Instituting game time
Bear lays on the floor, feet over his head and complains there's nothing to do. I stop cooing over the baby long enough to ask if he'd like me to find something. He takes that as his cue to leave, knowing chores will follow. They never have liked my cure for afternoon boredom.

Within two minutes, a fight has broken out in the playroom. There is much shouting and screaming about what I do not know. To be honest, I don't really care. Bear is bored and he has decided to pursue one of his favorite pastimes: annoying his sister.

It occurs to me to get out a game. That we really should do that sort of thing more often. Sitting around the table, enjoying each other's company, building memories. Sounds like such a pleasant family type thing to do. In fact, I begin to wonder why I don't do that more often. Why it isn't a regular part of our day or at least our week.

So I go to the game closet, which is a shelf at the top of the clothes closet. The children aren't allowed in there because they stand on top of the rods and bring down a whole closet of clothing. I can't reach up there, and need the stepladder.

PROBLEM NUMBER ONE: Games are not easily accessible.

Then I take a look at the games.

Candy Land

Its only redeeming feature is the giggle of the pre-reading toddler you are playing with. Which is well worth the time playing when you don't have a toddler swiping the pieces. And the fight breaking out in the playroom over who knows what amongst children who aren't the least bit interested in navigating their way through the gum drop forest.

Her knock-knock jokes are just as enjoyable and don't require as much attention.

Chutes and Ladders

You have got to be kidding me. This game has to have been invented by some evil genius desiring to zap the life out of parents everywhere. About half way through, I am cheering every ladder, sobbing over every chute, no matter who it is who is climbing or sliding. Victory means "game over" and that is my reward, regardless of whose little plastic man makes it first. I have been known to cheat at this game, helping young children who cannot count somehow miss every chute on their ascent.

Hilarious Headlines

This is actually a pretty good game. But Mouse is really just getting old enough to play it (never mind the age range on the box). Still, we have a problem with games involving mom and one child. Not much of a family game, and leaves the others with too little supervision and too much jealousy. And it takes too long. Long is ok when it brings us all together, but this game does not do that.

Most of the game would be spent trying to chase down whoever swiped the cards last. Not fun.

Ripley's Believe it Or Not

Eeeeh...same issue. "Family" games cannot entail much reading when only two of the five people playing can read.

Connect Four

A classic in game closets everywhere. Even ones you can't reach. A good Connect Four tournament can bring almost any family through a rainy day. It's just that, well, there is a limit to how much I can play. And my kids aren't good enough at it yet for me to have to actually try to win in order to win. A nice game among other nice games. Not so much when it is the only game you really sort of enjoy.

PROBLEM NUMBER TWO: I don't really like any of our games.

So a couple of weeks ago we were at Goodwill and I was pleasantly surprised to find a game of Pictionary, Junior in pretty good condition. It seemed to have all the pieces so I bought it, brought it home, stuck it in our game closet and forgot all about it.

That goes back to PROBLEM NUMBER ONE.

So while it is sitting, forgotten in a game closet, we go to Goodwill again. This time I find Cadoo and am pleasantly surprised to find it in pretty good condition. It seemed to have all the pieces, so I bought it, brought it home and left it on the table.

After dinner, we played it. We giggled and drew and laughed and ran about the house and acted things out and generally enjoyed ourselves. All of us. Together.

I was right, way back when, when I thought we should do this more often.

I think next we'll try Pictionary, Junior. Maybe I should get it out and leave it on the table before I forget.