Monday, August 28, 2006

Oh the Games We Used to Play!

Thinking about having my own kids makes me think about my childhood. Aside from angsty nobody-loves-me episodes (which I think have morphed into the adult funks), I had a pretty great childhood. Sure we never had much money, and I didn't have the latest toys, but we sure had a lot of fun.

I sort of pity the kids these days, oversheltered, artificially stimulated kids. They spend hours in front of the computer and TV and they miss out on the sheer joy of inventing games out of nothing at all (sounds like an Air Supply song).

Most of our favorite games involved no expensive gadgets or toys and we always had a blast. These are the ones I remember:

Rum Raisin
This game was named after our moms' favorite chocolate at that time. My cousin Nikki and I assumed that anything with "rum" in the name would definitely be intoxicating, hence the mechanics of the game. All we needed was an open space (the bigger the better) and at least two people. All you had to do was spin and spin and spin around till you were really dizzy. Then you drape your arms around each other's shoulders and try to walk in a straight line, saying "Rum Raisin". We could play this game endlessly. Well, not really--it did have a limit, also known as the puking point.

Terrible Tunnel
Terrible Tunnel was a special game played only during summer, when my brother was visiting from Manila. We'd need a mattress rolled out on the floor (the regular foam mattresses, not the spring box ones--this mattress was only brought out when we had guests sleeping over) and at least four people. The object of the game was to crawl through the 'terrible tunnel' (the mattress rolled into something like a brazo de mercedes) while the other people simulated a horrific storm, shaking the mattress, sitting on it, making howling wind noises. My brother, by virtue if being the biggest player, usually won at this. Many times I'd get so pikon I'd end up not talking to him for the entire day. We'd usually make up at night, just in time for another game of Terrible Tunnel.

Shark Shark
You'd need a double deck bed for this, as well as a lot of pillows, stuffed toys and other soft things you can use to make a barrier (once we used a toy robot and someone ended up crying). I guess it's obvious we watched a lot of Jaws and Orca back in those days. The 'shark' or the it would try to eat the people in the boat, protected by flimsy barriers also known as stuffed toys. Any body part the shark could reach was fair game. Whoever got eaten first would be the next shark. Of course my sister Rix was such a saling pusa back then she'd insist on joining and we'd always make her the shark. But since she was too short to reach anything back then, even when jumping, we'd eventually get bored and look for something else to play (side story--I don't know if Rix remembers this. Once we were playing on the top deck of the bed and something fell down. Rather than climb down to get it, I had the brilliant idea of holding Rix by her ankles and lowering her over the side of the bed. Too late did I realize that she was too heavy for me, and either we both fall off the bed or I drop her. Guess which option self-preserving me chose. Am so bad!).

House House
I don't know why we name our games double words. Maybe it's a literal translation of bahay-bahayan. House House could be played anywhere. But our favorite place was the garden of my best friend Rej's house. She had this fabulous poinsettia tree with amazing branches that you could comfortably sit on, even lie down (precariously) on. So we'd have our own 'rooms' (branches) and the rest of the garden would be the rest of the house. Of course tag-along Rix wanted in on the fun, and being the mean older sister that I was, we'd make her 'room' under this ugly tree on the far side of the garden.

On time Rej got a clay cooking set for her birthday, and we decided to cook real food. One of our friends brought a can of sardines and in the spirit of House House, I deigned to take a bite. I've been eating sardines ever since (not even my mom could make me do that before!).

Hot Iron
I think this was our hands-down, all-time favorite. Hot Iron honed our role-playing and impromptu dialogue skills. The very basic things this game needed was a balloon (the regular blow-up-till-you're-breathless kind, not the helium-filled ones) and a lot of imagination.

The bare bones scenario involved a talkative maid and her snooty senora. The maid would be ironing clothes with the balloon (miraculously transformed into a burning hot iron) and would somehow forget to turn the iron off. When the senora came home, she'd discover that the iron was burning down her house. She or the maid would try to grab the iron, which of course was extremely hot--and the entire game proceeded something like Hot Potato, and the whole point was to not let the balloon touch anything. Other players were easily assimilated into the game as the husband, the house guests, the kids, the nosy neighbors, the other house help. Now the excitement and fun came in the dialogue that you had to keep up as you tossed the balloon to and fro. For some reason, Tagalog was the preferred language for this game, and crooked as our Tagalog was, we'd speak it.


Of course, we had our share of computer games (I think we even started with Atari!) and Barbie dolls. But the games I remember and cherish the most are these silly, silly ones that gave us tons of fun. I only wish that my kids could have as much fun as we did.

What games did you used to play?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

So There, Take Two

As I've said before, people ask me, "Are you pregnant?"

Now I say, "Yup, 8 weeks and counting."



We want twins.

I just wish I wasn't sleepy all the time.