Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Something Intelligent

At the head of the dinner table every night in my household of origin sat my father. At the opposite end sat my mother, probably (I realize now) exhausted from a day of cleaning, cooking, getting five kids to do the stuff we should and shuttling us to our various activities. In between, sat the five kids. Us.

And nearly every night, we'd be indulging in some sort of vapid silliness, my brothers mocking their teachers with humorous precision, my sisters and I guiltily guffawing, while my dad attended with great concentration to the task of consuming his well-balanced dinner. Either he was considering some of the thornier patients he'd dealt with that day or some of the more opaque prophecies in the book of Revelation, I'm guessing. Anyway, all of sudden the plate would appear empty and my dad would look up from his work like Shackleton returning from an enforced stay at the South Pole to find the globe engaged in World War I.

"Does anyone have anything intelligent to say?" he'd inquire.


Absent any resulting conversation topics, we'd resort to quizzing each other from the National Geographic Global Pursuit game. We got pretty good at geography.

Just in case you, too, find yourself at a loss for meaningful, edifying conversation at your own dinner table, I'd like to present a little pastime we stumbled across a few nights ago. (Across which we stumbled, that is.)

The youngest child picks a letter, any letter. Each family member is assigned a part of speech -- noun, verb, adjective, adverb. Like this:

Caroline: Letter H!

Ian, noun: Hippo!

Eliza, verb: hiccuped!

Tim, adjective: hip!

Me, adverb: hideously!

All together now: The hip hippo hiccuped hideously!

We also came up with Chip cheerfully chomped chocolate chips and The terrible torpedo tastefully trumpeted toots.

Because of course, according to Newton's Fifth Law of Multiple Children Gathered at a Table, there must, at some point in the discussion, be gas.

Enjoy educating, enormously.


Jenny said...

Cute game!

Anonymous said...

Great sentences come out of that game -I like it. I've always liked alliteration.

Raji P. said...

Brilliant!! Find a name for the game, put it in a colorful box, and get it in stores in time for Christmas, $29.99!

em said...

LOVELY idea Hannah! Thanks for sharing. :D

Tim said...

curious: crazy commenter crafts charming contrived contribution

nicole r said...

omgosh that sounds so fun! seriously i would LOVE this game :)

Vanessa said...

OK, now that is a game I would love to play at the dinner table. Can't wait for the kids to get a little older to play that. I wonder if Sam would be interested playing it with me?