As a mother, I try my best to create those spontaneous, crazy moments that my kids will always think of with a smile. I remember as a child when my dad would play hide and seek with us under the darkness of night. I now try to do this with my kiddos whenever the stars align and the moment strikes. Tonight was one of those nights, and it was magical.
Now if you are reading this and thinking you want to try this with your family, let this master of hide and seek give you some advice.
First, always do it when it is dark out. This is for several reasons. It is more fun at night because of the mysteries of the darkness shrouding the game. It also helps level the playing field between the benefits of the youth and the not-so-youthful.
Second, if it is nice outside always play it outside. The dark is way more fun outside when the mind plays tricks on you. If it is too cold outside, you can play it inside. While it is not as fun as the great outdoors, the winter months can drag a bit, so liven up the cold months with some fun.
Third, absolutely positively no flashlights are allowed. Use all of your other senses…except common sense…let that one go.
Fourth, set physical boundaries for the game. For instance, you can’t go past the corners of the house, into the pond, and you can’t leave our property. If you are playing inside, you can forbid going outside, and you can’t hide on the 2nd level.
Fifth, always start out as a seeker if the kids let you. This allows your eyes to adjust to the darkness from the comfort of home base without your heart racing.
Sixth, enforce the rules with fervor. If a kiddo is caught passing the corner of the house, call it out and call it out loudly. Enforce those rules. Make it known that breaking the rules is NOT allowed.
Seventh, figure out your children’s hiding patterns. For example, Kat is an impatient hider, Gabe usually stays close to base, Griffin squeals in delight if you even get 25 yards from him, and Elle thinks you can see her far before your human eyes can actually see her.
Eighth, while figuring out these patterns, you will lose. You will lose big. The youth have all of the advantages. They luckily just don’t know it. They have the more acute senses, they are faster, they are in better shape, etc. Your only real hope is to catch the four-year-old, and really is that even fair? Do not despair. You are in this for the long game. Let five or six rounds pass just as stated above.
Ninth, let them know that you are slower, older, your eyes aren’t as good. Play the “old card.” Let it set in that you are extremely disadvantaged in this game, but don’t whine. Take it like a woman. Lose with dignity.
Finally, this last step is crucial and will make you forever the master of hide and seek. You will be a legend in the minds of your children, and they will have no idea how you do it….until they get old enough to read your blog. You break rule #4. The golden rule you have judiciously been policing for the safety and well-being of all involved. You go out of bounds. Sit quietly in your hiding spot for as long as feels good. I promise you that your children will still love the thrill of the hunt. Just sit there and breathe. I mean to tell you I have sat out of bounds for at least 45 minutes in freezing temperatures before sneaking back in-bounds and safely to base. Honestly, the kids need to burn off energy anyway.
Now I know what your thinking, and you are right. This is a terrible example to set for your children. I have no real defense, except to say that the kids love it! It is so liberating to get to base and scream, “Alle, alle, auch sind frei!” And I tell you it feels terrific to be the master of something in your children’s eyes. Even if it is just hide and seek.
Say it with me now, “Alle, alle, auch sind frei!” Doesn’t that feel gooooooood?!
I wish I had a picture to post of the kiddos and me in action. However, you know….rules #1 and #3 wouldn’t allow for that, and I am a rule follower.