And The Rest of the Days….

It goes a little something like this:

I was dared to take this picture. It seems I'm easily swayed.

I was dared to take this picture. It seems I’m easily swayed.

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Parenting License……REVOKED!

I write to you from the comforts of my own home after a lovely family trip to London.  This was not a vacation as we took the children.  We had a great time.  Except on last night’s flight home.

Now, lately there has been banter on the internets about banning kids from things like airplanes, restaurants, and upscale hair salons.  (The last one is my idea.  How can I get my hair did and get a little tipsy with little ones about?)   I am against banning the wee ones except for the aforementioned drinking opportunity that my husband doesn’t know about.  There are kids in the world.  You may not like them, but you are bound to run into one or two.  Just like you are bound to stand next to the talkingest person ever at the post office when you really just want to stare into space and not think for the 5 minutes you have alone.  Unless you go hermit, you will interact with annoying people.  Even annoying crying babies.

This is my stance, and I’m strong in it.  So, I need a solution that deals with children on planes who are beyond annoying.  Children who make you wonder if you could talk the whole plane into a murder and cover-up.

As I mentioned, I was in a good mood going into the flight even though it didn’t leave until 8:30pm and arrive in Poland at 11:30pm.  I knew we had the next day off from work and school and that the boys would probably sleep on the plane a bit.

Waiting in line to board, we saw several other families with kids, including a family with two little boys.  The boys looked to be about 18 months and 3 or 4.  I should have been cautious as I saw the father actively encouraging them to wrestle and generally run amok.  I assumed he was wearing them out before the flight.

Ha! Ha, I say!

It turns out that dad was actually just an idiot.  And his wife is clueless.  And the grandmother must be senile.

The minute we were trapped, the two boys screamed wild little-boy-playing screams.  With abandon.  Without reprimanding or redirection from the parents.  But that was nothing compared with what happened after the seat belt sign was turned off.  These boys were literally taken from their seats and placed in the aisle.  Alone.  For the whole rest of the flight.

They ran.  They crawled and barked like dogs.  They hopped like bunnies.  They swung from seat to seat using the armrests previously being used to you know, rest.  They screamed loudly into their pretend cell phones which had obviously been filled with crack-laced candy an hour earlier.  They had to be moved by the flight attendants during beverage service.

I could not believe what was happening.  And, I could not believe no one said anything.  No one–not the flight attendants, not the 80 other passengers sighing and rolling their eyes with pain.  And not me either.  My excuse?  Um, I don’t speak Polish enough to say something politely.  I also don’t know what the customs are here for parental advice-giving.  What I did do was silently seethe.  That helped a ton.

Maybe I'll try this next time.

I decided that the best I could hope for was a Polish CPS worker meeting the family at the gate to take away their parenting licenses.  I wish these were issued in order to have kids in the US.  Sadly, they don’t issue those in Poland either.  Something to consider?

This Game Sucks

Welcome to a post where I lose all hope of corporate sponsorship by the makers of Uno.

I must start by telling you that Uno was and is one of may favorite games.  It is a huge part of family memories from my childhood.  (Along with Mr. Mouth.  I miss him.  He doesn’t write.  He doesn’t call. I don’t see him anywhere!) Our family games of Uno were fun and, to be honest, competitive as hell.  It’s the game I first learned that it’s as much fun to screw over a fellow player as it is to win it all.

So, when I saw this game:

I knew we had to have it.  It practically jumped itself into my cart.  Also, angels sang.  And the fairy dust rained down upon me it seems.

I was excited because I had been eagerly awaiting the age where I could play games with my twins.  I love playing games!  I knew it would be rough though.  The art of game play is not perfected overnight–not for stubborn, highly-distractable preschoolers..  Plus, in order to teach your kids to play board and card games as blood sports, you have to kind of teach them to be assholes.  (I am going to have to do that part without their daddy noticing.)

The object of Uno Moo! is to be the first one to get rid of all your cute little farm animals and of course to yell “Uno!” when you are down to one animal.  Each animal has a color and a face that tells you what animal it is.  So, just like real Uno, you can match the color or, in this case, the face.  There is a skunk that is a draw 2 ‘card’ and a farmer piece that acts as a wild ‘card’.

Hello Mr. Skunk. I will knock you back into that barn now.

Here’s where the suck part comes in.  First, everyone starts with 5 animals.  Great.  But, to pick your five animals you just reach into the open barn.  Like this:

Um, can't I just pick whatever animals I want?

As you can see, there is not much randomness built in.  My boys like to grab one of every color.  (Clearly they have not learned how to cheat yet.) I can get them to close their eyes and pick, but I can’t really keep them from seeing what everyone else picks unless I make each kid pick in a room by themselves.

So, let’s just say I was super committed to the integrity of picking blindly and did in fact make my kids exit the room so that one person picks at a time?  Well, then you run into the next item of suck:

Peek-a-boo fellow player's animals. I see you!

You ‘hide’ your animals behind these adorable little hay stacks.  Hay stacks that are just about 2 centimeters taller than the animals.  My kids are only 3 and a half, but even they can see over them.  This goes back to effectively screwing over the other players.  Let’s just say I have a wild, and I want it to benefit only me and possibly send a fellow player to the bottom of the heap in a heartbeat?  Well, how much easier can it be?  I just pick a color they don’t have because I can see them all.

Needless to say, this game is not fun.  It really isn’t a game.  It’s more like take your turn popping animals into the barn.  We play basic rules.  (The skunk is not draw 2, and you do not have to say Uno, because, duh, we can see when you only have one animal left.)  Jack has finally learned that you have to match the animal sitting on the barn door instead of just pushing in the animal of your choosing.  I do make them draw if they don’t have the right animal to play.  Which calls back into play the drawing from an open container issue.  Again, closing their eyes is the best we can do.  But THEN we get another sucky thing:

A little crowded in there.

The animal that was just pushed into the barn?  Yeah, it’s on top now.  So, it almost always gets picked.  Then we have a vicious cycle of drawing and not ending the damn game.

This game is okay for now, but I am super disappointed.  It is not at all a vehicle for learning cutthroat gaming.  And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.