The kids are sick again. Coughing enough to stay home from school, but not sick enough that we can’t have fun.
What is fun, you ask? Well, with most of my kids it would be reading and painting, music and theater…fun stuff.
But with Mr. Alex P. Keaton, who is home today, we are playing Monopoly. I have avoided playing this game, ever, in 48 years. Can’t even stand the concept. Too orderly, too industrial, too rigid.
But somebody received the game as a birthday gift, years ago, and young Mr. Keaton has found it. He is genuinely interested. He set it up, rounded up his sisters, and he is the banker, coach, and enforcer of his own complete autocracy. He is enjoying handling money and properties, organizing and allocating.
Who is this kid, and what planet did he come from? Both his parents are artists!
I haven’t experienced anything like this kind of play since I was eight years old myself, trying to hide from my older sister’s authoritarian rule.
But we parents do strange things for our kids. I would probably do anything to make this guy smile. I buy his little “math squares” that he sells for a quarter apiece. He does arithmetic problems, and lines them all up in a geometric shape so that all the columns add up properly, and all the rows add up properly too. He does this for the sheer joy he finds in math. If I can buy his math puzzles, I can certainly play Monopoly, right?
So, we spend the morning buying and selling, and landing on each other’s real estate. At one point, three of them were Monopoly jail at the same time. I got to visit. By then, everyone was ready for a change of pace.
“Hey, can we do Microsoft Excel now?” he asks me, packing up his game. “It’s a spreadsheet.”
“I have a better idea, kiddo. Let’s go organize your sock drawer.”
A beautiful day.