Playing With Jacks

Birthday party goody bags–my girls love them! This past Sunday, they were both invited to a party. Inside their treat bags, along with assorted chocolates, stickers and other fun surprises, was a set of jacks!

Pink bouncy ball with multicolored jacks

Of course, Lily and Emmy had no idea what “jacks” are. It became my mission to teach them how to play as soon as we got home.

First, we had to find a suitable playing surface.

Not outside; the sidewalk is too rough and would scrape little hands.

Not in the living room; the ball wouldn’t bounce on the carpet.

Not in the the kitchen; the floor is too crummy and sticky.

But in each of their bedrooms, they have hardwood floors–perfect!

I scattered the jacks on the floor, like multicolored stars scattered across a shining amber sky. Sitting back on my heels, I tried to recall how I used to play. I showed Lily and Emmy how to bounce the ball, (let it bounce only once!) capture a jack and then catch the ball with the same hand.

This whole process was a little difficult for the girls. It was a little difficult for me. (It’s been a long time since my sister and I played jacks on our own hardwood floor in our shared bedroom.)

I told Lily to practice bouncing and catching the ball first, before trying to capture a jack and the ball. Then I started playing to see if I could catch each jack (the original onesies). SUCCESS!

So I tried the next level–twosies–grabbing two jacks at a time.

Those large plastic, multicolored jacks, perfect for little hands, were too big. The ball was too big. I couldn’t fit two jacks and the ball in my hand at the same time.

I wished for some small metal jacks with a small ball, like the kind my sister and I used to play with. (I wonder, where did that set of jacks go?)

Emmy deserted us after just a couple of minutes. Lily practiced bouncing the ball for a while, but soon they were both off playing somewhere else. At this age, Lily and Emmy would rather act out Tangled and take turns being Rapunzel and Mother. They are in a princess state-of-mind.

One day, I think they’ll enjoy playing jacks together, just like my sister and I did.

One day, maybe they’ll even let their ol’ mom join in for a game or two.

(One day, when both Emmy and Lily are at school, maybe this ol’ mom will find her own set of jacks and practice!)

Simple BPM

Visit Alita Jewel’s Treasures for more Intentional Living through Simple Moments.

What childhood game did you enjoy? What do you look forward to teaching your children?

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The Ups and Downs of Balloons

Balloons and I have a love/hate relationship.

At first, balloons are so colorful and perky. They float on the top of their ribbons like they don’t have a care in the world. I admit to succumbing to their charms; I have procured many a balloon for Lily and Emmy.

When Lily was about 2 and a half, she got a red balloon at the mall. It was summertime, and when we went to the parking lot, the wind blew the balloon against the hot metal of the car. POP! That was the end of that balloon. Lily cried and cried. My heart broke for her, so I pulled into a Party City and replaced the free balloon with a more expensive, Dora replacement balloon.

The day after you bring balloons home? They are limp, lying on the ground with a hangover. They are still the most wonderful toy EVER, though, according to a certain toddler.

I hate these sad balloons hanging around the house. I usually try to sneak the balloons off quietly. First, I snip off the ribbons. Lily decorated her dresser once with a discarded pink balloon ribbon, Fancy Nancy style. Then, when the girls are sleeping, I let the air out of the balloons and they “disappear.”

The other day, while Emmy was napping, I came across a balloon lying on the floor and put it out of its misery. Unfortunately, I forgot that it was Lily’s balloon, and she saw me. She started crying and crying. She remembered that time I had taken her to buy a replacement and demanded that we go buy another balloon. I said no. She cried even harder about her balloon which I had purposely popped.

I remembered that we had a package of water balloons, left over from summer. I brought out a yellow one and tried to blow it up for Lily. I couldn’t budge it just by blowing. So I filled it in the sink, let the water out, and then the balloon was much easier to blow up. I tied a ribbon around the knot, and even though this balloon didn’t fly up into the air, it brought Lily’s smile back.

I’m such a sucker for balloons.