Monday, March 26, 2007

End of an Era

Boo, the kids and myself tend to be somewhat of a low-tech family. Sure, we have digital gadgets. I couldn't live without my iMac and all of the toys that go with it, and I was finally brow-beaten into trading my old camera for a spanky new digital model. But on the whole, we are decidedly low tech. And we revel in our archaic ways. In fact, we thrive marching to the beat of our batteries-aren't-required drum.

We like board games. Nothing beats sitting around a table with a chess game between you and the cold, steely eyes of your competitor. Memories of hours spent with friends and siblings playing games like Connect Four and Life, echo in our minds, reminding of us of the warm and fuzzies of our lost youth. The marathon sessions of Monopoly, while snacking on orange juice and pistachios (and volunteering to be the banker so as to pilfer an extra $500 bill when no one was watching), provided us with endless hours of quality bonding time with one another.

Those were good times. It's not to say we didn't spend time in front of the television, hooked up to the newly purchased Atari system and trying to outwit the clever Donkey Kong. But board games always wooed us back with promises of laughter, camaraderie and merriment.

Boo and I never out grew our love of old fashioned entertainment. Board games have held their sway over us and carried into adult hood. Just add liquor and presto! Instant adult entertainment. Ever try playing Twister while tossing back vodka shooters? It's the one game where you can "accidentally" latch on to a lady's boob or a man's posterior and get away with it. In fact, the more schnockered you are, the funner it gets. Try getting away with a boob graze or a butt clutch while playing video games and see what awaits you. You will have the authorities called in a heart beat.

As parents clinging to their past, we have tried to pass along our love of good wholesome family cheating values and invested a sizeable chunk of change in a variety of games. We started out with Candyland and Perfection, then Snakes and Ladders and then eventually moved up to more serious pursuits of Risk.

It's not to say we keep our kids in a cave and deprive them of all high-tech wonders. When my brother, Stretch, discovered we as parents had shied away from a video entertainment system, he stepped in to become the benefactor of my children's game system. He didn't want his niece and nephew to grow up with out knowing the pleasures of staring endlessly at a television screen while rapidly and repeatedly pressing buttons with their thumbs.

But the seeds had already been planted in my childrens minds, our indoctrination was successful. (That's not to say they haven't lost hours of their lives while toiling away to conquer the latest Zelda game.) Our kids love board games too.

So last night, after dinner, we broke out the ole Scrabble board. And as the eldest, and thus the most responsible, I kept the letter bag close at hand, to ensure no cheating occurred. Fric and Frac are extremely competitive and will go to great lengths to try and beat the pants off the other.

I sat there and marvelled at how these bright and beautiful children of mine can sit and intelligently play a game with me. It was only yesterday it seemed, that they were teething and learning how to totter about. I realized how swiftly time passes and how blessed I was to have these sweet souls call me mom. It won't be long before they totter off into the real world, leaving me with memories of their youth and a dusty game board.

I also realized my time for cheating unnoticed is swiftly coming to an end. Like sands through an hour glass, my absolute reign as board game Queen is coming to an end. Unless I better my slight of hand tricks, I may actually have to start playing by the rules.

Those kids are smart and have eyes like a hawk.

They take after their father. Dammit. I can't cheat with him either.

30 Comments:

Blogger J. said...

Board games are great! And an awesome way to spend time together.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Suburban Oblivion said...

How sweet! We just taught our 8 year old to play Scrabble, so we are having a lot of fun with that!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Above Average Joe said...

Your comment about carrying board games into adulthood reminds me of the time Mrs. Joe and I were playing Trouble and...

Let's just say we were both naked when the game was over.

10:24 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

I love a game of scrabble. Can't wait to teach Cakes.

10:40 AM  
Blogger ECR said...

I think board games are something that you have a good chance of still enjoying with the kids even after they totter off into the real world. I don't do much with my parents anymore besides ask them to babysit, yet the whole family has been known to get together for a good game of Taboo or Trivial Pursuit on occasion. Board game-playing was definitely a smart, long-term affinity to instill in them.

10:47 AM  
Blogger The Wilson's said...

I love Board Games!!! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my new look. Hope you have a good week!!!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Bon said...

i actually got to a ToysRUS over the weekend (one has to leave the province for that around here) and was checking out the board games section with visions of family game sugarplums dancing in my head. to my not-really-shocked-but-very-disappointed surprise, all the "new" games seem to be just branding exercises in bringing TV shows to the family table...and charging 40 bucks for them. bah.

so, Scrabble and Trouble and checkers it will have to be for O...and i plan to get plenty of cheating in before he's old enough to catch me.

a girl's gotta win sometime. :)

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

Every other Friday night (the nights that they are not at their dad's) are family game night around here...

we listen to Disco music and play all the games that we can play until we're all too tired to play...

we have the video game systems, and computers, oh my, but we LOVE LOVE LOVE to play board games... i used to win all the time, but now... not so much... they are learning to read the rules for themselves instead of depending on mom to tell them how to play! :)

11:59 AM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

Another reason why I wish we were closer: we're total gameheads here too. I'd kick your ass at backgammon, Scrabble and Yahtzee! Guaranteed.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I'm thinking of teaching my almost-two year old to play Trivial Pursuit. At least then I'll have at least one person that I'll be able to beat.

12:12 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

I would so love to play scrabble with you.

1:24 PM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

Fric and Frac are so lucky to have parents like you and Boo. They will never forget the fun they had with their family (even when they're older and too cool for scrabble)

The funny thing about Scrabble - it regains its appeal again after about the age of 25. So even if they temporarily eschew it, Fric and Frac will return to it for sure! They can play with their kids, and the kids' granny can join in too (um, that'll be you T! But don't worry, we'll probably be grannies together!)

3:34 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

Aaaaah, yes. The family game night is a fav at our house too -- but due to my cheating ways, I am often resigned to doing the dishes while they sink each other's battleships!

Carrie

3:37 PM  
Blogger My float said...

I think it's time to invite the kids to bring home their "crush" of the day to play a board game with the family.

Then you'll be able to cheat to your heart's content.

3:52 PM  
Blogger MamaMichelsBabies said...

Ohhhh... Jenga is an all time fav game around here, as well as backgammon (thanks mamatulip for the spelling hehe) and card games. Nothing beats a good game of war into the wee hours of the morning when most normal people are sleeping! We haven't had the time to play any recently, but I think you may have started something.

4:27 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

We play Monopoly and my son is the Slum Lord. He gets that from his father. Drives me nuts.

I refuse to play twister...I gotta draw the line somewhere. Seeing all this *my body* sprawled out on the floor, well, let's just say it ain't pretty.

6:43 PM  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

I bet you're great at Scrabble. I love that game, so it was pretty cool when my son received a Junior Scrabble game for his birthday this year. Gotta start 'em early. ;^)

6:57 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Ah...those memories of cheating at Chutes and Ladders...(Liv would get up to get a drink and I would move her piece AHEAD of me just to end the torture of this game which went on forever).

I even "lost" that game several times but she figured out that I was putting it on top of the fridge and the gig was up.

We now are into crazy eights. So far, I am not inclined to cheat.....

We did play Scrabble a few times and she amazed me by using the word zithroscope. Nice to know that the fortune I am spending for her schooling is worth it...

7:09 PM  
Blogger LSM said...

I came late to the joys of family game playing, coming from a family that didn't indulge. But I do believe that children have been won and lost over games of Trivial Pursuit in my husband's extended family. If you don't have Blokus, it's definitely worth buying. It's a great family game that's challenging and fun for everyone.

7:28 PM  
Blogger eeMOMS.com blapher said...

It's great that you and your children play board games together. What a way to bond! My hubby and I play board games with our friends and family and it's always so much fun. We can't wait to introduce board games to our own children....someday!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Wow, someone else who loves board games! Our kids have more than their fair share of electronic gadgets, but we all love backgammon, chess, uno, chinese checkers, scrabble, etc, etc. And they will sit for hours working on a puzzle with me. I love it!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Denice said...

I grew up in a board game family too. When my two sisters and I were quite young, my Dad used to warn us: "watch out -- your Mom cheats!" Since we were little and innocent, we never believed him -- our mom would never cheat! But as we grew up, we started catching her. Ahh, those were the days…

8:29 PM  
Blogger jen said...

this is really terrific. you already know all you are giving them by having this time together in this fashion, so i don't need to point that out, (ok, whatever) but wow...really.

just think about it.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I love scrabble so much that I play against the computer...he always wins of course and now when I log in he greets me with these friendly words..."Hello dummy."

11:08 PM  
Blogger sillychick said...

See? You are a good parent! We buy the board games but are too lazy to actually play them.

Friday night games, here I come!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I hate to mention this, because I know you are a very young spring chicken: You can look forward to bestowing the love of games on your grandchildren. Now, that means you will need cooperative and much older children, but it will give you something to look forward to.

My grandmother forced us to play games with her all the time. In return she taught all of us how to play Jacks are Better, Poker and Blackjack. Downside, she never let us keep the money. Damn, we had fun, though. And I think she cured us of gambling. I mean why would you have to go to the Casino when you can have chocolate milk and frozen oreos at grandma's.

10:07 AM  
Blogger slouching mom said...

I am so with you on this! We are a board-game family, too.

And there is one relatively new game that I must recommend -- we are LOVING it. It's called Labryinth, and it's made by Ravensburger. It's great fun, not easy, very right-brained. Our boys are better at it than we are.

Yahtzee, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Stratego are all favorites around these parts.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Cherann said...

Aah. I miss board games. My daughter doesn't have a love of them yet. I can't even do chutes and ladders with her... She cheats too much and I find it frustrating.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Monopoly Free Download Game said...

I still play Cluedo, Risk and Monopoly!

8:55 AM  
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12:53 AM  

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