It occurred to me about a month ago that we are getting to be far too serious around here. Somehow, the demands of school and work and life had frazzled our spirits and we were all more prone to being grouchy and argumentative and just frustrated with everything around us.
Cabin fever, I suppose.
It is only natural that we catch a bad case of cabin fever, given how we usually spend a great deal of winter’s coldest months outdoors playing in the snow and this year we were stuck with rain, freezing rain, and the nasty, ugly sort of snow that doesn’t make for good playing or fort building. We were stuck indoors a lot more than usual because of the seemingly endless freezing rain this year, and we were all the grouchier for it.
And so, about a month ago, I decided we needed more silliness around here.
I blame it on Pinterest.
I saw this on Pinterest, and suddenly knew exactly how to fix our winter doldrums… we had to get silly. More specifically, we had to attack each other with Nerf guns the moment the kids walked in the door from school, and then again later in the day the moment The Man We Call Dad walked in the door from work, but you know what I mean. We needed a serious injection of silly to break us out of our rut.
A silliness project.
And so I did it.
When the kids got home, they found a note at the front door telling them to put away their things really fast, put on their safety goggles, and go into the family room. Hiding behind the door in the mudroom — a glorified closet on the way to the garage — I couldn’t help but giggle as they called out “Mom! We’re home! …Mom?” and then asked each other in puzzled voices where I was and why I wanted them to wear goggles.
Goggles on, they walked into the family room to find two cardboard boxes. One was marked with a B, the other with a K, and between the two was a note saying This one is for K, and This one is for B, and you are under attack as of NOW! They tore into the boxes, where they found loaded Nerf guns ready to go, and I stepped out from behind the door and opened fire.
Lest you think I’m a mean mother, know that I had one small mini-gun and one slightly larger pistol, the Nerf N-Strike Nightfinder EX-3, both of which shoot one shot before needing to be reloaded. Thanks to my brother, the kids were slightly better armed. K had a tommy-gun style thing, the Nerf N-Strike Clear Raider CS-35, which holds a cartridge with 30 or so darts and a fairly fast manual action, which meant he could get off 5 or 6 shots for every one of mine. And B… well! B had the best weapon in the house: the tripod-mounted Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25. which holds a magazine of 25 darts which it can fire at a fairly rapid pace in manual mode. A quick flip of the switch and it converts to a fully-automatic battery powered dart cannon that can fire 3 darts per second… and my beloved brother bought her a second magazine so that she wouldn’t run out of darts too quickly.
So, I jumped out from behind the door, fired one dart at K, one dart at B, and then ran to hide behind the kitchen island while the kids pelted my behind with darts.
It was great fun.
Half an hour later, exhausted and happy, we realized The Man We Call Dad would soon be home, and so we had better get moving.
Making dinner? Heck no! We set up one of the boxes with the N-Strike Nightfinder and left a suitable note for Dad, and then took up our positions (with the big guns, of course) upstairs. From high ground, we had a perfect vantage point through the balusters. There was no way he could get past us. So we sat, and waited, and plotted deviously.
And we waited.
Finally, we heard the garage door open, the car pull in, and the door to the mudroom open. The Man We Call Dad was home! Excitedly, the kids took up their positions. Then they traded positions, putting K on the automatic weapon and B on the Clear Raider, since that way she could run around with it.
Then they traded again, but B wanted to take the gun off the tripod, a feat which required her brother to put down his gun so that he could help her with hers. Then they decided they wanted my guns so that they could mount a running attack, so we switched everything around once more.
While all of this switching around was going on, The Man We Call Dad crept silently around the corner and half way up the stairs before we realized it and just that fast, darts were flying, kids were squealing, and the dart war was in full swing.
It was tremendous fun. We laughed for what felt like hours. We found darts lodged in odd corners of the house for days.
And we learned that The Man We Call Dad is very, very sneaky. Very, very fast, too. Definitely much faster than this Mama with my rather compromised mobility.
We also learned that when you take the high ground with fully automatic dart cannons, you had better have a lot of ammo on hand, because while you are feeding your opponent with 3 darts a second, he’s giving you back only one or two at a time. You’ll run out before he does. Long before he does, since he now has all the darts you gave him to start with and all of your darts, too.
And as well as being sneaky and fast, The Man We Call Dad is a firm believer that all is fair in war, especially when he is outnumbered and outgunned from the start.
(Needless to say, he won.)
We had such a good time, we decided that we needed to do it again. Not the Nerf war, per se, but something that could make us laugh that hard once again. We need laughter in our lives. It connects us, in a way that the ordinary activities of life do not.
And so, The Silliness Project has been born.
Care to join us?