Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Can't you just read quietly?

The problem with playing with children is that it's so boring.

I know this only adds to the Interminable List of Reasons Why I am a Bad Mother, but it really can't be helped. Unless you are below the age of eight, or mental, children's games are dull. Except for Barbie, who can be dressed up like a crack whore and shot in a Fisher Price drive-by, that is, but that one makes Small Person cry so we don't play it any more. Yesterday evening heralded abject pleading from Madam for me to play with her, with an endless stream of suggestions that made me want to sell her to a passing gypsy* in order to get some peace. Hide and seek? Sorry, Mummy has a sore back. Twister? See hide and seek. Lego? Sorry, Mummy is crap at Lego. Aha, cries Small Person triumphantly! Hungry Hippos! You can put it on the footstool, Mummy, and then it won't hurt your back!


So there we were; Small Person quivering with excitement like a fat girl at a buffet, me smiling through gritted teeth and singing songs from the Sound of Music in my head to keep me in my Happy Place. Hungry Hippos, for the fortunate among you who are unfamiliar with it, is the shittest game this side of Put Your Hand In the Blender Until Everything Goes Red. Four plastic hippopopannuses, a squillion little plastic balls and a loud, ratchety noise that makes you want to rip your ears off and set fire to them. A game can last for anything from ten to thirty seconds (it isn't big on strategy), and therefore must be played over and over and over again until one or more participants flays themselves alive by way of a diversion.

Still, it passed the time until Arguing About Whether It's Bedtime Or Not.

* Obviously I would never do this. I love my daughter with every fibre of my being. Besides, I'd get more on eBay.


Blogger Mr McGuinness chimed in with...

Kids can be annoying can't they? When my children are acting up I drug them and lock them in the shed. By the time I get back from the pub they've usually calmed down.

05 April, 2006 12:59  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

There's only a year between me and my little sister.

My poor Mother.

When we were 3/4, she hired a babysitter every Saturday to take us Out Of The House, Miles Away, and Give Her Head Some Peace.

05 April, 2006 13:16  
Blogger belladona chimed in with...

I laughed very much while reading this. My little sisters used to torment me with Postman Pat videos and a particularly moronic Winnie the Pooh game. If I'd been sensible I would have "lost" the pieces to that.

05 April, 2006 13:55  
Anonymous Mr Angry chimed in with...

I find that Prozac can take the edge off.

And if it doesn't you could always try taking one yourself instead?

05 April, 2006 14:01  
Blogger No one Really chimed in with...

I actually spend an hour everynight when I get home from work with my Two year old boy.

Have you tried piling up all the furniture in the front room to make a Castle, and chasing her around it.

Or my personal favourite is getting all the matteresses (is that enough s's?) and putting them on the stairs to make a gaint slide, use all the cushions from the sofa to cushion the fall at the bottom, and then take turns sliding down.

However, the look from my wife when she see's any of my "games" makes me think that she would prefer I play "Hungry Hippos" (which we have).

05 April, 2006 14:03  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

Don't forget the timeless excuse of one of 'Mummy's Special Headaches'.

I have one today after staying up till one o' clock last night doing Mariah Carey on the karaoke. I have already cadged one forty minute sleep on the sofa as 'Mummy's Special Rest Time because of the Easter Holidays'!

05 April, 2006 14:27  
Blogger shiftclick chimed in with...

It is truly lovely to read about such tender moments between mum and child. Warms my heart, it does. :>

05 April, 2006 14:35  
Blogger Mr McGuinness chimed in with...

Yes of course. A full list of discounts are available on my other website:

05 April, 2006 14:42  
Anonymous pink chimed in with...


thought it was just me who hated playing with the kids ;)

i feel so much better about being a Bad Mother now.

05 April, 2006 14:49  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

What you want, see, is Pop up Pirates. Not only does it involve the element of surprise, but it also involves stabbing a pirate in a barrel, how good is that?
BTW, love the idea of a big mattress slide...

05 April, 2006 15:03  
Blogger claire chimed in with...

Surly, you sound like the Perfect Mother. Wish my mother had played that barbie game with me.

Must say that i love that Hand in the Blender line. Hysterical, you.

05 April, 2006 15:03  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

I cannot begin to tell you all just how pleased I was to be otherwise occupied playing football last night and only became aware of this horrifying incident earlier today on the way to work !

05 April, 2006 15:52  
Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

A genius post. The other thing about playing games with kids is that you are not allowed to win.

Fuck that for a game of soldiers. My little Dexter got beaten by me at a game of Snap the other day and got upset about it. He didn't even know the rules!

I sent him off to the Naughty Step. Along with his mother.

05 April, 2006 16:11  
Anonymous Arabella chimed in with...

About the only thing my mother couldn't threaten me with was to sell me to the gypsies: that would just have meant spending more time with Nana who told fortunes and Granddad who oiled the carousel. She did, however, warn me that I could be swapped for a bowl of goldfish at any time.
Oh, that was a very funny post! Glad you're back.

05 April, 2006 17:01  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

Well, it's marginally better than being made to play Kerplunk with a hangover. Really annoying anyway let alone having to stick all the sticks in the little holes for half an hour only for the game to be over in as little as 30secs to cries of 'again, again'. Never again more likely! Oh dear...we've lost our marbles all of a sudden and that's not the ones that are heading for underneath the sofa to be hoovered up later!

05 April, 2006 17:32  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

I pined away through my childhood for a game of Hungry Hippos and never got it. Then, much older, I got the chance to play it with my younger cousins. Hmm. It is a bit noisy and irritating. Wasn't worth the pine time.

Mr Pop is a lot of fun if you put your face up really close. Kinda like Russian roulette. Quite painful, but I like the thrill of danger.

05 April, 2006 18:08  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

Not only are they boring, but they also never TIRE of the boring games. Niece could play hide and seek for HOURS, even if I just hide in the same place (on the couch in front of the TV) the whole time.

05 April, 2006 18:23  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

I'm glad you brought this up. I've been worrrying about my own 'Bad Mother' tendencies.

We too have Hungry Hippos. Hate it.

And, what Wyndham says it true. Even if you do play, you're not allowed to win.

gawd, I'm a bad mother. *hangs head*

05 April, 2006 22:15  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

Hungry Hippopotami is better than (S)peedo files from the woodworking class which I had as a kid :-(

PS: Why do I have to type in this incredibly rude word just to certify that I'm not a commentspammer? Or was it just chance that it was so rude??

06 April, 2006 05:21  
Blogger Perry Neeham chimed in with...

HH is BLOODY noisy isn't it? Of all it's crap features that's the worst. I bought it for my neice and her mother insists on it staying at my house.

Does the Crack Whore Barbie Uzi accessory come with a silencer? Could be a more peaceful option. And marginally more strategic.

06 April, 2006 09:12  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

On my regular trip to Purdah (aka the in-laws') this weekend, about which I am not allowed to bitch because said in-laws have found my sodding blog, Mr P spent about a day and a half contentedly playing Lego with his 9-year-old nephew.

Whilst I spent around the same amount of time beating his 12-year-old niece hollow (at Connect 4). Most satisfying.

06 April, 2006 10:00  
Blogger crisiswhatcrisis chimed in with...

Chess! That's the answer! They're never too young. No don't get me wrong, I'm utter shit at chess. And I hate it. But even I can (a) beat a nine-year old, and (b) bore for Britain while I'm doing it. I just drone on and on about tactical errors and before you know it, he's gone off to do some painting. Result.

06 April, 2006 11:05  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

no! painting is bad! painting involves getting water, and crisis management, and paint everywhere, and clearing up. it is second only to the horror that is glitter...(and i don't mean the ex-pat kiddy fiddler. although he is horrible, obviously).

i am also shit at connect 4, draughts, othello, scrabble, kerplunk (so feeling the pain of threading the sticks through the holes), feiging interest and the hungry homer game.

when will she be old enough to go to the pub, do you think? i like doing that. and i'm good at it.

06 April, 2006 11:18  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

or even "feigning" interest.

stupid keyboard.

06 April, 2006 11:19  
Blogger Moo chimed in with...

Kerplunk sucks, my sister used to make me play it when we were younger...hated it ever since. Now, Pop up P is ok, or maybe buckaroo! I just prefer good ole Monopoly, or Surly indeed take them to the pub!!

06 April, 2006 14:08  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i refuse to play monopoly on the basis that if i am not guaranteed to win i will throw a monumental strop, so it's better not to start.

buckaroo is rubbish. it looks nothing like it does on the advert.

06 April, 2006 14:20  
Blogger The Boy chimed in with...

*shiver* Glitter... It has been put on the top shelf and hidden behind a stale box of Rice Krispies.

Lego's fine, quite like lego. Its the tenth continuous iteration of "The Gruffallo" that chills my bones!

06 April, 2006 14:55  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

I'm with you on the painting thing. *shudder*

I buy economy packs of tape at Costco and encourage wanton drawing, coloring, cutting, taping. Works for a little while.

06 April, 2006 15:56  
Blogger Smat chimed in with...

noooooo, painting is GREAT - two-thirds of the Baby Smats have spent the afternoon painting the inside of the Wendy House - my role has been to wash paintbrushes and read blogs. Apparently you can also give small children a bucket of water and a paintbrush and get them to "paint" the outside of the house/patio/path. Either it's really good fun, or the person who told me about it has very stupid children.

06 April, 2006 16:43  
Blogger galatea chimed in with...

I actually enjoy Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Does that mean I have the mental age of your child? what a terrifying thought.

06 April, 2006 17:17  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

Is Hungry Hungry Hippos the killer-sudoku type version of Hungry Hippos or was that just a typo?!

06 April, 2006 17:30  
Blogger Huw chimed in with...

Come now, Hide and Seek is always a good bet. Off you go and hide, and I'll just sit here, and count to... I don't know, 400,000?

06 April, 2006 17:43  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK chimed in with...

Children. They're something special. Totally unrelated, but did you guys ever get Saturday Night Live over on that side of the pond? Ages ago, there was this skit called "Deep Toughts by Jack Handy." It was funny because the thoughts were never really that "deep" and they were always really sarcastic and dry. Here is one about children:

"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh no," I said, "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late."

Read more Deep Thoughts here.

06 April, 2006 21:33  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

And just think, when SP has children of her own, you can play all the new games with your grandchildren and they'll be just as boring all over again.

06 April, 2006 23:08  
Blogger Universal Soldier chimed in with...

Just hide the balls and tell her the Hippos are on a diet.

07 April, 2006 06:17  
Blogger Sherbert chimed in with...

Fortunately I've not had to play games with children since I was a children's nanny. I once got told off by one mother for teaching her 5 year old daughter how to sew her fingers together and another mother requested that I didn't make mud pies with her two boys as "it wasn't educational". One son got his own back the following day by stealing a can of spray paint and spraying ALL the flowers in her garden black "because he wanted to see what black flowers looked like". She was furious but I cited 'creative play' (as was the mud pies).

07 April, 2006 12:51  
Blogger crisiswhatcrisis chimed in with...

I can supervise painting from the sofa, in front of the sport on telly, with an early-doors bottle of Stella and a jumbo pack of twiglets. If I have to wipe a wall with a damp cloth or throw some clothes in the washer afterwards, it's still better than hungry fucking hippos.

07 April, 2006 15:35  
Blogger It's Me, Maven... chimed in with...

This made me chuckle...

PS: We don't all quiver at the buffet. Not all the time. So I've heard...

20 April, 2006 15:16  

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