Playing games with my kid

Michael Boylan's picture

They say one of the joys of parenting is being able to re-live your childhood by playing with your children. You get to re-read classic tales like “Hop on Pop,” a book which my 2-and-a-half year old son, Colin, has just recently decided to take quite literally, play games like Hide and Seek, color and use some of the eight million toys, many of which are battery operated, annoying and/or noisy, that people have bestowed upon your child in the hopes of driving you as completely bonkers as their children drove them.

Colin is at what a lot of people I run into tell me is a “fun age,” and it is fun, when he’s not freaking out about drinking juice from a specific cup or running around my car in the garage with a devilish glint in his eye while we’re trying to leave in the morning. Perhaps the best thing about my son right now is seeing the development of his imagination and sense of humor.

A few weeks ago, Colin decided he wanted to play hide and seek with the old man, so I told him to hide somewhere in the backyard. I closed my eyes, counted to 10 and when I opened them, he was standing in the very same spot, cracking up laughing.

“You found me,” he said. I nodded and shook my head.

“Let’s try again,” I said. “Go hide somewhere where I can’t see you right away.”

I counted to 10 and opened my eyes but he was still in the same spot. Next time, I moved behind a tree and counted to 10. I opened my eyes and started to walk towards the same place where he had been “hiding” the other times. He was giggling and clearly loving the game, but I wanted to see if we could get closer to playing the right way, or else this was going to be a very dull hour.
“This time, I’ll hide and you find me,” I said. “Close your eyes and count to ten.”

Colin put his hands over his eyes, but he could clearly see through his fingers.

“Don’t peek,”I reminded, starting to make my way behind a tree. He began to follow me, matching me step for step. “You’re not supposed to peek,” I said.

I wasn’t asking for a perfect game or accusing him of cheating, I just wanted to have this moderately resemble hide and seek.

“OK, go and hide behind that bush,” I said. Colin dutifully scrambled behind the bush. I counted to 10 and started my “search.”

“Hmmm, where is Colin?” I asked nobody in particular. “Is he in his clubhouse by the slide? Is he under the slide? Is he up this tree? Aha, he’s behind the bush! I found you.”

Colin squealed with laughter and the rest of the day I didn’t have to tell him where to hide, although he still was “hiding” in plain view around the yard.

It was a fun afternoon and now hide and seek is a must every time we play in the backyard. Unfortunately, it gets dark outside before we get home at night, so most of playtime is relegated to his room, where we play with cars. To be more accurate, Colin plays with cars while I observe and don’t touch. If I do, schoolmarm Colin chastises me and tells me “No-no.” I am allowed to play with him when he crawls through his tunnel and the game usually revolves around him being “stuck” and me rescuing him. I treat it like a mountain survival movie and when he is finally rescued we both let out a collective sigh of exhaustion.

The kid also has quite the imagination. This morning he was asking where the cow went and mooed as if the cow would follow his moos and come home. We don’t have a cow, nor have we ever, but it seemed perfectly logical to Colin. A few weeks ago he scared his mom by saying he was scared of a chicken. She said what really creeped her out was the fact that he was using a voice like the kid in “The Shining.”

Maybe our house was built on a haunted piece of old farmland (which strikes me as a great idea for next year’s Nanowrimo project).

Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in our house.

Now, if he would just let me play with some of his cars.

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