I had a nightmare the other night.
The cast of Crazy Road was engaged in Family Court.
"What brings this Family to my courtroom?" Asked the judge.
"Candy Land, Your Honor," I replied. "The game of Candy Land has forced our family into pieces. We fight. We yell. We burn parts of the game in the furnace...Our once close-knit, loving family has fallen to the Curse of Queen Frostine."
"I see." The judge commented, shaking his head in sadness. "I hate to see this happen to good families...but, it happens all too often...I have no choice but to...."
AND THEN I WOKE UP.
What would a judge have decided?
Okay. I really didn't have a dream. But let me tell you, I believe we have been cursed.
It all started last Christmas...
The kids got CandyLand and Chutes & Ladders.
These games have been around since I was a little kid, but man, they are re-vamped today! All glossy and bright and colorful...but the premise is the same. Designed to teach kids counting, colors, patience, good sportsmanship, and yaddah bladdah gaga, these games are likely in thousands of homes all over the world. I believe in teaching children all of the aforementioned skills. I REALLY do. I just don't think they are meant for the buggers here at Crazy Road.
The second that the kids opened Candy Land, my life changed. OUR lives changed. Because counting and colors did not register with my kids. The GUMDROP PASS and MR. MINT and hot little LOLLIE became the focus. Not only that, but the cards were everywhere, and the poor yellow game piece was constantly found stuffed into the cushions or between books because neither of the kids wanted him.
The anguished cries of the poor soul that landed on "sticky licorice"(so they lose a turn) or the loser who AAAAALMOST made it to King Kandy but at the last draw picks Gramma Nut made me more and more stressed. I took the game away and hid it in my closet. I thought they would forget about it, but they did not.
Day after day they would ask for it. Standing in my closet, peering up at it as if it were the only toy they owned and were being kept away from any shred of happiness or joy...the "joy" that only the Journey to CandyLand could bring them.
I folded. But with strict rules and guidelines: No Fighting. No fits. No cheating when "shoveling" the cards. Queen Frostine would be "shoveled" into the pile right along with the double "purps" and the single "stupid" greens. I would see to it, that her card would be drawn fair and square.
Well, lo-and-behold, they did not follow the rules. Fighting ensued, crying, kicking fits prevailed, and I ended up putting the entire game(except for the little gingerbread man game pieces) into the furnace.
Was that irrational? Probably. Was it detrimental to their development? Possibly. BUT...Did it buy me some peace and quiet for a while? OH YEAH BABY. No regrets.
But you know...Tyler asked about Candy Land almost every day...for a good 7 months. And you know something else?
I was FOOLED!
I bought Tyler ANOTHER brand-spanking-new Candy Land game for his birthday in August. August 9th, to be exact. I thought foolishly that the loss of the first game would remind him and Kiki that they need to play nicely together. That being a good sport and congratulating the winner, and being "happy" for whomever picked the glorious "Queen Frostine" card would be hugely beneficial to them.
In fact, it got worse.
Tyler would throw a fit(and I mean F.I.T.) if he didn't draw "a special person" card, meaning Frosty, NannaNuts, Minty or who-ever...he didn't even care that drawing the said cards resulted in him being sent backwards...The word "cwap" was uttered every time a "color" card was drawn. He simply does not get it yet.
Then Kiki was overheard "manipulating" the "shoveling" process and actually "counting cards" to ensure that she was the prize picker of special people cards...like a little "rain man."
It was so out of hand...
I have regulated Tyler to playing alone.
I have sent Keek to her room for "cheating." I mean, COME ON! Its freaking CANDY LAND!
So last night was the ultimate breakdown of every system I have tried to enforce.
Trying to overcome the stress of my workday and make dinner and mentally check off items from my to-do list...the screams kept coming from the living room...I squeaked my usual empty threats...eventually walking in to find my daughter strategically "placing" the Queen Frostine card in the pile.
"Kiki! Give me the cards. I will shuffle them." I demanded.
While they continued to bicker, I slid the QUEEN right out of the pile, calmly walked out of the room, opened the trash can and dropped her in.
"See You in Hell, Frosty." I (really) said.
It wasn't until after dinner that they realized the card was missing.
"MAMA! I can't find her! I know she is here..."
They both searched. I felt a tiny bit bad, but I smiled and said, "She left. She knew that she was causing you two to fight and cry and she felt it best to go."
Sinister. I know.
But they bought it for a few minutes!
Until Chris came in...
"Daddy! Daddy! Queen Frostine left!!!!We can't find her anywhere!!!"
Chris came around the corner where I was still grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
"They're freaking out trying to find that card." He said.
"I know. I threw it in the trash."
This is where things get ugly.
HE actually got mad at ME! I had envisioned a HIGH-FIVE or a "Nice Job" from him, but....
"You can't do that! That won't teach them anything!" And my wonderful husband opened the trash and started looking for the card, now buried under the hamburg package and taco trimmings.
"Are you kidding me?!>!"
We actually started yelling at each other a little. We NEVER yell. Really. We don't.
Then he proceeded into the living room, before I knew what he was going to do...he bellowed,
"You know what you made Mama do? You made her so mad she threw away Queen Frostine!"
Questioning little faces.
My family was disintegrating right before my very onion-teary eyes.
I was Rockin' Mad.
Mad at Chris. Mad at the kids. Really pissed off at Milton Bradley. Chris was mad at me, Nick was just confused...Tyler still thought the Queen has left the building...
What was happening?
We had been cursed.
We barely got through dinner. Everyone was pouting. Our tacos were the only things making noise. Uncomfortable dinner silence. Nothing worse.
All of the kids went about their business after dinner. Tyler seemed to accept the loss of the beloved card, and saw that he could still play the game without her. Chris and I forgot our little spat and moved on...Poor Nick just went to his room to do whatever he does for hours in there...and Kiki? Well, she went to her room, too.
I was finishing up the dishes and she came around the corner.
"Look, Mama. Look what I made."
And she handed me a little picture, perfectly colored and framed...about the size of a...
"Who is this?" I asked. The picture was of a girl with crazy yellow hair...at first I thought it was a VOO-DOO picture of me.
"It's Queen Frostine! I made it so we can learn our lesson! Can you help me cut it out?"
I knelt down to hug her, and Tyler came in, Over-The-Moon at his very creative big sisters offering.
She cut that hand-made-Candy-Land-Queen-Frostine out...
And they lived happily ever after.
Lessons were learned by all of us.
Am I sorry I acted in the heat of the moment? Nope.
But I promise, I won't burn another board game...
But don't make me play Monopoly. I might throw THAT one right into the street. But I still am the Connect Four Master.
Thanks for reading.