This is a busy season in my life. I'm working hard, speaking hard, and somehow trying to homeschool my girls through it.
On the professional front, I have a number of goals that I want to meet by Christmas, and I'm well on my way to it.
But I feel discombobulated. I've been managing to keep on track with my devotions with God, which is vital, but I've lost out on "fun" time with my girls. We spend a lot of time schooling together, and doing church together, and even looking after other kids together, but just doing fun things? Hasn't happened lately.
And I haven't knit anything in an age! And I'm starting to feel it.
So last night, when I actually had some time and we had my niece and nephew over, we got out the Carcassone game. And we played! It was wonderful.
For those of you who have never played this game, it's a fun one. It's really easy to explain the rules (you can do so in under 5 minutes), and the game itself usually takes 30-45 minutes, so it's not overly long. Ages 8 and up can play. But it was great to do, because with my niece and nephew it's hard to know what to do with them. Usually these cousins tend to go off and play with my youngest, but lately I've been noticing that the play isn't the best.
They often bicker and argue, and they're at that age (pre-teen) when imagination games don't work as well. So they often insult each other instead. Not a good thing.
But we could never get niece and nephew to just play board games with the kids. Now that we've all played one together, I think my kids will be able to convince them to play sometime, even if Keith and I aren't involved. In fact, this morning my niece was playing with Katie, and that's great. It's much better than the other things they've been doing lately. It's just hard when family members don't share all your values. These kids watch movies & TV shows I won't let my kids watch, and sometimes they tease my kids because of it. My kids don't mind, but it also doesn't make them overly enamoured to play with their cousins.
With board games, you have a safer environment. It's structured, and everyone can have fun. The conversation is often centred on the game, rather than on teasing or one-upmanship. So it's a more positive environment.
When the kids were little we started with games I didn't like, like Candyland. But we graduated to MasterMind, Apples to Apples, Carcassone, and Blokus, and those even adults can enjoy!
We really are a games family, but for months the games haven't left the cupboard. We've just been too busy. And I forgot how fun they were.
Tonight the four of us played The Settlers of Catan. Now that is entertaining! Even teenage boys enjoy it. You have to be about 8 or 9 to understand the rules, but after that everyone has a great time. I've even played it with all adults!
I don't know why we go through these seasons in our lives when we don't do the things we enjoy and that bring the family together, but sometimes we get so busy we ignore the fun. I think we're going to try to play board games at least once a week again. It really does bring the family back to the table.
And when you're playing games, it's easier for regular conversation to happen naturally. The kids tell you what they're thinking about while they're rearranging their cards, or while it's someone else's turn. You really get to know what's going on inside their heads. Sometimes, if you just try to talk to kids, they don't tell you things. But if the conversation is secondary to something else (like a board game), it often flows more freely.
So the games have come back! Now I just need to start knitting again...
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Labels: games, nesting, parenting