I am not the mom of the year. I do not like to play. Don't get me wrong.....I love my boy, but I am content just to sit and watch him, as he escapes to his own little world of Star Wars figures.....Lego building.....and spy games. I do love to play board games.....and we do that quite frequently. Most often though, you will hear me encouraging Scout to "go play" or "find something to do." I guess it is the only child in me that learned to self entertain.....Mac Daddy and R2D2 will tell you, that I did it well. I learned how to be content.....alone.
I have to remind myself that Scout is male. He is less content to just sit.....to create, write stories, or play in general. Though ironically, he antiquates what would traditionally be considered female.....he needs a lot of "face time." Like with most mom's I know.....this can be wearisome sometimes.....especially since Biker Man works a lot. I am it....on many days. By the time we have gotten through our daily routine of schooling, errands, and household tasks.....I'm smoked.....wanting to retreat to a corner, stare into space, and twirl my beginning-to-gray locks. The last thing that I want to do is have my face shoved into the grass while being "arrested".....or to play Rainbow Road on the Wii.....until I am seriously questioning if I am stoned, or if it is just my eyes having gone into sensory overload. I am not the best playmate for my son.
But one memorable evening, right after Christmas, Scout asked me and Biker Man to play Nerf guns with him. He had just purchased, with his own money, a whole new arsenal for himself. He "issued" his older, smaller model Nerf guns to us.....with only a few bullets. By all appearances, he could have leveled our 10 mile stretch of road and farms, with his weaponry. It was also evident, that he was confident of claiming a victory. Of course, my initial internal response was to bow out gracefully, and to allow Biker Man the honor of thirty minutes.....of the all out madness, of a seven year old fire fight.....but Biker Man looked at me in such an appealing way.....that I could not refuse him. "He did issue you your own gun.....with a few bullets" he said with longing eyes, an alluring voice, and kisses wanting to jump from his lips to mine. "Okay" I whispered, as my heart got snared into a love trap. I turned and told Scout that I was going to play, and he literally whooped a war cry. I began my plan of attack.
Now.....I got away with diddly squat when I was a kid. Mac Daddy was in Psychological Operations in the Army.....and could read me as clear as a Dick and Jane book. I know he used a few of his tactics on me growing up.....and I am sure it worked every time. He was also very good, at scaring me. So from those wholesome experiences of communication, and getting the pee scared out of me (literally) a time or two..... I picked up a few tricks over the years. Ones that Biker Man didn't even know I had up my sleeve.
Once it was decided that we were going to play, things began moving forward so we could start. Guns were pulled out.....bullets counted and "issued".....teeth brushed (Didn't you know? All men go into battle with clean teeth).....and the dog taken out (he really had to go). While the guys were in a whirlwind of activity.....I quietly took my gun, and ammunition, and went to hide. They didn't even see me disappear into the dark upstairs.
While sitting there quietly in the dark, I counted my bullets. I was "issued" five......but had about ten to fifteen, as I had been pilfering them over the last couple of weeks. I had known in the back of my mind, that I would need them for bribing or the like, at some point. Tonight was my night. I was gonna play with my whole heart and soul.....Scout would never look at me the same.
About twenty minutes passed.....I heard Scout asking, "Where's Mommy?" To which Biker Man would reply, "I don't know Buddy. Maybe she's in the bathroom. We'll wait. Are you ready? Got your gear?" When I didn't appear or make any noise of life.....for a long time.....it was then, that Biker Man told Scout....."Buddy, I think Mommy is ALREADY playing the game." He giggled excitedly in response, and ran upstairs, eager to take me down. As he moved, Biker Man made it clear to him that it was Papa and Mommy vs. Scout. "That's okay Papa. I'm gonna win!"
Now, our house isn't large, but it's not tiny, there are some good hiding places. It took Scout about ten minutes to find me in our moderately sized three bedroom upstairs. While he desires a future with the CIA.....it is not in his blood. He has a while to go before the lights are turned on in regards to the BASICS of espionage science.....my little spy is not with the program. When he did find me he over celebrated, and turned his back.....I was outta there, with only one bullet discharged, I quickly confiscated the multiple bullets that he unloaded on me.....I am sure he had less than half of his ammo left. He didn't realize.....that I was already winning.
As he clumsily recovered.....I disappeared down the hall into one of the other rooms and behind the door. The light was off.....He mamby-pambied around, running up and down the stairs, like he was really doing something. He kept shooting his bullets up the stairs into nothing. Again, I waited quietly. Then, my guys must have issued a cease fire against each other.....because there was silence, and another discussion broke out as to where I was.....
Scout: "Where's Mommy?"
Biker Man: "I don't know. You have to go look for her."
Scout: "I think she's up there.....in one of the dark rooms."
Biker Man: "Well.....you have to go after her."
Scout: "It's dark up there."
Biker Man: "Buddy.....you can't be scared. Spies go into dark places all the time.....it's part of it."
Scout: "Will you go with me?"
Biker Man: "No. I am on Mommy's team. You need to be brave."
I heard his little footsteps coming up the stairs.....I guessed that he looked back at Biker Man a couple of times because I heard him tell Scout....."go on." I the floors creaked closer to me as he approached the room I was in. I watched his shadow through the crack in the door I was standing behind. As he stepped into the dark room.....I screamed.....as loud as I could.
We think Scout peed his pants.....or more. He wouldn't admit anything.....
Biker man couldn't believe it.....he started laughing so hard. Scout flew down the stairs, and began crying. "Buddy. Spies don't cry." He reassured Scout. "SHE'S NOT PLAYING BY THE RULES!" Scout complained. He was SO mad.....
In the meantime.....I dashed to another location. I was feeling no mercy. Go hard or go home. I was ruthless.....
I switched the hall light off, at the top of the stairs, and again waited in the dark. At the bottom of the stairs, Scout was regaining his composure and confidence. He flipped the light switch on. I quietly leaned out of the door, from the room I was in.....without him seeing me.....I switched the light off again. Scout started crying.....again. "Mommy is scaring me!" He whined to his dad. "Buddy, Mommy is winning. You'd better get up there and find her."
That fueled Scout for a moment.....he came dashing upstairs with full fire. I unloaded a bullet or two.....he ran away, with his back to me. So I ran into another location and hid. This time, I was in the dark master bathroom underneath the vanity. He saw where I went.....and with trepidation, he crept towards the door. He began flinging 7 year old foul language....."You stupid!.....You're an idiot!.....You big fat......" Then he went blank.....couldn't think of another slander. Good thing. He stepped into the door. I started barking like an obnoxious dog, at a junk yard.
That put him over the edge. In a matter of 15 minutes or less, the game was over. Biker Man was afraid Scout may need mental, and emotional intervention.
We all took a moment to calm down and regroup. Scout was so upset and angry. "You didn't play by the rules." "There were no rules Buddy." I responded. "You just didn't expect Mommy to be so good at Nerf war." "No we didn't!" Biker Man piped in, with a twinkle in his eye.....(he was impressed).
"Buddy.....I want you to think about our game. How many bullets do you have left?" I inquired. "None." Scout responded. "See how many I have....." I showed him my bullets, and pointed out the fact that I had many. "I won.....not by power. But with my mind. I was able to make you hesitate, and somewhat fearful.....my tactics played tricks on your mind. That is how I won. That is what being a spy is all about. Spies are VERY smart.....you have to do well in school.....be a good listener, follow instructions, and be a good observer, to be a spy. You MUST be brave, and overcome fear." He listened quietly.....and then gave me a hug.....for playing with him.
A friend told me that he would never forget that evening.....or what he learned. I overheard him telling R2D2, a few days later, about it. "You don't want to play with Mommy. She's R-E-A-L-L-Y good!" I realized that despite Scout's upset or anger with me while playing.....I gained some respect from him, and earned part of his heart. But.....
.....he hasn't asked me to play since.
In the meantime.....I continue to seize opportunities to pilfer bullets......to be ready for next time.