One day my daughter came home and announced that she had a new game to play with me. I, of course, was ambivalent. Cressy likes to play, she's seven, so that's a no brainer. New games are part and parcel of life with a seven year old.
"So what's the game?" I said.
"Alligator," Cressy answers in an ominous voice (or as ominous as a 7 year old about to giggle can get.)
"How do you play it?"
"One of us is the alligator," she said. "And the other one...runs away."
At this point I'm reminded of a game that HIM, the man I'm married to, and HIM's dad used to play when HIM was Cressy's age. They called it, 'Bear,' and that was probably because they hadn't thought of a more vicious animal. Papa would sit in a chair in the middle of a dark room. HIM and HIM's older sister would be on opposite sides of the room. The object of the game was for the siblings to trade places without getting eaten by the bear, who was played by Papa, who would growl convincingly and attempt to maul and otherwise consume unwary children who dared play the game with him. Amongst shrieking, giggling, and other stuff, the game went down into history as the one that gave HIM nightmares about bears. (And I have a great story about bears and my MIL that I'm not permitted to tell, so I'm clenching my teeth in frustration right now.) Anyhoo, as soon as Cressy said, 'Alligator,' I thought of the Bear game.
And that reminds me of the last time we went to Louisiana to visit Papa and he took Cressy to see this local alligator who really, really, really likes Ritz Crackers:
Back to the game. I suspected that mostly I would be the alligator and that I would be attempting to catch my daughter. Then I wondered what the hell they were teaching her at elementary school. (Was I letting her watch channels she shouldn't watch? No. Watching Disney channel. No man eating alligators there. Watching Nick Jr. No man eating alligators there. Watching Discovery Channel. Some man eating alligators there but mostly just pumpkin chunking and guys blowing things up, which causes other future problems that I'm not going to think about right now. Watching some Animal Planet. Yes, some man eating alligators drifting around the water there, but she only gets to watch World's Funniest Animals and Pet Star. I could understand it if I let her watch something like RuPaul's Drag Race or Housewives of Ho City, but hey I believe I'm digressing.) Dang. Where does the kid get these ideas?
Then the rules of the game, 'Alligator,' commenced. All alligators were to chomp their teeth repeatedly, as if preparing to consume their prey. Alligators had little stubby arms like T-Rex in the dinosaur museum. Alligators in this game can walk on all fours but when Cressy is playing the alligator, the alligator can magically walk on two legs upright. However, if Mommy is the alligator, Cressy may run to her bed and it is BASE, the wondrous place where all potential alligator victims are safe, safeity, safe. (Alligators who touch BASE fall over dead instantly and sometimes combust internally. Very ugly and messy.) Cressy victims always get a head start while Cressy alligators get a head start. Mommy victims are usually savagely eaten while Mommy alligators starve to death because their victims have escaped to BASE. (I was getting the impression that Cressy alligators and Cressy victims have somewhat of a Darwinian edge.)
Then the game was on. I was designated 'it,' which meant I was the alligator. My prey, swiftly and with horselike giggles, eluded me by running to her bed and screaming, "BASE!" This was followed by the nanny-nanny-doo-doo song accompanied by a butt wiggle of demeaning proportion. (That'll teach me to dare to want to ravage my prey in a typical alligator fashion. Oh, woe is the slow, fat, middle aged alligator.) (And to the person who just asked about the nanny-nanny doo-doo song. The complete lyrics are, 'Nanny, nanny doo-doo, stick your head in poo-poo.' And I know where she got that from because I taught it to her in the purest form of a WTFWIT? moment.) (WTFWIT = What The Fuck Was I Thinking?)
Fortunately for me, the game got old fast. Then it transmogrified into two alligators hanging out, talking alligator smack, putting down boy alligators, comparing alligator songs, and the like. (And I kept forgetting to chomp appropriately and BTW, a group of alligators is called a congregation.) The Cressy alligator finally announced she was hungry and that she was going to get some 'food' in the living room. I remained on the bed haunted by my alligator psychosomatic inadequacies. (Personal factoid: while there isn't a specific fear for alligators, the fear of reptiles is called herpetophobia. I know that when I'm personally shrieking in fear while levitating off the ground when I've seen a snake anywhere near my feet, I often stop and point out that the fear of reptiles is called herpetophobia.) While I was lambasting in my failure to be a truly vicious carnivore reptile, there was a scream from the living room followed by rapid chomping. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP! Then Cressy alligator returned to the nest victorious with her prizes, imaginary human legs for lunch. "Did you hear that?" she explained to me, proud that she had made sounds for both parts. "That was the little girl I ate. Here, eat a leg."
And what could I do? I ate an imaginary leg with her. I would have put imaginary ketchup on it but I was fresh out and the imaginary kitchen was far away from the nest.
This was followed by more talking alligator smack and putting alligator daddies down. (Poor HIM, he gets the shit end of the stick even when HIM isn't home.)
Then Cressy asked if she could tell a scary story. Why, yes, dear. I love to hear scary stories. I used to read Stephen King for breakfast. So here was the scary story.
Once there were kids who went outside at night.
And the Bunny refused to show them the eggs.
So the zombie kids ate the Easter Bunny. (They call that Hasenpfeffer where I'm from. All you need is some onions and a roux.) They found the chocolate eggs and ate them too.
Then the zombie kids turned back into kids and lived happily ever after.
And it's moments like this that I completely disregard the notion that Cressy has too much OCD like her daddy and I know that stories like that come straight out of MY DNA. Sigh.