Babies are cute and reasonably fun, but I’m finding that the older my kids get the more I enjoy them. This weekend was a fine example. Saturday morning I was back to work trying to finish my fence. Though I didn’t have much left to do, this was the most difficult section, as there is a large bush up against that section, leaving almost no room to work. It’s confined, stuffy and, if you wait too long and the temperature rises, hot.
I did my best to make room by “lasso-ing” the bush and pulling as much of it back from the fence line as I could, but it was still awkward fighting the bush as I climbed in and out after tools and fence boards. Then my middle child came to help me. He’s not the biggest of boys, but he knows how to run a drill. And his two extra hands were a welcome addition. I could hold the boards in place while he drilled pilot holes and put in the screws. It wasn’t dramatically faster working together, but it was definitely faster. And the company was appreciated. The fence is now done, and it looks nice. It’s also a new memory for my son and I.
This weekend we also played some board games a family. We’ve recently become “Ticket To Ride: Europe” fans, and this week my Finnish in-laws sent us a new game to try, called “Thurn und Taxis”. It’s similar in style to Ticket To Ride, but has several more levels of complexity. It’s a pretty fun game, but one whose nuances are not immediately apparant. Technically my youngest is too young to be playing it. But all my kids are able to play and enjoy these games, while there’s enough challenge and complexity to keep all ages engaged.
My youngest struggles a bit, mostly to not discouraged when things don’t go well for him, but he’s made considerably progress. Plus these games are designed in such a way that it’s not readily apparant who is winning until the very end. All the kids seem to take winning and losing in stride a lot more than they used to. That’s a major milestone, and a very satisfying one.
We finished off the evening yesterday with a game of “Ticket To Ride.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen the game so close. It ended in a tie between my youngest and I, and though the rules provided a tie-breaker that made me the winner, I think he was thrilled to be tied with Dad. I also think he saw just how narrow a victory it was–one turn could have changed the outcome in his favor.
He had every right to be proud of his effort. One of the objectives of the game is to build the longest continuous railroad with your 45 segment markers. As only the main line counts, no side branches, it’s hard to get main line lengths of more than 30-35 segments. My youngest managed to build a route with all 45 markers–I’ve never seen that done before. I turned in a personal best with 43. So even though I beat him on a different criteria, he had his other accomplishments to hold on to.
It’s fun having kids old enough to handle more complex things. I enjoy working with my kids–and playing with them, too. It seems like it took a lot of time and work to get them to this stage of life, but it was well worth it. They’re good kids, and quite a lot of fun. I should enjoy it while I can–this stage also means they won’t be around that much longer.