Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don’t Play Games with Me

One of the other games we played on Mother's Day was Krypto. Krypto is a math card game so my youngest agreed to play it only under Mother’s-Day-induced-duress. It can become a hair-pulling game (explained well at the Wikipedia link above) in which you have to mathematically manipulate five randomly drawn number cards to combine into a sixth objective number card- first.  If you don’t see the simple connections right away you tend to get easily frustrated by how close you can come to the objective.  Happily, close doesn’t cut it in math.

While playing the game, I ran into an interesting conflict of my values.  Because I am delighted that my mother is playing Sudoku, or Jumble, or other word and number games to keep her mind active, I was happy to see her on board with the idea of playing Krypto. True to herself, she was a very enthusiastic player and did not stop or become sidetracked trying to cajole the reticent twelve year-old into playing.  I appreciate this behavior more than I’ll express here.

Oddly, however, when both my mother and my twelve year-old shouted at the same time that they’d “Got it!” and my mother put her hand down on the cards, I lowered the boom on my mother’s hand like lightning!  As if my speed in slapping my hand on top of hers was not enough to make her stop her explanation of the solution – giving my daughter room to solve it – I squeezed her fingers. 

I became the Mama Bear.

In squeezing, I became the Grizzly Mama Bear.

As I felt my mother’s weakened fingers giving way under my death grip, I released them immediately.  But no matter how badly I felt about my instantaneous use of force against my mother, my clear priorities were to give my child that chance to explain her answer in the hope that she would triumph over the numbers and no longer shudder at the mere mention of math games.

My daughter gave her explanation, scored the point, and has probably learned not that playing with numbers is fun, but that playing with mom is dangerous.


Because playing Krypto is fun (minus the finger squishing) here is a hand for you to play:

Combine the number cards:

6, 7, 15, 16, 17

By using any of the four basic mathematical operations, using each card only once, and resulting in the number 20.

(After a few hours of looking at this set periodically, we gave up on it.)

It’s so simple once you see an answer


Stephen Bourque said...

You are dangerous--which is why I won't play Suds with you.

Lynne said...

Sure. That and you're too slow.