Welcome to the Traumatic Parenting Workshop Family Game Night.  Please leave your signed medical release forms by the door.

We take such precautions because we care.

Good sportsmanship is a requirement for entry, but it’s more important you realize that while Chutes and Ladders might not be an actual contact sport, it will require extreme mental fortitude.  You might be the best Sorry! player in your house but here we scoff at such things.  These are the major leagues.

Please take a moment to stretch in order to reduce the risk of physical injury.  You might find yourself in the fetal position at any time.

Go ahead and cry. We’re here for you.  You’ll remember the experience not for the winning or losing but rather the exertion and torturous agony.  You can familiarize yourself with the rule book all you want and study every strategy from Bonetti to Aragrippa.  It won’t matter.  Nothing will matter anymore.

You should leave any glimmer of hope in your car next to your belt and shoelaces.

Let’s start with a question: What do glitter and sand have in common?

The answer is simple: When your child receives something that includes such ingredients as a gift, you’re forced to re-examine your relationship with the other child’s parents.

When we were kids, the threat of not being invited to a birthday could induce significant arm-twisting leverage and all sorts of sleepless nights.  Today’s little monsters can simply threaten a bag to beads to bend another child’s parents to their will.

Here at TPW HQ, we also live in fear of board games.

Snowflake #1 was three years old when her grandmother gifted her with Candyland as my lovely red headed wife and I were soon to depart for the hospital.  Snowflake #2 was about to join us and lost amid the return to hourly feedings and newborn poop was the reality that board games are just hell.

If you’re marveling at my lack of patience, you’re not getting me.  I’m as patient as they come.  I love the idea of playing games with my kids.  I just wish I wasn’t sometimes/always left wondering what I must have done to deserve such a fate.

You might play Chutes and Ladders in your house, and you might take turns with the spinner as you move the pieces along the board.  In our house, we learn the backstories and motivations of the characters.  I’ve seen the pieces given timeouts and I’ve seen them quit to play other games, take vacations, and run off with Barbie.

I’m still talking about game pieces.

I’d swear I’ve rolled triple-sixes in games where no dice are involved.  There’s a feeling of dread that comes over me every time I see the names “Milton” or “Bradley.”

I have an idea: let’s get outside.  We’ll go to the pool where we can take breaks for adult swim and pine for the ice cream man.  We’ll overindulge in snack foods and envy other toys that are identical to our own.  And when the sun is at it’s absolute apex and we finally agree to dab more sunscreen on our skin, we can insist on playing shuffleboard… but not the shuffleboard you’re thinking of… rather the “special” shuffleboard with the rules your children can only mumble at you or mutter in high-pitched wails.   Calvinball was simple by comparison.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find the ice cream man.