As a family, we love to occasionally sit and play old-fashioned board games. It’s fun to actually communicate with our voices instead of texting each other. Yet, in the time of mobile devices, kids’ attention spans are a lesson in patience. It’s family game night, get a clue!
Usually, we start off ok. Everyone picks their spots and whatever supplies they need. However, somewhere, sometime, somehow things just start to unravel. Is it too much sugar? Is it something in the water? Is it pop and Happy Meals?
One day, we played a game of Yahtzee. It’s a fun game that teaches deductive reasoning, addition, and acceptance that things don’t always go your way in a game of chance. These are good lessons for any child, but a great way for our Autistic C to learn that sometimes you just can’t win. That was the plan anyway.
As it turns out, C rolled perfectly, got a Yahtzee and won the game. While doing his magic, he somehow turned his game sheet into an origami creation. Is it a bird or a plane? Then, he lost his sheet somewhere resulting in a ‘pause the game’ while we searched for the missing plane-bird-score sheet. Apparently, it just flew away.
Meanwhile, C rolled around doing some kind of weird chair push-up. You know the one where the child is sitting on the chair while his arms are pushing the floor; a maneuver of extreme skill and daring for any adult. Don’t get me started on the very exuberant dice shaking, because that’s just how he rolls. End Result is that C learned how to win with noise deafening chaos.
Another time, we pulled out Clue and settled around the living room coffee table. Within the first few rolls, our daughter K was upside down and we were playing against her feet. C was forgetting to check his game sheet to see what room he should be in, ending up randomly wandering the Clue world. Oddly, this mirrors real life.
As my husband desperately tried to reinforce the rules and keep things together, K started laughing hysterically kicking her legs in the air. C disappeared for an extended bathroom break with his iPod. Slowly, husband started to get frustrated. Where was I? Well, I focused on the game and won. Turns out C was the murderer with the candlestick in the ballroom. Relief flashed on faces as everyone dispersed to corners with iPads, PCs and ear buds. Moral of the game? Clue is a nerve killer.
What did I learn from family game night? Obviously, I am the only person in my house with any rational focus. Without me, my family would wander aimlessly in the void, lost and directionless in a cold, cold world. My life has purpose because I’ve got a clue. Pay attention because I’m a winner! Really, I am…I think.