The Vacation Game
Noble did it again. He made me realize that life can be thought of “outside the box”. This kid of mine comes home from school and wants to play. To me, that means playdough, cars, baseball, rackets, Iron Man vs. Somebody Else, etc.
I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to come up with standard games that I know how to play. Yesterday, I saw the beauty of impulse gaming.
It started out with a very bored Noble grabbing a suitcase that I had set out to go into the garage. He started dragging it on the floor. There are wheels on one side, but, of course, Noble was dragging it across the kitchen on the opposite side; scraping his way toward the unassuming hardwood floors of the dining room. Trying not to be an asshole about it, I said, “Hey vacation boy, there’s wheels on the other end, it will make it easier. Why don’t you take your vacation outside?” And that’s how the game of “See you later! I’m going on vacation!” began.
He would roll the suitcase outside, going to a “vacation”. Then he would come home and tell me how much he missed me and he’d have a present from his vacation. I took the ball and rolled with it, seeing that I might be able to cook dinner in peace if this game continued. So I told him to go far, far away, to Egypt. And bring me back a pyramid. He told me that Egypt was closed, so he was gonna go far, far away to grandma and grandpa’s house. This meant rolling the suitcase across the lawn, alllllll the way to the back fence, and then returning. This game was GENIUS! It filled up a good 20 minutes! Twenty beautiful, peaceful, whining-free, “daddy let’s wrestle”-free minutes!
The only problem with this is that if I come up with a clever game and propose it to him, he’s gonna think it sucks. I think the trick is that you have to make them feel like it’s happening impulsively. Otherwise it’s just another dumb idea from a dumb dad! And who wants to play THAT?!