Sometimes, I think that providing educational experiences for your children is overrated. OK, I don't really mean that. But, seriously, playing a board game with a 2-year-old who thinks she 'knows it all' is kind of like being forced to sit through a condescension-filled lecture from a stuffy professor. Who knew a 2-year-olds could be patronizing?
It all starts with a sweet little question. "Mommy, can you play wif me"? How can I say no to that? "Sure, sweetie, what would you like to do", I ask. Sassy says, "Let's play Chutes and Laddews. Can we, Mommy"? After I concede, Sassy begins to "set up" the board. Not there is really much set-up involved, rather, a clear understanding that only Sassy may touch the pieces until she grants me permission to do so.
Now, there are 4 playing pieces- 2 boys and 2 girls. Sassy is, of course, the little blond girl. Mommy is always relegated to be one of the little boy pieces. Once, I asked, "Can Mommy be the other girl"? "No, Mommy," says Sassy, "You a boy"! OK, then. Once the game begins, Sassy goes first. No problems here. I try to get her to practice counting the spaces, but I am not a board game Nazi. She is two, after all. It's supposed to be fun. Well, for her at least.
Once it is 'my turn', Sassy spins for me. I tried to spin once for myself, and will never go there again for fear of losing a finger or two. It's funny, too. Mommy always magically lands on chutes, while Sassy seems to hit every ladder to aid in her ascension. Weird.
The funniest part is that each chute and ladder has a little illustration depicting the reason for the climb or fall. Each has to do with a behavior. For instance, if you help a cat out of a tree, you get to go up a ladder. If you break a dish, down a chute you go. I made the mistake of explaining this to Sassy once. Now, whenever I land on a chute, it's a lecture from little missy. "You were naughty, Mommy. You ate a cookie and you isn't supposed to." Now, if that doesn't stir-up deep-rooted emotional issues, I don't know what does.
So, Sassy, I do it because I love you. Yes, I will play Chutes & Ladders with you... for the 38th time today. Yes, I will smile and (try) to enjoy myself. I always remind myself that, all too soon, you will not want to play board games with me.. you will think it's lame and have way better things to do. I'd better bask in the glory of these (painstakingly humbling) moments while I still can.