At bath time last night, Sienna asked me to play a game with her. While her bathtub filled with water, she arranged a princess castle on one end of the bathtub and laid 5 small mermaid figures along the ledge of the tub. After selecting her mermaid, she asked me to pick one. Then, she explained the rules of a new game she and her friends made up at school called “Race to the End”:
“Okay, so you’ll ask me questions and if I get them right, then my mermaid moves closer to the castle. Then, I’ll ask you questions and your mermaid moves if you get them right. First one to the castle, wins.”
“What kind of questions?” I asked.
“Like what’s my favorite things… animal, food, color.”
At first I told her that I had a huge advantage because, as her mother, I’ve known her all her life. But, over a half an hour later, I’d learned a lot about my daughter. I was able to ask things about where I grew up, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and other fun facts. Sienna had to stick with lots of “What’s my favorite…” type questions since I know all the facts about her. I’ll just share some of the highlights from our inaugural game:
Early in the game she asked me, “What’s my favorite princess?”
“Ariel,” I answered, “That’s easy.”
“Nope. Snow White.”
“Since when?!” I retorted.
“She’s always been my favorite.” Sienna innocently replied.
I gave her a skeptical look and took my turn.
Later I asked, “What’s my favorite thing to do?”
Sienna’s response was, “I know, cuddling up on the couch watching a movie with your family with a fire in the fireplace and eating dinner.”
“Man, I was thinking of reading, but that’s true, I do love to do that,” I said.
“So, did I get that one?” Sienna asked, smiling sweetly.
Several more of these types of exchanges rounded out the game. Sienna knows her mother well enough to know that a cute or clever response would win me over and I’d give her the “point” even if it wasn’t the answer I had in mind. Then, she turned it around on me:
“Who’s my favorite friend?” she asked.
I smiled and said, “That’s so sweet, you little cheater.”
In the end, dozens of questions later, Sienna won. I’m challenging her to a rematch.
I’m so grateful that, after writing about throwing out my planner and staying in the moment, I was mindful to say yes to Sienna’s request to play a game. Spending this dedicated time with my daughter, learning about one another, was priceless. When I think about the way Dennis and I hope to raise our kids, I always come back to wanting them to feel loved and like they belong, first and foremost, in our family. Strengthening our bonds with them is simply the most precious and important use of our time.
So, if you’re looking for a game to play with your kids, give “Race to the End”. Apparently, it can be played with any time of game pieces and end place.
But, the preferred venue is obviously the ledge of a bathtub.