Julie Lyles Carr: Bored Games

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bored Games

We love a good New Year's Eve party.
And we usually throw a good one.

But I gotta tell ya, having a set of toddling twins puts a crimp in my throw-a-party git-along.

For starters, the twins go to bed pretty early.

And party guests generally don't want to have to whisper.

And then there's the whole necessity of trying to pick up the house a bit before having people over...and not making them get a tetanus booster as a prerequisite to walking in my door.

So we decided to just party with the ten of us.

We hit Costco and loaded up on all kinds of nutrition-bending appetizers and grabbed some movie rentals.

It was a winning recipe for ringing in the New Year.

But one thing was missing, one subtle experience for capping the evening.

And that's when Big Daddy, M himself, came through in a crunch.

M declared that....get ready for it...he would play board games with the family.

Let it soak.

That collective internet gasp you just heard were the family and friends who keep up with my little blog, all four of them, who know that M does.not.do.board.games.

Does not.

M declaring on his own, without me promising marital favors, to play board games is sort of like seeing Bigfoot...carrying a baby alien...holding Elvis's hand...at a Scientology meeting in a state of clear.

Which is a long way of saying it's a rarity.

So the kids were filled with eight kinds of glee that their father had volunteered to do the board game thing. It felt right, very Hallmark-card-esque, the fam gathered for a night of gaming.

Patriotic, even.

Now do understand, I do try to play games with the kids from time to time. But it usually comprises the older kids. And I try to make it games that don't require tiny little pieces or cards or dice or wheels or timers.

Which pretty much leaves us with Uno.

So to gather the whole crew up for a Pictionary match is absolutely exotic.

We feverishly gathered in the media/game room and chose our teams. Then we had to find sharpened pencils and scratch paper. Thirty minutes and two potty breaks later we were ready to go.

I never really thought the rules of Pictionary were all that difficult, but for some reason, several members of my family found it about as convoluted as the Talmud with a side of Kabala. We had to go over the rules several times, several. Which I frankly found a little frustrating. And made me rethink the whole homeschool thing. Which sort of distracted me for a bit.

But finally we got ready to embark on the first drawing.

And though it pains me to say it, I think several of the people I am related to do not have the gift of Pictionary.

For example...

We drew an 'All Play' card, the kind of card that requires both teams to try to guess the same word as each team's designated 'picturist' sketches the clues for the word. Two of the Octamom progeny got ready to draw.

And the sketched clue, on both their parts, was a vertical line.


A line.


And then each child drew another line right next to the first line.

And looked at all of us expectantly.

We threw out such brilliant guesses as 'line', 'two lines', 'lane' and 'pretzels'.

To no avail.

We received exaperated glances and eye-rolls from our picturists. And then they each drew two vertical lines far apart. With arrows pointing to and fro.


More guesses were bandied about, more eye-rolls were executed. The timer marched on, bleeding the last seconds from our opportunity.


And when the time ran out, we the guessers were verbally scolded with the answer, which apparently should have been obvious to us...

Which was 'skinny'.


New Year's Game Night lasted all of 14 minutes. Then we gave it up and watched 'Elf' and 'Horton Hears a Who', neither of which require much guessing.

Which was a good thing.

Do any of y'all know a good Pictionary homeschool curriculum? Because I have definitely identified an area of the children's education which could use some tweaking.

I have big plans for New Year's Eve 2009.

Raising up the next generation of Pictionary Savants,

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