Mom’s Voice: Parenting in the Game of Life

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game_of_life2When I was little, I enjoyed playing the Game of Life with friends. I remember the anticipation of each of my turns: Spinning the wheel and moving my little plastic car along the colorful rectangles of the game board, waiting to see what was in store for me.

We twisted our way through college, career, marriage, family and retirement. I may have been a pilot with twin girls, living in a high rise condo one time and the next time I played, I could have ended up a veterinarian with three boys and a house in the country.

Colorful money came and went, back and forth between the banker and the other players. Whether collecting money for something like my dog winning a beauty contest or shelling out big bucks if I bought a sailboat or had a tax bill. It mattered not; another little green rectangle – PAYDAY seemed no more than a couple of spins away. We always ended up with more than we started.

Nothing was more exciting however than landing on a spot that announced the arrival of a new baby. No car seat required; simply push the round- headed blue or pink peg into the hole of my station wagon. And I was ready for the next spin.

A couple of weeks ago we introduced our youngest to the Game of Life. He loves it. But, now having lived a good portion of my life, rather than just having played Life, there are a few suggestions I would like to offer to Hasbro.

Once we have our peg babies securely pressed into their car holes, it’s as if they are just along for the ride. Au contraire! Nothing changes our real lives more radically than kids and I think our children need to experience, albeit, on a cardboard game with a spinner, some of the realities. There are a whole slew of cards that need to be added to the deck. Specifically, the parenting cards. Here are a few suggestions. If anyone at Hasbro would like to hire me as a consultant, arrangements can be made.

Parenting Cards

-Your toddler draws with sharpie marker on the carpet…. in the neighbor’s house. (The ones without kids.) Pay $200 for a professional carpet cleaner.

-Your child needs braces, headgear, oral surgery and three sets of x-rays. Pay $6000.

-Your teenager is learning to drive and backs into a brick wall at the orthodontist. Pay $1000.

-Sports fees including uniform and team party. Pay $800.

-The garbage disposal breaks, and you discover a partially shredded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Pay $1000.

-Spin the wheel to see how many times the baby woke up last night.

-Your children eat an entire bottle of Flintstone Vitamins; you fear iron poisoning and call the ambulance. Pay $700. (Later you find the vitamins in a bucket in the backyard)

-Your son gets a date to Winter Formal. Tickets, dinner for two, transportation, corsage. Pay $200.

-4th grade build a mission. Trip to Michaels. Pay $75.

-Junior is having a birthday party! Cake, goodie bags, decorations, food. Pay $300.

Jill Fales is the mother of four and the author of “My Laundry Museum & Other Messy Gifts of Motherhood.” She can be reached at [email protected].


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