My kids love playing hide and seek.
It’ll keep them busy for hours, and its one of those games that they play where they all actually get along. They don’t get bored hiding in the same old spots, and there’s always some glorious sense of adventure for the ones that are doing the seeking. There was even this one time they got confused and all hid. They each stayed hiding in their respective little spots for about half an hour, until we lured them out of hiding by yelling, “WHO WANTS ICE CREAM!?” It was actually a pretty peaceful and quiet half hour.
Peaceful and quiet. Hmmm…
My three little ones, Tommy (7), Emma Grace (5), and Raylan (3) have the wonderful ability to turn playtime into an operation as loud, explosive, and non-productive as a Bush-era invasion of a Middle Eastern country that allegedly had weapons of mass destruction that were never actually found.
Sorry. That was just too easy.
Anyway, when my kids play, they tend to tear shit up as loudly and viciously as a category 4 hurricane blowing through an island shanty town.
Simply put, they fa-huck shit up.
The bad thing for my wife and I about this, is that this playtime is a continuous activity all day long. All. Day, Long. We never get a break. There’s always some sort of yelling, complaining, things crashing down, small explosions, etc…going on while the kids are up. Which between all of them, encompasses the hours of 7:00 AM through midnight. No breaks. Which means:
* No pleasant, uninterrupted phone conversations
* No chance to watch a TV show without having the volume turned up to a kajillion
* No concentrating (I once proofread a blog after they all finally crashed for the night and saw I had a whole paragraph of nothing but the letter “k”)
* No special Daddy and Mommy time. Although, with three kids, all two years apart, we try to stay away from each other as much as possible anyway, so that doesn’t happen again.
You get what I’m saying. All parents go through this. The difference for us though, is that we don’t really have family close by that are able to watch the kids, and my wife tends to think that everybody else has serial killer tendencies, which makes all potential babysitters unfit to watch the kids, so yeah…we never get a break. There was actually one time all three fell asleep in the car on the way home from the store, and we purposely drove around till we almost ran out of gas, so we could enjoy the silence without waking the little demons up to go inside.
This is why the lightbulb went off when we noticed how quiet the little creeps got when they played hide and seek.
We had discovered the magic wormhole to an afternoon of peaceful living.
My wife and I were like newlyweds planning our honeymoon! She was gonna lay down on the couch and catch up on her favorite episodes of Maury (She’s a class act, my wife.) and I was planning on getting some writing done. We even planned to spend some time together in the pool acting out scenes from Titanic (she was gonna float on a raft and I was gonna be all like “Rose! Scoot your big ass over before I sink to the bottom of this pool, I mean ocean!”). We love our kids, but were so thrilled to have those little maniacs out of our hair for a bit!
We put our brilliant plan into action on a Saturday afternoon. We told the kids that it was gonna be the world’s biggest and most spectacular game of hide and seek ever. Emma especially loves the term “spectacular” and does a little happy dance every time she hears it. The two boys have no clue what the hell “spectacular” means, but when they see her reaction, they figure its gotta be pretty good, as Emma’s not the most “girly-girl” ever, and happy dances don’t happen often.
We make them little lunches to take with them to their hiding spots, give them their little gaming tablets to keep them busy while they hide, and tell them that the winner who stays hidden the longest gets a $20 prize. When Raylan asked what $20 is, we simply told him it would buy 2 million candy bars. That’s like winning the lottery to a three year old. Tommy, who thinks he’s the smartest person in the world, asks who’s gonna be doing the seeking, and we tell him that we’ll be the ones looking. Just as soon as we count to 703,992,014. The smartest person in the world seemed satisfied that that would allow them ample time to find the perfect hiding spot.
And off they went.
Fast forward 3 ½ minutes…
The first indication something had gone horribly amiss, was the high pitched, ear shattering squeal that came from under Tommy’s bed. He had just gotten into his hiding spot and dug into his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, when a daddy long legs spider decided it wanted to hang out with him…or on him is more like it. Needless to say, the smartest person in the world also happens to be scared shitless of all sorts of creepy crawly things, daddy long legs included. My wife pulled him out from under the bed by his foot, and found him with his eyes bugged out, face half covered in peanut butter and jelly sandwich, yelling “Spider! Big Spider! Face! Face! FACE!” Apparently, the spider had crawled onto his cheek and he tried to blot it from existence with his PB and J.
At almost precisely the same time, as if something couldn’t just happen to one of them, we heard a crash from the closet, along with the muffled sound of my precious Emma’s voice saying, “STOOPIT, STOOPIT, STOOPIT, ARGHHHH!!!!!!!” followed by a much sweeter sounding, “Daddeeee?” I opened the closet door, Emma’s go to hiding place, and saw what looked like a Smurf exploded on the wall, along with a pile of jackets with what appeared to be curly blonde hair, on the floor. After a brief, but thorough investigation into the matter, I found out that my dear little princess settled into her hiding place, got a Blue Berry Bonanza juice box, and immediately began to do her “spectacular” happy dance. Now, anyone with the tiniest shred of common sense will tell you that a closet is probably not the most ideal place to be doing any kind of dance, let alone a happy dance, but the fact of the matter is, Emma doesn’t really give a flying fuckstocking’s worth of anything when it comes to common sense. Hence, the reason she was doing a happy dance in the closet while trying to open a juice box. So anyway, what happened was that while she was spinning around happy dancing, she got caught up in the arm of one of the jackets hanging there, and tore the whole jacket hangy pole (sorry, don’t know the technical term) with all the other jackets, down on top of her. While this was going on, she freaked just a bit, and squeezed the juice box with some sort of supernatural little kid strength, and it exploded, spraying the closet wall in a blast of blue. Berry. Bonanza.
I was digging Emma out of the mountain of cold weather wear, when my wife walked by, half dragging Tommy to the bathroom to hose the PB and J off his face, when he got a look at Emma. And pointed and laughed.
In one of those Matrix-like slow motion moves, Emma came flying out from under the rest of the jackets and football tackled Tommy, knocking my wife over with them. This was actually pretty funny, but having met my wife before, I knew it was probably in my best interest to politely refrain from laughing my ass off. Especially if I didn’t particularly want her foot buried up said ass.
About an hour or so later, we finally got Tommy and Emma all cleaned up, and back to the usual wrecking of the house and pounding on each other. No Maury. No writing. No Titanic. No peace and no quiet. But we did wind up having a great laugh over the whole thing. We may not have the perfect life, or get a lot of alone time, but we’ve got our own adventure. And It’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world.
The moral of the story?
THERE IS NO FUCKING MORAL! WE TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT RAYLAN!
Yep. We suck. The whole time this was going on. The whole time it took for us to get everybody and everything cleaned up. The whole time we sat there and laughed about things. The whole time that little shit, Raylan was hiding out on the side of our bed. In our defense, he was being unnaturally quiet. And we did give him the $20 bucks because shit, he won the hide and seek contest.
And wouldn’t you know it, that little fucker bought $20 worth of candy bars.