Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Childrearing roulette

I was hammering away at a deadline one day last week when my two youngest rang the doorbell. They'd been playing in the schoolyard across the street with a friend. Or so I thought.

"Mom! Can you come see our casino?" Little Guy asked. A casino? I picked my jaw up and nodded dumbly.

Sure enough, there in the lobby of our building they'd set up a casino. They'd taken their wheeled cart and turned it on its side, putting numbers between the spokes for roulette. They had a dice area and places to play poker and blackjack. There were signs on the wall, and they were ready for business.

I delicately suggested that the tape on the signs might damage the paint, and offered to have them relocate inside our apartment. Which, mercifully, they did. Once there they pulled up Publisher on the computer, to make more professional-looking signs. Little Guy called out to me, "Can you believe clip art has a picture of a roulette wheel?" No, it never would have occurred to me to look. I've never played roulette. I've never played poker. I know about shooting craps from watching Guys & Dolls.

[A side note: I did once win $20 in a slot machine when I lived in Puerto Rico. Since I was just out of college and barely able to pay my rent, the windfall was exhilarating. My then-boyfriend and I took our winnings to the lounge to splurge on an otherwise unaffordable drink, and hid our stash of quarters under the card listing specialty cocktails. And then, of course, when the waitress brought our order the first thing she did was to move the card, exposing our poverty for what it was.]

My kids went down into our building's courtyard after the preschool playgroup cleared out. I observed them from the window, playing cards with two other children. Little Guy informs me that The Dangerous Book for Boys will teach you how to play poker; I guess it's considered a life skill. Be that as it may, my kids only had a deck of Go Fish cards, so no neighbors knocked on the door to complain.

I did ask Little Guy where they got the idea for this particular enterprise. He replied, "Daddy told us about how he had a casino play set when he was a boy."

Got it.


  1. my grandmother taught me to play poker, with pennies, when i was around that age...

  2. My cousins and I played Michigan Poker, Red Dog, and Casino for pennies, (all adult card games), whenever it rained on our month long vacations in Door County, WI. This was in my grade school and junior high days, in the 1950's. Our parents taught us how, I'm sure to keep us happily occupied so they would have some peace!