am so coming over to your place to learn! Thanks for coming here, btw!

kimmy - And you, too, are a super genius! I am so glad I've gotten to know you, my friend, for I have learned so much about life and it's sneaky ways from you!

Redneck Mommy - Does your offer of playing and copping still stand? Hmm? I'll bring drinks! Let me learn from you!

Keith - Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I hope, of course, that one day my kids remember game nights as good, quality family entertainment, and not so much as 'that time when Mommy went off the deep end and we had to call the dctors.' I'm not sure I'll ever be up to Othello, though!

Bee - Get this! My sister used to get my ass in trouble because she'd tattle to my parents when I wouldn't play a game with her!! And now she has the audacity to snub me when I ask, during family gatherings, if anyone wants to be destroyed by me. Perhaps it's in my delivery. (BTW, what were you doing up and commenting so late?! Bee, that's not like you!!)

Ed - ...and I humbly appreciate your very, very kind words...

Heather - UNO is a game I can tolerate, for it tends to speed by. The trouble comes into play when my youngest son feigns not knowing what to do, then it's drama UNO!

Meg - Well, well, well. Are you throwing a gauntlet down at me, hmmm?

Meg - As I type this, I am watching my oldest play with a battery of action figures. I tend to make up rather elaborate storylines for them when asked to play along (Superman and Spiderman are going to the ball! What should they wear?!), so they often wish not to have me join in on the fun for long. Devious planning on my part? Perhaps...

April - I assume this will be a bit of a battle until the boys discover girls, and then I'll just be some old woman at the house who gives them realy money rather than pretend play money!

Stella blue - I used to be taught how to play games by my father, who was an engineer. It was never simple, and perhaps that is where some of my stress also lies.

Wethyb - Out of all the games I had growing up, Payday ranked up there as my most favorite game ever. It's actually one we don't have (at least the 'modern' version), but my Mom still has the one I got at Parker Brothers when I was a kid. I may have to break my rules here and get it from her and teach my kids.

Friday, August 01, 2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger iMommy said...

Impressive, you responded to everyone!

Boopie (daughter) isn't quite old enough for board games yet, which is probably a good thing. Board games always ended in tears when I was growing up!

You'd think we'd learn. What is evolution for, anyway??

Saturday, August 02, 2008 4:11:00 PM  
Anonymous mssc54 said...

Way back when "The Crying Game" came out in theators I was in the US Navy and went with a bunch of guys to see it. Needless to say there was a collective groan in when "the truth" was unveiled.

Saturday, August 02, 2008 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

OK, back from my week at camp. . .

Backpacking Dad notwithstanding, you do NOT, repeat, do NOT want to play Trivial Pursuit with me. Digging into the Desmond Jones archives of never-before-told tales of uber-nerdiness, I once ran the board on my first turn. Game over. Just sayin'.

And, in a parallel vein, I also spent a year in the contestant files for Jeopardy!. Passed the talent-search, and all that. But, evidently, I didn't pass the 'screen test' (see, I shoulda had you with me. . .), 'cuz I never got called to actually be on the show. Their loss. . .

Sunday, August 03, 2008 6:11:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

imommy - Ha! The responding to everyone took me awhile, and the fact that I end up writing so much to each response, like I'm having a conversation, adds to the length of time, but it helps me stall for time when I can't think of anything to write for a proper post! Um, kind of like what I just did right there! I think we imagine that things will go better the next time when the games come out. They never do!

mssc54 - I remembered watching that movie and pretty much figuring out the twist pretty quickly after that character was revealed. Those kinds of things make it pretty impossible to really watch those kinds of twisty movies more than once. I can definitely understand the groaning thing. Thanks for coming by!

Des - We could have a big old standoff with this Trivial Pursuit thing. Me and all you boys who *think* you can take me! Even if you are some sorta quasi-Jeopardy celebrity, I could still take you. However, I kinda want your autograph because you got so far in the process!

Sunday, August 03, 2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

If you're as good as all that, I'd recommend going thru a Jeopardy contestant-search, just for the experience of it. It's really a hoot. Altho it does have a sorta thing about it like sausage and the law - once you've seen it being made, it sorta loses some of its magic. . .

Monday, August 04, 2008 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Des - As smart in the world of nothing that I am, I'd probably freeze up and be a complete idiot during that process!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008 9:18:00 AM  

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