November 11, 2010

Game Playa

Beth and I trade bed time duties with the kids. She'll do Mia one night, and I'll take Owen. The next night we trade. To help Mia wind down after a long day at school, we've started special time. Whichever parent is responsible for getting her to bed takes a half hour or forty-five minutes to spend with Mia. No TV, no music, no iPad. Just us, playing games, doing puzzles or reading books. It's nice and allows her to settle down, get relaxed, and us to spend some quality time without Owen trying to show us his penis or destroy the living room (these aren't necessarily mutually exclusive activities either).

Recently, Mia has taken to inventing games. On Monday night we sat down at the kitchen table and played one. It didn't take long before I became completely and utterly confused. I wrote down the rules as best I could interpret and recall them.

The Gameplay*:

  1. Each player selects eleven cards. Unless it's a Monday. If it's Monday, you take seven.
  2. Player One - who is always Mia - selects one word from the card and says it aloud.
  3. Player Two searches through his or her cards in order to find a word that rhymes.
  4. If Player Two is able to identify a card with a rhyming word, that card is handed to the first player. Player One is then required to "see if it would make a good book" whereby both cards are paired with each other in various positions with unknown criteria for success. If a book is acceptable, Player One keeps both cards. If the book is not acceptable, eyes are rolled and the card is returned to Player Two. It is now Player Two's turn.
  5. If Player Two is unable to identify a card with a rhyming word, he must draw. Or Player One must draw. This rule is something of a whim.
  6. Player Two selects one word from his card and reads it aloud. As with the first turn, Player One is encouraged to find a rhyming word. Player Two should be forewarned that traditional rhyming conventions are not required to be adhered to for Player One. For example, chair may be a perfectly acceptable rhyme for monkey. This is through no ignorance on the part of Player One. It is simply because she wishes to win.
  7. If Player One is unable to identify a matching word, you must buy her a pony.
  8. If Player One is able to identify a rhyming word, she must hand the card to Player Two who is required to "see if it would make a good book". Player Two will invariably do this incorrectly and will forfeit his card and his next turn. And will still be on the hook for a pony.
  9. Player Two must then find a blank piece of paper and write a word at the top in pencil - only pencil. Player One must then develop a list of words that rhyme with that first word - written in pink marker - which Player Two must then trace.

General Rules:

  1. The first turn is taken by the cute one. Not daddy. The little cute one.
  2. In the event of a dispute, rulings are always made in favor of players under 35 years of age.
  3. Player Two - being neither little or cute - is always wrong.
  4. The rules are variable and may be changed at any time - most likely prefaced by Oh daddy that's not right - because, according to Player One making little girls play by the rules against adults is just a way to make them feel bad.
  5. Player Two is encouraged to have a drink of the adult variety prior to play.

* Please note that gameplay lasts approximately seven hours unless abandoned by Player One or called on account of bedtime.

Posted by Chris at November 11, 2010 7:21 AM

Down here it's all about the made up stories for a 6 year old who can seriously give chapter and verse on all matters aviation. Story time goes something like this...

Listener: Tell me a story, one about planes.
Storyteller: Once upon at time a little boy bought a ticket to fly from Sydney to Brisbane.
Listener: What sort of plane was it?
Storyteller: a DC3.
Listener: *dramatic sigh* A Douglass Dakota DC3.
Storyteller: Right,
Listenter: those are the ones that are metal, not painted, they're just grey and they have square windows... they didn't have metal fatigue, because they flew very slow...
Storyteller: who's telling this story??

Posted by: Deeleea at November 11, 2010 7:35 AM

God bless her imagination, and your patience.

Posted by: Dawn at November 11, 2010 8:06 AM

Sounds wonderfully frustrating!

I have a question for you. We are considering getting our kids (age 7, 4 and 2) and Ipad for Christmas. Do you find there's enough games to keep the different age groups entertained. And, which games would you recommend?

Posted by: Heather at November 11, 2010 8:18 AM

Sounds like a fantastic game of Calvinball to me! At least that's what we call it in our house when the made-up games and ad hoc rules start flowing. :)

Posted by: Adrienne at November 11, 2010 8:38 AM

the funny thing about this post: i hate reading instructions to games, my mind just shuts down. the same thing happened here. but i did see something about a pony :p

Posted by: kati at November 11, 2010 8:51 AM

I have laughed until my sides hurt. I can't say I'm sorry I missed the game because I'd have certainly lost, but I did thoroughly enjoy the description!

Posted by: Emily at November 11, 2010 9:09 AM

Two things:
1. When I was little I invented a card game called Goose that we all played A LOT. Unfortunately, no one remembers how to play anymore. :-(
2. Did you ever read The Accidental Tourist, Anne Tyler's wonderful novel about a dysfunctional family? They had invented a game called Vaccination that outsiders could rarely understand.

Posted by: Karen at November 11, 2010 9:30 AM

I wanna play! And I'm "only" 32 (and 1/2), so I am totally using General Rule #2 to get me a PONY!

Posted by: Julie at November 11, 2010 9:40 AM

It is my firm belief that Mia is going to take over the world. And a sparkly pink pony will be her Vice World-Taker-Overer ;)

Posted by: Kris at November 11, 2010 9:54 AM

That's awesome. My daughter and son both have similar game creation rules ( the deck is stacked against whoever is not creator of the universe ).

I swear I've worked for at least two companies who use the same set of gameplay rules for determining performance.

Posted by: metawizard at November 11, 2010 10:15 AM

When I was a youth director, we took a bunch of middle school kids to Germany (I know, crazy.) and we got stuck at O'Hare due to a tornado. The kids made up this elaborate card game that none of the adults could ever get a hang of, but they played it for HOURS at a time. And what I loved about it - from what I could see, it was completely a game of chance. Everyone could play on equal footing. Kids have always amazed me like that.

Posted by: k8 at November 11, 2010 10:52 AM

Well I like rule #5 the best, myself ;) It sounds a little like CalvinBall heh.

Posted by: Heather at November 11, 2010 12:45 PM

i like general rule #4 the best :)

Posted by: Steph D at November 11, 2010 1:59 PM


Posted by: alektra at November 11, 2010 6:27 PM

Yup, just had to play a game like that with my 6.5-year-old... It took her so long to explain the rules and multiple exceptions that it must have been about half an hour before we got round to the (utterly confusing and totally unwinnable-if-you're-an-adult) game... She, however, was delighted to have shellacked me and totally awarded herself chocolate as the prize...
I just love the imaginations of little kids...!

Posted by: Kirsty at November 11, 2010 7:01 PM

Thank god I don't have to play that game - I'm so totally confused just reading the rules. General Rule 5 is definitely the way to go.

Posted by: Heather at November 12, 2010 2:15 PM

hahahahaha ... that game sounds just like marriage...player one being the get the picture... : ) her mother and/or nature is teaching her well.

I suspecting you don't make it a habit, but have to advertise my wee 16 yr old daughter is getting her 15 seconds of fame on MTV's 'the buried life' series Monday 15th Nov. 10.30pm (PST) as they filmed a section on Cortes Island, B.C (where we lived for 15 yrs) She's singing a song with her ukelule (not the main story 'save the forest' gal) and will be tagged 'Francesca Belcourt'.... just thought I'd let you know, since you're a music fan and I'm a super proud silly mom .... : )

Posted by: english thorn at November 12, 2010 11:48 PM