Kids, I know you think your fun and games are all…well, fun and games, but what you may not realize is that some of your games are teaching you skills that will serve you well in adulthood. Not all games are both entertaining and prepare you for the challenges you face as a grown up and a parent, but some do although you may not realize it, because they may be quite subtle.
At first it may not seem that remembering which card was Elsa and which was Olaf in the Frozen memory game is applicable to adult life, but this skill will actually prove more useful than you imagine. When doing laundry, sorting socks is nothing more than a never ending game of matching pairs. Remembering where the Hanes ankle sock or the Adidas soccer sock was when you pull the other one out of the basket will save you from having to root through the entire goddamned pile in front of you on the table. It may also be beneficial in the endless search for your car keys that will consume your entire adult life.
Although the concept is somewhat reversed, loading the dishwasher is very similar to this game. Instead of removing pieces from a precarious stack of intricately entwined blocks, you’re trying to create a pattern that maximizes the number of items you can get into a predefined space. Of course, there’s almost no chance that the dishes will topple and break, but a poorly configured load of dishes will result in some of them not getting properly clean, which means they’ll either have to go through again or be washed by hand. This can cause the same sort of “Oh shit!” reaction as the destruction of a Jenga tower.
Your suspects may no longer be a collection of fictitious characters named after various colors, but your ability to make keen observations and keep track of facts will go a long way toward figuring out who’s responsible for the drawing on the wall, the milk spilled on the kitchen counter, or the dent in the driver’s side rear fender.
Pick up sticks
The skills you gain in this game may not seem particularly applicable to parenting, but you’d be surprised how similar easing the sticks away from one another without moving any of the rest of them is to getting out of a sleeping infant’s room without waking it. You move extremely slowly, hoping that shifting your weight from one foot to the next doesn’t make the floor boards squeak. You ease your way to the door with bated breath, sure the sound of your heart pounding with fear will wake the little bugger up. As with pick up sticks, just when you’re sure you’re free, you realize you didn’t take into consideration the complete trajectory of the stick—or in the case of the baby, the click as you turn the knob to slip out into the hall. Dammit!
There’s no better practice for the jumping and balancing required to avoid the dreaded experience of stepping on a fucking Lego in the minefield of the playroom than a few rounds up and down a numbered board in quest of a rock or bottle cap.
Left hand, feeding spoon; right hand, sign permission form; left foot, push puking dog off rug; right foot, prevent toddler from reaching scissors on kitchen counter.