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Fatherhood Friday – Fun and games

May 21st, 2010 · 6 Comments · bathtime, bedtime, laughter, lucy, oliver, play, work

As a working Dad, putting the kids to bed is more than just a utilitarian activity, it is an opportunity to have fun with my kids after I haven’t seen them for most/all of the day. This may not always be the best way to settle them down, but it certainly brings us some laughter.

Here are a few of the silly little games that have become rituals when putting the kids to bed. You’ll notice that the conduct of most of these games involves tickling. Even the ones that didn’t originally involve it have been amended by Lucy to include it wherever possible.

  • Hiding (part 1) aka “Can’t catch me”. Obviously the first job is to get them upstairs to where the bathroom and their bedrooms are. As soon as I say it’s time to go up, Lucy will make a dash to hide somewhere, chuckling as she goes and sometimes shouting “can’t catch me”!
  • Once in the bath the kids have hit on the most surprising of games. Lucy will get a small bucket and put some water in it straight from the cold tap. She will then pour it onto Oliver! Amazingly Oliver finds this thrilling and fun and demands numerous repetitions.
  • Hiding (part 2). Lucy envelopes herself entirely in her towel(s) so no skin is visible. I then say in a puzzled tone “I can’t find Lucy, but I have found these toes” then tickle them. This is repeated with her knees, then thighs, then tummy, then under her arms before finally peeling back the towel from her face and shouting “Found you”!
  • Hiding (part 3). If I have to leave the room or even turn away to get a nappy,  Lucy will dive under the covers of our bed. I then pretend I can’t find her before putting my hands under the covers to tickle her and thus recapture her.

By this point it’s time to get them into their pyjamas, which is where the real fun starts.

  • “I caught a fraggle ma!” The intro to the Jim Henson TV show “Fraggle Rock” involves some large furry character catching a fraggle and shouting “I caught a fraggle ma”. Somehow this became the victory cry in a game involving me trying to put Oliver’s pyjama trousers over his legs as he waves them wildly in the air trying to evade capture. It’s not a wrestling contest, more a game of cat and mouse as I wait my moment to make the vital lunge (obligatorily missing on the first two or three attempts).
  • “And then tickle me”. Moving on to trying to another of Oliver’s favourite games which Lucy has now extended (by adding tickling, obviously). I try to put a pyjama top over Lucy’s head as she sits on the bed. As I lean forward to do so she falls backward onto the bed leaving me flailing. For Oliver this was simply repeated, but for Lucy I then have to tickle her under the arms as I pretend to reprimand her and then blow a raspberry on her tummy. She then runs through the script with me before allowing me to repeat the game.
  • “What did you have for dinner”. One of Hayley’s favourites is to ask what they had for dinner then nibble at their tummies as if she can taste it, obviously tickling them in the process.
  • “The super-powerful hair dryer”. Oliver loves slapstick humour. So I recently added a comedy hair-dryer routine. I turn it on with it blowing into my face and then pretend it is the world’s strongest hair dryer and grapple with it arm’s at length as if wrestling a cobra. Oliver finds this hilarious. He then takes the hair-dryer and gives his own performance of the contest.
  • “He’s behind you!”. Oliver’s favourite toy is Big Julien and he still has him in his bed every night. Often I will find Big Julien and then tuck him into the top of my shirt at the back, behind my head. I then pretend I don’t know he’s there. Oliver cries “He’s behind you” allowing me to spin round quickly, only to find no-one behind me. “That’s not Big Julien, that’s the window…” etc. This is repeated until I finally spot him.
  • “Is this how we get into bed”. When the time comes to get into bed, Oliver lies across his bed and on top of the covers. He then asks “Is this how we get into bed?” I reply “Errrrrrmmmmm… no” and tickle him. Repeated several times depending how late it is by this point.
  • Another bit of slapstick that Oliver loves is for me to pull off his sock, say “is it clean?”, hold it to my nose and then fall to the floor in a mock feint.  This is particularly effective if he is on the bed and I fall out of sight.
  • “Raspberries”. Finally, Oliver has recently taken to putting his hand over my mouth when he wants me to be quiet. While I’ve told him this is rude for most situations, we have found an acceptable use for it. The other night as I put him to bed he told me that he doesn’t play with the girls at his nursery “because they play girly games with princesses and fairies – they don’t play super hero games”. From there came a game involving me trying to talk about fairies, only for Oliver to put his hand over my mouth to shut me up. At this point I take a theatrically deep breath and blow a raspberry on his hand, which leaves him reeling away squealing with delight.

As I write down these little games I have a picture in my mind’s eye of Oliver laughing out loud, often an open-mouthed silent laugh as he tries to catch his breath.  Or I picture Lucy wriggling and squealing with delight as I tickle her. I treasure those moments. They’ll be gone all too soon, but they are definitely the ones I’ll always remember.

This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at DadBlogs.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Que

    That is awesome! I have the OTHER job. I work in the evenings. So I get to wake all 3 of my girls up and get them ready for school. They HATE me! Just kidding. But it is a lot more fun putting them to bed than waking them up.
    My recent post A conversation you don't hear when you have less than 2 small children

    • Steve

      First off, I like the thought that one day I will wake my kids rather than vice versa. (Probably misguided but seems nice to me today.) But in our house there is rarely time for games if we want to get out and about on time.

      Loved the "Your welcome" post by the way. I love how toddlers promote repetition to the level of an art form.
      My recent post Fatherhood Friday – Fun and games

  • Jessi

    This sounds so nice. We are usually running around like crazy trying to get everyone to bed by sunrise, it seems, so our games are a little more laid back. Usually, there is about 45 min to an hour of reading to Brynna too. That kid is just like me.
    My recent post Five Things on Friday – Little Happies Edition

    • Steve

      45 to an hour?! Now I feel like a deficient parent. Most nights my kids get one or two books each (although that can still take half an hour). I probably should be reading more to/with Oliver as he starts school in September. Thanks for getting me thinking.
      My recent post Fatherhood Friday – Fun and games

  • Edathomedad

    Sound's like a wondrous time. It is great to have those moments that you can store in the memory bank. As we know and see each day they grow so fast and those little moments are golden.
    My recent post Then and Now (A Guest Post From My Wife)

  • lenka townley

    hi Steve, well done as always, I do not blame you you are not keen on that "escapism" business, as you wrote in your blog,
    I am truly truly sorry I forgot to send you birthday wishes, so belated happy birthday, and how did you celebreate it? you did not put anything on the web
    take care
    lenka

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