I think you can tell a lot about a kid by playing simple kids games with them. ‘Tag, You’re It’, ‘Hide N Seek’, ‘Toss the Midget’. Oh…sorry. That last one is a drinking game at Irish pubs. Anyways, you can quickly pick up on a child’s character traits by observing their behavior during playtime, and it’s quite apparent both my kids possess a little sense of entitlement. For the life of me I can’t figure out from where they get it!
Let’s start with Natalie. She’s very structured and rules oriented. As I’ve mentioned before, that is GREAT for me while she is a kid. I know that I can tell her something and she’s going to obey. She won’t deviate from the rules because as creative and artistic as she is, she doesn’t quite think outside the box just yet. She’ll probably make a heck of an accountant one day. That or contract lawyer. Unfortunately, she tends to let the rules bog her down, and the minute another kid violates the rules (i.e. Daniel), it’s the end of the world as we know it.
Speaking of “the rules don’t apply to me”, Daniel is creatively mischievous. He is always finding ways to get around the limitations that are the rules. He challenges everything. He’s worse than Jon Gruden with the instant replay flag. Two minutes into a game of tag, he starts with his sense of creative compliance. He’ll make up a base just so he doesn’t get tagged. He’ll claim he tagged me before I got a chance to touch base, even though base is the bedroom door and I’ve been leaning on it for five minutes. My favorite is, “Daddy, I got you a little bit on your shirt.” “Dude…….I’m not wearing a shirt!”
I feel very blessed that I have the opportunities that I do with my kids. And as much as playing games with them affords me the chance to be a kid again, it does come with the occasional cost. Not to mention the constant reminder of me being out of shape, I have to deal with stuff like running into corners as I am being chased, slipping on the tile because I forget that I am wearing socks, and the occasional tumble on the carpet with the resulting rug burn.
But the physical aches and pains are so worth it given the emotional rewards I receive. I never really thought about it until recently, but playing with my kids is more than just them and me bonding. It’s more than just me spending quality time with my children. Playing with my kids provides me the opportunity to learn more about them. What makes them tick and what sets them off. It enables me to get a better feel for who they are and how they think. And hopefully, playtime experiences will allow me to be a better parent to them as I attempt to apply my ‘insider information’ to future decisions that involve my children.
For my kids it’s all just fun and games. For me, however, it will always be so much more than that.