Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Game Brain

Yesterday Ty and I played games because we were both a little bored—he would have preferred endless computer time and I would have preferred a good, long walk (this knee thing is starting to get old).

So we played Mancala. I like this game because it doesn’t require a ton of thinking. But somewhere between the last time I played Ty and yesterday, Ty took a developmental leap. Or something. The only reason I won one of the games was Ty made the mistake of telling me a move I should have made before we realized it was still my turn. So I made the move, gathered up the glass stones, and won. And then he beat me the next game by forty-two stones. Forty-two. How does one lose that badly?

We played checkers, too. I like checkers. Not a lot of thinking. But I played hard, anyway, thought ahead, didn’t give up my pieces unnecessarily. Ty beat me with 8 kinged pieces leftover.

After dinner, we played Monopoly, his favorite game, I found out, and one that none of his friends will play. Monopoly is about as interesting to me as reading the phone book, but when I found out no one likes to play the game with him, I felt sorry for him and I agreed to play. I even tried to pay attention. Still, when I started landing on properties that had somehow sprouted hotels—when did that happen?—I knew the end was near.

“Mom, if you give me those two properties and $360, you’ll save yourself $40—it’s a good deal for you.”


“Mom, I’ll take that property there and only $40 and we’re square.”


“Mom, if you give me that property and $100, we’re even.”

“But that’s my best property.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, you’re broke. You don’t have a lot of choice.”

Oh, right.

Ty counted money, bought more property, made change, bargained for additional properties I owned that he wanted, bought more property…a regular businessman in his element. How is it I have managed to breed a businessman? I still marvel. Maybe he’ll take the stock broker test like that 13-year-old stock broker did.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking of putting him in charge of our taxes next year.


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Boy Games

Ty and I went to Eagle Hobbies this morning (Leah is working at horse camp again), on the corner of Bay and Holly across from the Bay Street Village. If you’ve never been here, it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re the parent of a boy. It’s a total boy-boy store, full of models, model paints, games, lots of games, of the like you’ll find nowhere else, comics, kites…the array will keep you busy. (And, it must be said, not a single computer game to be found—from what I saw. This place is about interactive stuff, not losing yourself in a screen.)

Ty loves this store. And if the inventory is any clue, so do the D&D folks and those into Warhammer. We wandered for some time, pulling games off the shelf to read the descriptions on the back. Eagle carries Heroscape, Star Wars games, and other games aimed at the younger set, but I can see this store holds appeal for older boys, too. I ran across one game that’s all about street gangs, building them, and trying to take over turf. Ty wanted to buy it. I told him he was too young. Inside, I was thinking he would always be too young for street gang games.

But, having just finished Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax—I’m doing some research for an article—I feel like I have a better understanding of boys’ inclinations. So does Eagle Hobbies. This place abounds with zombie games, war games, and figurines that look like they belong in a Lord of the Rings game (maybe they do; what do I know?). Sax would concur that all this stuff is normal for boys to want to play with.

I don’t get it, but slowly I’ve stopped worrying about boys wanting to play-shoot each other and wrestle each other into the ground. They do take the risks that the books say they do—mine does, anyway—and they do compete as much as the books say they will. So the only time it’s not okay with me, I’ve decided, is when the other boy isn’t okay with it—well, that, and when it truly gets out of hand. (But that other mother can get a little tricky if she’s not into it, and there are lots of them out there.) Still, say various authors, better to act out your fantasies through play and games than in real life. So I’m starting to relax and try not to see our boys and men as loony war nuts. Did I really say that? (When I was a kid, I related more, back before the estrogen and motherhood took over.)

Eagle also carries Settlers of Catan, Blockus, Apples to Apples, and even a word game called You’ve Been Sentenced, with which you build goofy but grammatically correct sentences for points. Your girl might find something here. But unless she’s into dragon stuff (I know there are plenty who are), she will likely be underwhelmed.

The hardest part of our visit for Ty was keeping his money in his pocket, but he wisely chose to keep saving for the Heroscape game he so yearns for. We’ll be back.

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