Dungeons & Daddy

Contemplating the Small World board
Contemplating the Small World board

My family on my mom’s side is very into games. These are the people who will tell stories about their Scrabble victories from 25 years ago. I like a good game night as much as the next person, but I’ve never been into games in the way that much of my family is. And then, I married into another game family, and my husband is basically the high priest of the game cult on that side.


The children, it seems, have inherited the game gene, hard core. Even though Petra is only three, she can school every last one of us at Enchanted Forest. Silas has actual strategy when he plays games like Catan Junior. And, even though they are still little, JC has introduced them to Hero Quest, and they *get it*. It’s listed as ages 10 to adult, but they don’t care.

At Christmas, we let Silas stay up way past his bedtime playing Pandemic and Munchkin with his uncles. He still talks about this as one of the best things about his Christmas.

I get stressed out playing games with them. They are so wiggly. They ask every five seconds if it’s their turn. Petra sometimes decides she doesn’t want to play, and she walks off with her pieces (because, again, she’s three). I love lots of other kinds of playing with them. I like helping them with dress up, and I love doing art projects or going for walks or reading with them. But games? I just… can’t. Most of the games we have are pretty educational, and well, I’m supposed to be homeschooling them, so I swallow my rising panic attack and stick it out through a few rounds of War or Robot Turtles or Forbidden Island. But I don’t enjoy it, and I’m sure they can tell.

Petra had an accident and refused to put on PJs because it wasn't quite bedtime yet. No one thought my "strip D&D" jokes were funny, because "We're playing SMALL WORLD, Mama, not D&D!" Well, I still think I'm hilarious, anyway.
Petra had an accident and refused to put on PJs because it wasn’t quite bedtime yet. No one thought my “strip D&D” jokes were funny, because “We’re playing SMALL WORLD, Mama, not D&D!” Well, I still think I’m hilarious, anyway.

This is their new incentive for not being total slobs: If they clean up before JC gets home from work, he’ll play a game with them. He is as disappointed as they are if they don’t do a good job cleaning up. He’s been waiting for years for them to be big enough to play games well, and now that the moment has arrived, he’s beyond excited. Although I have basically zero interest in participating, I love listening to them playing together. They are all overjoyed that this is now an option for how to spend their time together, and I’m sure they feel very grown up. It’s so fun to see.


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