Dad U is gasping for breath while the tribe implores in unison: "ONE MORE TIME!!!".
"No" is the reply, "It's time to calm down. Before Mom gets home....".
Yes, it's the semi-regular "Time to play Stupid Games with Dad (SGD)" time. For some unexplained reason this event nearly always occurs when Mom is out. The most requested SGD in our house is called Hi-ki Hi-ki ("high-key"). It's called that because that was the meaningless threat that came out of Dad U's mouth when he jumped out from behind a door about 7 yrs ago and chased his eldest son to his room with a fly swat. No-one has any idea why (ED: neither the name OR why). But that minor detail hasn't stopped it becoming the all time favorite SGD. After some further consideration (ED: editorial input), the fly swat was replaced with a kitchen bowl scraper, probably because it gets washed more often. The exact objectives of the game are not clear. The role of the kids seems to be (a) cower in the bedroom until they agree that Dad U is probably not waiting in the hallway just outside the door, then (b) push the most vulnerable out first, just in case he is, then (c) gingerly tiptoe throughout the house until they spot him, if he doesn't find them first. The role of Dad U is to (a) hide somewhere he is not easily discovered, but from where (b) a sudden pounce onto prey can be effected, followed by (c) a determined attempt to corner and (this is the somewhat bizarre attraction of he game: perceived violence) SWAT the victim before they escape. From this point the prey typically exhibits a "fight or flight" response and indicates that backup may be required, or more likely, runs screaming back they way they came, collecting siblings in the process, until they retreat behind the slamming bedroom door. The process is then repeated until the predator runs out of energy and collapses on a couch, looking like the cheetah that didn't get the springbok. Dad U recommends a minimum 10 min recovery time before Mom gets home.
Another favorite SGD is the Sunday Scruff. The Sunday Scruff was initiated when Dad U realized he would soon run out of the ability to keep ahead of his boys desire to wrestle and roughhouse. The idea behind the Sunday Scruff was to institutionalize the activity, placing it on the schedule, but at the same time defining its limits as one session per week. Genius! Now the game has become to trick a member of the opposition team (which splits easily, Dad U vs anyone under 13), to within throwing range of the big bed, sometime between getting home from church and lunch on, as the name suggests, Sundays. "Oh, gross, who locked the cat in!!!", "Hey, who left a stormtrooper in here!" and "whose money is this?" have all be used to entrap the first victim. Once word has spread that its ON, a general pile up ensues until Dad U perceives that either the minimum length of acceptable scruff time has been exceeded, or that the risk of eventual "knee-to-head" injury is rising rapidly.
Actually, SGD's start very early in dadhood. You were doing it when you pulled faces at your baby to make them grin or giggle, or tossed them way higher than the comfort level of their Mom (ED: hmmm). The best SGD's are the ones you invent spontaneously with them. My girls each have an individual saying, while meaningless in itself ("I like M&M's" is one), means that I have to give them A goodnight kiss when invoked at bedtime Since they share a room, a kissing war often results, which must sound ridiculous. The thing is, a kids desire to have special fun times with their Dad is hardwired. And it doesn't go away, it just morphs into more detailed options (eg treehouses (check), airsoft wars (check), prairie houses (don't pester)).