Hide and Seek


“Hide-and-seek, grown-up style. Wanting to hide.
Needing to be sought. Confused about being found.”
― All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

There’s certainly something about being an adult and feeling the need to hide. And then there’s the opposite end of that spectrum – watching our children learn how to play the quintessential game of childhood that will eventually haunt all our adult lives (metaphorically).

To be blunt, at age 3, they suck.

Given the advanced aptitude demonstrated in utero as my soon-to-be preterm babes ducked and dodged the (non-stress-test) heart-rate monitor, they have clearly regressed.

“Let’s play!” we encouraged the boys. Jon began counting. I served as coach and shuttled the boys off to hide.

They summersaulted off the couch. “5…6…7…” Jon called from the kitchen.

Destroy was on his stomach, army crawling toward the media center in the living room. He slid into the bottom cabinet and pulled the door closed.

Wow, I thought. That’s actually a really good hiding spot.

“Close it, Search!” he gleefully cried.

No, I intervened. There would be no locking one’s brother in an enclosed furniture crawlspace via a child safety latch. That’s actually a really terrible idea.

“8…9…10! Ready or not, here I come!” yelled Jon. “Hmm, where could they be? Are they in the china hutch?” I heard him ask as he made his way toward the living room.

“No!” giggled Destroy from his cubby.

Search ducked beneath the shelves next to the television. This area had no doors. But being the clever preschooler he is about to become, he requested I place the spherical foam roller and Hip Hop Mickey in front of his hiding place.

Jon entered the living room. The media cabinet door slid open and a cherubic little face grinned out at us. Not exactly stealth, kid.

Having been found, it was the muppets turn to tag-team and find Dad. “1…4…10!” they screamed.

And sprinted back to their hiding places. “No! You come find us now!” I attempted to clear up the confusion, and we went in search of Jon.

Finally I had to step in and help. “Did you look behind the closet door that’s propped open with the light on inside?”

They looked. And came running right back to me. “Look again.”

They sprinted back toward their hiding places. From within the entertainment center they yelled out, “Come find us!”

When Uncle Jeffrey joined us later in the evening, Search and Destroy were eager to get him in on the game.

When Uncle Jeffrey joined us later in the evening, Search and Destroy were eager to get him in on the game.

“Ok, ok,” he acquiesced. (Mostly because I’m pretty sure he was officially exhausted and worn out from playing “Throw Me Up in the Air While Giving My Brother a Piggyback Ride” version DO IT AGAIN for 45 minutes straight.)

“1…10! Now come find us!” the boys squealed with delight.

I reiterated the general concept of the game. Hide AND Seek. “But we can’t find him,” Search argued.

Where was Uncle Jeffrey cloaked in secrecy so invisible nary a nephew could find him? He was sitting on the fourth step of the staircase. Behind an open slatted railing.

The remaining hour before bedtime was spent curled away in the chosen cabinet, as the tiny peoples begged to be found and the not-so-tiny people playing grownup searched the living room high and low.

Good news – I managed to find several missing Hot Wheel cars underneath the couch.

Better news – the muppets are clearly geniuses (genii?). Hiding thrills them as they beg to be sought, but they’re confused as hell about being found. And we’re just about to start preschool.

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