When Daniel and I were dating, I was on this quest to make his nieces and nephews like me. They tend to like everyone so this wasn’t hard but I was determined to be the best aunt ever. So when Christmas came around and we wanted to give his nieces and nephews a gift, I was trying to think of something that would be good for a variety of ages.
“What about stop blocks?!” I said. “Kids love stop blocks!” And before Daniel could even raise both of his eyebrows, I realized my mistake.
In my family, Legos are called stop blocks. I don’t know why. All I know is that my sister Mandy started calling them stop blocks when she was little and it stuck. My parents just let us live in a world where the actual names of toys meant nothing. Since my sister also had a doll named Nobody, maybe they figured it was best to just let her figure things out on her own and subsequently misinform her siblings. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I had just called Legos, an item so popular that there are entire stores and theme parks centered around it, a name that made absolutely no sense to anyone but my family. And Daniel’s eyebrows were getting higher and higher.
I tried to explain. But it was too late. The damage was done. Our relationship was a little rockier after that. And we wound up getting the kids something non-Lego related.
You think I would have learned my lesson about revealing weird childhood secrets. But no. Just a few weeks ago, when Daniel and I were on vacation with my family, it happened again.
We were all sitting in the pool, including my nephew, Peyton, who was just over 8 weeks old at the time. My sister (yes, the stop block creator) was trying to dip Peyton’s toes in the pool but he was having none of it and was getting fussy. Can’t blame the kid. So then I spoke up:
“Maybe when he’s older he’ll like playing Lock Lock Chain Chain.”
I had done it again. Daniel turned to look at me. “What in the world is Lock Lock Chain Chain?”
Here’s the deal with this game: When I was little, I loved for my dad to chase me around the pool pretending to be a bad guy. He would catch me and say he was going to eat me for dinner. (Hang in there; it gets weirder.) When he caught me, he would take me over to a ladder and pretend to secure me to it with a lock and chain. In order to do this, he had to say, “Lock lock chain chain…” as he pretended to make me his prisoner.
But it didn’t stop there. Locks and chains were not enough to hold me so I would always escape. Honestly, it was like my dad wasn’t even trying. So when my dad would catch me again, he would add things to the security process to keep me there. It would turn into “Lock lock, chain chain, nail nail, hammer hammer, glue glue…” And, yes, everything was said twice, like some kind of very specific obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Trying to explain this to Daniel went a little something like this: “My dad used to chase me and tie me up. Well, not really. I mean, I wanted him to. Wait, back up. We would go swimming. Not like just to play this game but if we were already in the pool we would usually play it. He would chase me and pretend he was going to boil me in a pot and eat me with ketchup. It sounds worse than it is.”
Daniel’s face now had the expression of someone who had just seen a naked clown juggling babies on an ice rink.
|“Did you just say ketchup??”|
Apparently, other children did not play this game. Apparently, it was “creepy.” Apparently, pretending to be a serial killer with your children is not something every parent promotes.
But look at us! We turned out great!
Okay, so… maybe don’t play Lock Lock Chain Chain with your kids.