I was discussing childhood games with a gal at work the other night. At some point during the discussion, I realised that the games my parents played with Bro and I are not exactly what the child-rearing experts (do any of them actually have kids?) would call "games".
I am not complaining at all. I think I had a wonderful childhood, and am immensely grateful that I had the amazing parents that I did. It was actually kind of reassuring. See, I have been beating myself up for not being the kind of person who is comfortable getting down on the floor with the Sprouts and playing tea party or kicking a ball around in the backyard. I can do it for a little while, and not every day, but for the most part "play" is not something I am good at.
Just for fun, I thought I would share some of the "games" my folks played with Bro and I. Let's see.... there was:
~ Let's-Go-Weed-The-Garden (played on our hands and knees in the garden)
~ The Berry Picking Game (played in the summer berry brambles with ice cream buckets)
~ Who-Can-Spot-The-Most-Deer-Sign (played while Dad was scouting for a good place to put his deer stand, usually during a berry picking mission)
~ What-Is-That-Plant/Animal/Mineral (usually played with our favorite toy - a Reader's Digest Field Guide)
~ Let's-Hold-Down-The-Board-Dad-Is-Cutting (played while Dad worked on his many home improvement projects)
~ Let's-Hold-The-Board-Dad-Is-Nailing-Perfectly-Still (another home improvement game)
~ Find-The-Fallen-Nail (played with a gigantic industrial magnet on a shoe string during Dad's home improvement projects)
~ Singing-In-The-Woods (a fun game played while berry picking when bears were sharing the woods with us)
~ Pile-Up-Snow-For-A-Snow-Fort (conveniently, the snow we always moved was from the driveway)
~ Pack-Mule (this super-fun game was played whenever Dad needed things like his hammer or tape measure brought to him)
~ Pick-Up-Sticks (contrary to popular belief, this game is played outside in the yard, right before Dad mows the lawn)
~ Look-It-Up (best played with a good encyclopedia or dictionary and a lot of questions)
Now, if an "expert" saw this list they might think that Bro and I had a terrible childhood. The thing is, we didn't. Our childhood was bright and fun and carefree. Believe it or not, these activities are fun! Especially if you are 6 years old with boundless energy and more questions than any parent can answer. To soothe those "experts", we did spend a lot of days running in the woods by ourselves, building forts with nails stolen from Dad's stash, sharpening wooden "arrows" on the concrete front steps (to play Cowboys and Indians, of course! And, in our world, the Natives always beat the wimpy white man...), and playing war with spiny wild cucumbers. Oh, wait, that isn't safe play, either? Oh, well...
I have definitely kept up some of these games with my own Sprouts. Little Sprout absolutely loves Let's-Go-Weed-The-Garden, and Big Sprout is an absolute whiz at Find-The-Fallen-Nail.
I wonder what they will think when they look back as adults at the "games" I played with them....