C-3PO: He made a perfectly legal move.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That’s ’cause a droid don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees have been known to do that.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookiee win.
- Star Wars Episode IV
The system we have in our household is nearly that of a Jedi Academy. We have shifts with the kids. She works first, I work seconds, I have the kids in the morning, she has them at night. While I’m at work “Fighting Monsters” as my oldest likes to put it, my wife is at home training the kids in the art of force in our Academy. She also reads, reads and reads with the girls. You can take my oldest daughter’s lightsabers away and she will be slightly upset. You can take some cartoon hologram time away; her life will go on. BUT, you take away or threaten to take away those books of the ancient Jedi stories of pink princesses and magical ponies, be ready to have the duel of your life… Just picture the Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi final battle when in the end, Obi Wan (parent) says; “Don’t do it…” and Anakin’s response (daughter) “You underestimate my powers…” which leads to Anakin’s ultimate demise and final transition to the dark side while failing to live up to being “the chosen one”.
I like to believe that I do a lot for these kids, but in all actuality, The Dark Sith Lord Herself does! the tolerance this woman has with playing CandyLand over and over and over and yes, over again is miraculous… I grew up in a family were if the game wasn’t going your way or you just wanted it to end, just flip the table. Or as Chewy did when he is about to lose to R2D2 in a game of Space Chess, threaten to rip out his parts and disassemble him on the spot. I do not know what my wife’s record is against my daughter, but I’m sure it’s not great and I know my daughter is like me and finds a way to win…. When no one is paying attention at any means imaginable.
I partake in games with my wife and daughter occasionally, and what I see while playing is how my oldest daughter runs the games like she is the ultimate smuggler. Almost as good as Han Solo playing Sabacc, the card game in which he won the Millennium Falcon from his friend Lando. The next observation I made while joining my wife on her 100th game (Congratulations Love!) was that it was always my daughter’s turn and it was just our jobs to sit and watch her play for three. Dad: “hey kid it’s daddy’s turn” A: oh, ok, here you go (hands over the spinner), here let me help you, its spins like this….” Dad: “Thanks kid, thank you for spinning for daddy, you helped me a lot…”. I consideration this and thought, if anyone of my siblings had done this to the other, lightsabers would have been drawn and force choking would commence! Additionally, I have spotted A’s new found competitiveness and that was and is the most entertaining trait to witness.
Throughout the game I patiently waited my turn and listened intently to my four-year-old as she explained the many new and random rules that she established to me as the game progressed, to help her reach her final ambition to victory. Her near defeat however threw her off her square for a moment though. The look of pure annoyance came over her face when she had to return all the way back to the Peppermint Forrest. It was at this moment you saw the smuggler in her and her gears hard at work in her head as she formulated a plan on how to get out of her current predicament. If she had to return all the way back to the blasted Peppermint Forrest, everyone had too.
I will say, she has her younger sister trained well. She has not yet become a Jedi, but has already taken on an apprentice regardless. Our youngest moved towards our area, as if my oldest waved her hands to guide her with the force, made her way to our game and began her devastating rain of pandemonium and destruction. In the few seconds that followed, our one-year-old who had instantly become an outrageous Jar Jar Binks type, had annihilated the board game, I watched my oldest daughter achieved her objective and placed all the other character pieces at Peppermint Forrest while hers crossed the finish line. I chuckled at her move and knew I would have probably done the same thing at her age. “You got that victory kid” or as Solo said to Luke; “Good shot kid! Now don’t get cocky!”
I remember when my siblings and I would duel it out during our board games. The slightest snarkiest grin made by either one of us could cause absolute war. After spending, what seemed like lightyears in “passing go” and “going to jail” I made a sarcastic remark while collecting my credits from my twin sister, she preceded an attempt to disband the game as a Wookie would undoubtedly do in defeat, by ripping the table and throwing the game. My older sister, would say something polite about the odds of winning and encourage her to stay, as C3PO would to Han Solo in a life or death situation. All in the while my younger sister, like a Jawa, would energetically scavenge the loose credits laying on the floor and new properties to claim as her own. In the midst of this most chaotic moment, I realized, I had won and despite my sibling’s best efforts, I was the victor. Which lead to my cheesy eight-year-old grin, that cause even more of an uproar between all the siblings who had lost what seemed like everything to them, turned their disappointment all on me. As I stood victorious for those few moments I felt like I defeated Darth Vader myself. The pounding that an army of three could do to an army of one in that dazed moment was unforgettable. The pinching, scratching, hair pulling and biting will never be forgotten nor will it be retold, my pride still hurts remembering it at this moment.
Now as a father, watching my daughter educate my wife and I in this simple kid’s game of, CandyLand and seeing her cheesy grin that slowly appears after her own victories. Invaluable and one of the most pleasurable instants to be a part of.
Game on parents, game on and good luck in the many games you play with your little ones.
Star Wars: A New Hope. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher. 20th Century Fox, 1977. DVD.
Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. By George Lucas. Dir. George Lucas. Prod. George Lucas and Rick McCallum. Perf. Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Hayden Christensen. 20th Century Fox, 2005. DVD.