Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OK, So First We Put This . . . Wait, No, We Toss This . . . Huh?

As a nanny, I've encountered a variety of situations: surprising, enlightening, difficult, frustrating, etc. But the recurring frustration of one particular problem finally reached critical mass today. Namely, the mind-boggling habit of throwing away the instruction booklets that come with children's games. There seems to be an epidemic!

Now, don't get me wrong, I put a lot of the blame on the manufacturers. Why they don't print the instructions on the box is beyond me. But then . . . I guess you're limited to only one or two languages, depending on the size of the box, whereas you have no limit when printing in a booklet; and who doesn't enjoy studying those funky Chinese symbols while your kids wait impatiently to play the game?

The reasoning behind the method of printing them, however, is unimportant. The matter at hand is the unusual practice of discarding this all-important document. Have any of you tried to play children's games these days? They're mostly electronic and far from self-explanatory. Up to now I've been able to muddle my way through on common sense and basic reasoning capabilities; but "UNO Moo!" was a new one on me, and I was completely stumped by the seemingly innocuous little plastic barn full of spherical animals of various colors; so I had to ask the five year old how to play.

I can't even begin to remember half of the gibberish he spouted at me, but it was a lot of pointless maneuvers without any objective. When I tried to insert a bit of logic and a motive into his unrelated mess of instructions, he declared, "No, I'm the judge, and what you're saying is against the rules!"

As I had yet to figure out even the first step, we argued in circles until I happened upon a barn door that actually opened and he suddenly remembered a whole new set of disjointed commands we were to follow. Somehow, out of this we managed to cobble together a decent game, which I won; but this in no way dissuades me from my original point.

So to all you parents out there, current or future, especially those who intend to hire a nanny at some point: save the instruction booklets! Even you may be grateful some day.