Wednesday, April 13, 2011

7 . . . 8 . . . 9 . . . 10 - Ready or not, here I come!

When I was a child, hide-and-seek was one of my favorite games. Specifically, I liked the hiding element of the game. In fact, I was quite good at it. I found that I was able to find excellent hiding spots and stay there motionless and quiet for long periods of time. So, when my son challenged me to the very game I had mastered years ago, I was excited to show him how a skilled tactician can dominate the game (never mind that he is only 5 years old, he is the one that laid down the challenge).

We started the game with my son taking his turn as the hider. He immediately went to his room to find a spot, an amateur mistake because of its obviousness. Nonetheless, when I finally completed my slow count, “7 . . . 8 . . . 9 . . . 10, ready or not, here I come!”, I wandered around the house, calling out his name, listening to his cute giggles from his room as I would swing open the curtains in the living room and yell, “Are you here?!?! No, not here, come out, come out, wherever you are!”

Finally, after searching nearly every room in the house, I entered his room and found him dug in behind his bed. Not a bad first effort despite the obvious location and the on-going giggling which too easily gave away his position. But the search was fun and the joy of hearing him giggle for 10 minutes was immeasurable.

However, don’t think my joy in playing with my son made me “soft”, because it did not. It was my son’s turn to count and my turn to hide. We immediately ran into the age old, hide-and-seek problem in that my son, the seeker, had a real challenge in keeping his eyes closed while counting. So I pulled a classic fake out. As he was peeking out between his fingers, I moved as if going to the living room, but when I saw his eyes completely covered, I switched directions, instead hiding in the bathroom behind the door. The text book hide-and-seek move worked perfectly as my son first searched the living room. He was somewhat confused when he realized I was not there. This is when the teacher (me) started his hide-and-seek lesson.

As my son walked by the bathroom, not looking in because the light was out, I moved into the living room, a previously searched area and therefore an unlikely spot for the 5 year old seeker to return. This was a perfect move and strategy, except for one small problem, the 2 year old sister. The move drew the attention of my daughter, who at that moment was not playing the game (or so I thought). Seeing daddy running down the hall was funny, so she squealed and chased me yelling, “Daddy, find me!” My daughter, who has yet to completely understand the physics of hiding, being caught several times behind a chair with her eyes covered, thinking if she could not see me, I could not see her, is the one who exposed my strategically sound movements.

Obviously, this drew the attention of my son and daddy was caught. As we continued the game, it got worse as the dog started following me around, standing just outside of every hiding position. It was only then, after several efforts at hiding, only to be quickly caught, that I realized; the teacher, had become the student. My son, was the new master of hide-and-seek in our home with his carefully positioned lookouts. Now, if he can get the giggling under control, he’ll be difficult to find. Although, in truth, I hope the giggling never stops.

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