First the build-up. The bean bag game sits carelessly by the couch as though left there by an un-scheming Grandma. Suzie is too excited to see us to notice it when she gets home from school, but when Alan arrives home, he hones in on it.
“What’s that, Nana?”
“It’s a bean bag toss game for us to play, Alan.”
“Can we play now?”
“Not right now; we’re going out to dinner. We’ll play tomorrow after Day Care, okay? Suzie will play, too.”
“Okay. I will play, and I will get the bean bag in, and I will get three points!” So young, yet he already knows the game.
Friday is a long day, and when we pick up our boy, the young women tell me, ‘We hear you have a bean bag game to play.”
“Yes, we do. We’re going to play as soon as we get home.”
“I’m going to win! I’m going to win!”
I’m a little bit worried about his focus on winning. I mean, he’s three; is he going to be able to toss the bean bag into the net? Will he be crushed if he can’t?
On the way home, our plan is crimped. I had thought we would take the it outside in the lovely sunshine. However, dark clouds gather, and it begins to rain. When we get hom, Suzannah and Papa are playing an i-pad game, but Alan and I carry the game up to his room. He's pretty excited about it and pretty excited that he'll be able to play without sharing, too.
We unpack it. In their wisdom, the manufacturers have included TWO small tables of targets. Alan helps me jam the legs into the odd-angled receptacles. I am sure, in his newly-found masculinity (“I’m not cute; I’m COOL!”) he will want the three blue bean bags, but he opts for the red ones.
He is still small enough that his fingers seek the tag on one bag, stroking it, holding the bag by it, letting its weight swing. He cradles all three in his arms and walks right up to one target. He drops a bag in each the five point netting, one in the 10 point netting and one in the 15 point netting. “I win!” He dances around, yelling with triumph,“I got three points! I won, Nana! I won!”
Now it is my turn. I stand four feet away from my own target – a distance from which it is nearly impossible to miss – and toss in my bean bags.
There is not a begrudging bone in Alan’s little body. The dance is repeated with the same ecstasy and glee. “You won, Nana! You won!”
We play for another 10 minutes before Suzannah joins us, and the bean bags instantly morph into baby kangaroos who have to go to sleep in the target nets. They are stuffed in with pieces of fabric tucked around them for blankets. The lights go off. Alan climbs into his cot, pulls up a quilt and then jumps up and turns the light on. With great satisfaction, “I was naughty!” There is mad hopping all around and much screaming and laughter. I think Kangaroo Bean Bag Hop may be the best game I ever played.
And guess what? We won!
The perfect grandchildren with their peanut butter-banana caterpillars.