My 5 Rules for Eyes-Closed Tag

We planned to go skatingtobogganing (American translation: sledding) and play some shinny (street hockey) with the neighbours. But what do you do when it’s too cold outside even for hearty Canadians like ourselves? After multiple races on the Wii, a game of “Apples to Apples” that got a little too physical, and some heated debates about various pronunciation of words, we moved things to the basement. I never know how these games get started, but I was quickly roped into playing another game of “Eyes-Closed Tag”.

To play this extremely safe game, one person is It and closes his/her eyes while attempting to find other people in a sectioned-off area of the basement. If you are tagged, you are then It. Pretty simple, but we needed a few ground rules.

My Five Rules for Eyes-Closed Tag

1. Protective gear is not mandatory, but do move slowly to avoid serious injury (this applies primarily to the one who is It).

Give yourself wide-bearth.
Give yourself wide-bearth.

2. You can’t hide directly behind someone. Ok, you can, but not behind me. I refuse to be a human shield.

3.  Throwing small toys to create a diversion is acceptable and at times encouraged, but try to avoid hitting fellow players.

Nylon pants are noisy - choose your clothing wisely
Nylon pants are noisy – choose your clothing wisely

4. No peeking.

5. No, really – no peeking.

A few extra bits of advice….

According to BH, if you don’t cheat and really keep your eyes closed then “your other senses will be even stronger” (I think he has watched “Daredevil” too many times). The truth is, we all know when you don’t – subtlety is not your strong suit. Plus, only peekers completely avoid bumping into things for the entire game – you are not that skilled.

It’s okay if you prefer to watch, but if you’re going to give hints to your brother keep in mind that “he’s right there. Right there. RIGHT. THERE.” while frantically pointing, really tells nothing (please see Rule #5). Also, consider learning your Left and Right.


Your turn – what questionable games did you devise as a kid? Was a helmet required?

My Five Rules: Playtime

I never thought I’d have to lay down these ground rules for playtime.

1. Yes, it counts as playing “Perfection” even if they don’t set the timer. Because the littles are two and four, that’s why.


2. You can only make a Brother Sandwich if all parties agree. Beforehand.

Three layers - a new record!
Three layers – a new record!

3. We might live in Canada, but you can’t toboggan in the summer. No, really. Otherwise someone will get hurt – wait, he just did.

This should work, pull harder.
This should work, pull harder.

4. Cigarette butts you find at the ball diamond are not acceptable cargo for your trucks and diggers. No.

Load 'em up, brother!
Load ’em up, brother!

5. Brothers who choose to fight and bicker despite several redirections and reminders will spend some quality time together on the “Get-Along Chair”. You’ve been warned.

How do you like them apples?
How do you like them apples?

Rules for playtime – got some? Want to share?

Playing “Terry Fox”

Today our second oldest and his two neighbour friends started playing a new game: Terry Fox.

One boy would run down the sidewalk with his foot rigged up in a skipping rope to simulate Terry’s prosthetic leg.

Resourceful and creative
Don’t pull too hard, we’re going for authenticity

When he got close to our house “Terry” would call out, “I’m in Thunder Bay, ohhhhhh” and do a slow collapse to the ground.

The second boy would act as his support crew and call for an ambulance. Now it was time for the third boy to jump into action. He zoomed down the street on the kettle car, frantically peddling in the interest of saving Terry. He would jump out and rush to the scene asking, “who are you?” at which point the main character groaned and replied, “Terry Fox.”

Together, they loaded “Terry” onto the makeshift ambulance and brought him back to home. Roles were swapped, and the game began again, with a new “Terry”.

Don't worry, we'll take good care of you, Terry.
Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of you, Terry.

At first I was little bit horrified. I stopped myself from interfering and decided to watch how it all played out and I’m glad I did.

These boys were acting out a piece of Canadian history. It is a story that is familiar to most of us, but they are experiencing and beginning to understand it for the first time. I chose not to say anything, but rather stood back and took it all in. However, I wondered about some of the liberties they took with their reenactment – I doubt Terry drove his own ambulance.

Terry Fox is a Canadian icon. He is a real life hero. I’m actually glad they were playacting someone who inspired and encouraged so many people with his Marathon of Hope. They weren’t mocking Mr. Fox, they were putting him up on a pedestal, among the ranks of Transformers, Superman, and Batman. This is what parents long for and I almost shut it down.

As we honour and commemorate Terry Fox this September with the run in his name, it was good to see things through the eyes of some six year olds. My oldest sister went through a very similar battle with cancer just after Terry passed away, but survived. She is a hero, too.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

-Terry Fox

Thank you, boys.

Thank you, Terry.

Musicals – Really?

Musicals have always baffled me. I enjoy them, but remain baffled.

Do the characters all agree ahead of time that singing is acceptable? Do they make a pact to keep a poker face when someone breaks into song? Where are the musicians? In musical world, do they do their own choreography? Who decides who gets to sing lead?

Nothing brought these questions more to mind than “Glee“. I watched the first season, most of the second and loved their versions of popular hits. But despite my enjoyment (and watching with a like-minded friend helped) it took a lot to suspend my disbelief. I mean, I do sing in real life – I come by that honestly (thanks, Dad) but it’s mostly a bar or two of song with altered lyrics (“Someone’s pretty whiny in the kitchen, someone’s pretty whiny I knooooooow” that kind of thing).

Recently I had a life-changing moment and musicals suddenly became completely plausible.

We were in the van and #2 son asked, “Why did God even MAKE spiders? They are the worst.” And without missing a beat I turned around and sang the entire first verse to a song from my childhood (teachers, take note, singing sticks with you, I learned this song more than thirty years ago).

Tiny little spider swinging from a vine

Looking for a place to tie your line

Yes, both volumes can still be found at my parents' house.
Yes, both volumes can still be found at my parents’ house.

Making frilly webs wherever you may go

Oh, my busy friend, who made you so?

God the Father don’t you see?

Put together all of me

He made fox and fish and fowl

Frogs that jump and snakes that crawl

He made all.

The boys looked back at me with mouths slightly slack, shrugged, and went on to the next topic. JUST LIKE IN MUSICALS.

Haven’t made my case yet? Another example.

The boys were playing with a neighbour friend for a large portion of the day. Things were going really well – everyone was getting along, lots of giggles, a very fun afternoon. #2 Son asked if they could play inside for a while. The toddler was napping and it was so nice outside it seemed a shame to go indoors, so I replied, “no, we’re going to stay outside.” He asked me why not and again I burst into song:

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

A beautiful day in the neighbourhood

We’re staying outside

We’re playing outside

We’re going to say outsiiiiiide

(tune: Mr. Rogers theme song)

They shrugged and went off to ride bikes. A few minutes later he asked again (that kid is persistent) and I began my song. I had just finished the first bar and his friend said, “oh, there she goes again.”

Ok, so not exactly like a real musical, but it could happen, it COULD.