“Mama, you wanna battle?”
We were packing away the markers and the BIG GIANT DIEGO COLORING BOOK so that we could all sit down and have dinner. Together. As a family.
I’d just spent 20 minutes coloring Diego and a baby jaguar and was high on the quality kid time I’ve been missing lately. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for agreeing.
“Sure, baby. After dinner. Maybe we can all battle,” I suggested, thinking perhaps Pokemon would have better luck luring Devin out of his room for some family interaction.
“Yesssss! Deeeviiiiin! We’re gonna baaaattttle!” she ran off into the cave known as her big brother’s room.
I set the table, Jared pulled the pork chops off the grill, and we sat down to eat. Together. As a family. While everyone chewed and said please and thank you and de nada, I reveled in the Cleaver-ness of it all.
I fucking rock at this parenting thing, I though to myself.
Everyone finished eating, we cleared the table and rinsed dishes and took the extra 30 seconds to load the dishwasher. I think somone even wiped off the table. Immediately. After dinner. Before anything had a chance to dry and crust.
We are the most awesome family ever.
I was practically humming with joy and smugness.
“Time to battle!” Emma whooped.
We gathered on the floor in Emma’s room around two stacks of cards. Emma and I sat on one side facing Jared and Devin. Hasboro called and asked if we could be the most perfect example of family game night ever.
“OK, Mom, you and Emma go first,” Devin instructed.
“Um, yeah, um,” I stared at the stack of cards Emma had gathered up in her hands. The anime creatures and fanastic names stared back at me. “Emma, which one do you want?”
“I pick BLARSHBABBLE!” she slammed a card down on the rug.
“Hmmm…” Devin stared at the card and seemed to be… thinking? Understanding? Having some comprehension of what just happened?
“OK, Dad, we’re going to play FARFIGNUGLETRON…” and he carefully laid one of his cards on the rug next to the one Emma had just “played”.
He looked up at me and I could tell he was waiting for something.
“What? Do I do something?”
“Yeah, what are you going to do?”
“Um… uh.. you go first!” because your mother is a freaking genius.
“OK, we choose FIRE BOMB! BAM!” he picked up his trading card and proceeded to beat our trading card with it. Like, literally. He picked up his card and hit our card with it.
“Aw, man!” Emma moaned.
“YES!!!” Emma picked up the beaten card and tossed it to the side.
“What the – what just happened?” I asked.
“We beat you.”
“Because your weakness is gobbledeegook and our strength is jujubananas and so our hyper points knock you down and we blahbityblahblah.”
“Ohhhh, right. Of course.”
“Our turn!” Emma was oblivious to the confusion going on within her team. She picked another card from her stack and slammed it, once again, face up on the rug. “BEAUTIFLY! YES!”
“MAN!” Devin was disgusted. And possibly wounded. Or something. “OK, well, we use MEGAKOTEXAR! Ha! Down 20 points to you and up 40 me and you’re a rock and – ” he picks up the card again and starts beating ours, this time with sound effects that sound like PEW! PEW! “- ha! You’re gone! BAM! BAM!”
“What in the hell is happening here?!”
“You see, Mom, your BLAGGITYGOOK only has BLAHOIF and so HAHDFDHF and COLON and FUSION and see?”
“You are beating up my card. With a card.”
“Right!” Devin was thrilled that I seem to be catching on.
This pattern continued about five more times. Emma or I would lay downa card, Devin would proceed to brandish one of his cards like a weapon and prattle on about something before discarding our previously selected card to the side.
And then Jared started to join in. “Let’s battle ROYALE! I pick three!” and he lined up three cards from their pile before looking up at me with anticipation.
“What did you just do? What are you doing? Do you have any idea what you’re doing?”
“Yes! PEW! BAM! POW!” I swear to God that was his response. And he was waving cards at me and saying things like “fire burns grass!” and “I’m a stone! Ha!”
“This is the stupidest game I have ever seen in my life. How can you guys like this?”
I swear to God that’s exactly what I said.
Because I rock the parenting gig.
“Here Mommy,” Emma handed me her Pickachu card. “Do this one.”
“Do what with this one? What am I doing? How do you know who wins? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!”
And then the bastards exchanged looks. All of them. All three of them gave each other that look that said that I was clearly the retarded one. Yes. Me. Not the three people making up rules to games as they went along and arbitrarily deciding that one playing card was bigger and stronger than another playing card. Oh no. That is perfectly normal.
I’m the weird one.
“Yeah, um, I’m sorry guys. But I’m done here. I have no idea what is going on and nothing you’re saying is making sense and I just… can’t. I’ve reached my limits for things I will do in the name of parenting and quality time. Apparently Pokemon is the line for me.”
They rolled their eyes and shook their heads at me as I left the room.
And as I left I sent up a silent prayer that no one would ever tell my children about Dungeons and Dragons.