# The Worst Game Ever!

#### Jim Noonan

Seriously!?  Ruby only has one diaper left?  ARGHHHH!  I hate going solo to the store with the girls; bad things always happen… very bad things.  For a minute I try to mathematically figure out if this diaper will last the whole day.  If it did, then I can go to Target when Cathy gets home.  So let's see, it's 9:30 right now, and Cathy will get home around 6:30.  Soooooo, that's 9 hours divided by an average of 5 diaper changes, times the amount of diapers in stock (1 on and 1 off) and that equals…. negligence.  Oh wait, what if I carry the remainder of X and….. Damn, it still equals negligence.  I quickly search over the house for spare diapers.  For some reason I assume that Cathy has been stocking up on provisions for a possible nuclear war, and in a last ditch effort I check under the sink.  Alas, there are none to be found.   Crap!  We're going to Target.

After the realization sets in, I now have to actually prepare for the trip.  Anytime I leave the house with the girls, there are 3 basic steps I have to follow.  I have to get girls dressed, load the diaper bag and finally, get wallet, keys and coupons.  All this now has to be done before Ruby goes through 2 diapers.  From start to finish I'd say we have 2 hours…Shall we?

Step 1

"Lu get your shoes on.  I don't care which ones, we gotta get moving."  I learned that when you give her a choice, she's more likely to do what she's told.

"Frog boots okay Da?"

"Yup.  Frog boots are good."  Perfect, one down one to go.

Ruby was a breeze, she's at my mercy.  Blue onesie, orange pants, green socks… I take a step back and look at my creation… good god, she looks like the Joker! ….. Ah well.

"How do I look Daddy?"  Lucy enters the room.  She's wearing a tiara, a T-shirt so small I could see her heart beating,  jean shorts which I'm sure were actually full length at one time, a brown corduroy skirt with knitted flowers around the waist, pink sunglasses and of course her green frog boots.  For a split second I wondered if Tim Burton had dressed her, "You look like a princess, honey (a crazy princess!), let's go."

Step 2

Wipes
Extra onesie
Cheerios
Quarters
Bink
Bib
Squeaky toys
Jar of baby food in case of nuclear war
Little rubber tipped spoon and….
The last diaper in the house

Step 3

Coupons:  Need it, need it, don't need it, kinda wanna try it, we can always use toilet paper, no, no, no… good.  Next I shove all these coupons in my pocket where they will stay for the duration of the trip.  When I get back home, I'll empty out my pockets and there they'll be… the coupons.  I don't even know why I cut them out; I forget to use them every time.  Next, I grab my wallet and my keys.  My wallet and…. my keys.  My wallet and my… where are my keys?  They're almost always in the same place.  I check the bowl by the coffee pot, the bowl by the phone, the bowl on the dresser.  I check the kitchen table, yesterday's pants pockets, today's pants pockets and finally the key holes in both the front and back doors, nothing.  I stop, scratch my head and then resign myself to make the forehead skin scrunching face of confusion.  Where are they?

"Lu, have you seen my keys?"

"Umm yes."  Cool. For a minute I thought I lost them.  Keys are the fourth scariest thing to lose, right behind your wallet, your car and your kids (We'll get to this on a later date).

"Great, can you get them for me?"

"Actually."  Uh-oh.  For the past two weeks the word "actually" has found its way into Lucy's vocabulary, and it is usually a precursor to an ominous change in the conversation.

"Actually what?"

"Actually, I took them."

Immediately I knew where this was leading.  Along with her new found love of the word "actually," she had also learned and became quite proficient at hiding things for sport.  She did this once with her beloved "Yucky Duck."  This little game took a week to play mainly because immediately after she hid it, she forgot where she hid it.  I stare straight into her beady little eyes.  She matches my stare, then cocks an eyebrow and grins.  No wait, it was more like an evil smile… yeah, an evil slimy little smile.  I knew that if I spooked her in any way, I'd shock the location of those keys right out of her head.  Time was not on my side.   Ruby was in the corner chewing on a potato.  Not a piece of potato, a whole potato.  She physically opened the cabinet, grabbed a spud and was now gumming it like a savage animal.  The air is still void of poo, but it won't be long before the storm arrives… no it won't be long at all.

"Lu, we need the keys to go to the store.  I'm not mad.  This was a fun game, and you're the best hider in the world.  Do you remember where you put my keys?"  She's silent.  I offer her a cookie as a token of good faith.  She never gets sweets at home, it's eaten before it leaves my hand.

"Thanks Da."  I repeat the question again; she wipes the crumbs off her face and looks up at me with these big ole doe eyes.  Oh no, no no no… don't say it. Don't!

"I think I can't remember."  Son-of-a….. I knew it!   It was the cookie.  The sweet sugar of the cookie caused an influx in memory-eating cells.  The only thing she can think of is that stupid cookie.

"That was a good cookie." Ahhhhh.  We're never gonna find the keys.  The "plan B" I had, was to trot down to Walgreens and spend 4x the fair market value for Pampers, but it is absolutely pouring out.  Ruby has gnawed the potato into a wet sticky paste. As a matter of fact, I'm sure she has physically glued herself to the dining room floor.  If I don't move her before the potato paste dries, I'm gonna need a chisel.   I start the questioning, "Where was the last place you had them?"  She looks puzzled by this question.  She also looks puzzled after several other questions, like:  "Why did you take them?"  "Are they in your room?"  "Did Daddy Do Something Wrong?" And many many more…

I search the entire house.  Lucy follows close behind just in case she gets a feeling.  Ruby has now become a human fly trap, there are at least 12 things plastered to her, including a spoon to the back of her neck.  Every time Lucy thinks she remembers where she hid them, we end up finding something we thought was lost forever. Treasures which include my phone charger, I-pod earphones and a Dido CD. After about 30 minutes, I give up.  I grab Ruby who has been unwillingly motionless for the last 15 minutes, and change the diaper I'm sure she filled when she realized she couldn't detach her ear from her shoulder.  Crap!  Now we're gonna have to go to Walgreens.  I was not at all thrilled about this.  It was still pouring, and now I'll be in towing 2 kids through Chicago's first monsoon.  I put in the Dido CD to take the edge off.

Ruby looked like a little frankfurter stuffed in her stroller which was covered by a clear vinyl tarp.  Lucy was wearing all the same accoutrements, only they were now covered by a ladybug rain coat.  Of course Cathy had taken my umbrella and I don't have anything close to being appropriate for a category 3 storm.  I'm wearing flip-flops that flipped and flopped mud streaks straight up my back, shorts that continue to get tighter as they get wetter and an ill fitting tan colored shirt, which when wet shows off my man nipples perfectly.  We look like we just moved here from Mars!

We finally get to Walgreens, locate the gold plated diapers (they were \$10 more than Target, and half the size) stuff them inside of Ruby's vinyl sanctuary, which was completely fogged over and is dangerously close to becoming a rain forest on wheels.  I unzip the air vent and a whoosh of steam fills the air and wilts everything on the magazine rack. We pay and head home.  Unbelievably, it's raining harder.  My phone rings, I look down, it's Cath.  I pull the stroller over under a store front canopy.

"Yeah?"

"I hate when you answer the phone like that."  This little exchange happens every time she calls.  "I just wanted to tell you that when I got to work I noticed that I had your keys in my purse."  I looked at Lucy who was stomping in a puddle.

"Lucy said she hid them.  I spent half of the morning searching the house, all I found was a charger, some earphones and a Dido CD."

"You found Dido?"

"Yeah!"

"Sweet!"

"I know right!"  I finish the conversation and hang up the phone, at this point I'm sure I'm about to be struck by lightning.  I pull Lu next to me.

"Lu, do you think you hid daddy's keys in mommy's purse?

"Oh yeah!  You did it daddy, you found the keys, good job, give me five."  I gave her five, and watched as she jumps around singing "You did it, you did it, you're the winner!"  I wasn't sure how to react, she was happy and hell, I was a "winner."

"Lu, why did you put the keys in mommy's purse?

"I think so you wouldn't find them."

"Well I didn't find them, mommy did.  She found them when she got to work."

"Mommy found them?

"Yeah, I couldn't really find them, since they were at mommy's work and not actually in the house."

"Well you said you found them, did you fib?" Hmm…. where is this going?

"Technically, your mom found them, so I guess I fibbed."  I have no idea why I'm having this conversation.

"Well daddy… I think if mommy found them, then she is the winner."  Now I'm sure I know where this is going.  "I guess you're the loser, right?"  I take a quick look around.  I'm soaked to the bone, my nipples are chafed and my 3 year old has just got me to admit to a fib.  I couldn't find any fault in her assessment.

After a second I give her what she needs…

"Yup, that appears to be the case."