Sometime over the summer, during one of our playground outings the kids spotted some older kids playing a game where one person had to touch the other people. My children were absolutely fascinated. They got the gist of the game, but these kids were playing a variation where the toucher had to fumble around with his eyes closed. Nowadays, H has decided that "No eyes" is his favorite playground game and Daddy has been trying to get him to call it TAG ever since.
The problem is, H hasn't exactly developed a "healthy spirit of competition" yet and he will generally only enter an engagement with the deck profoundly stacked in his favor. His sister bears the heaviest burden in this department as she watches all her good ideas morph into his good ideas. He's getting better about sharing attention with her, but things aren't exactly equitable yet. (As I've said before... you'd think they were children or something.)
Anyway, it's been so long since I've played tag, I forgot that there is a whole unwritten code of conduct to it. That is, until all those rules were systematically violated. But the problem is, when you're learning a new game and you'll only play with Daddy and your sister, and you don't like losing, then it's Daddy's job to take you to school.
If you get tagged, you are it. It's the very foundation of the game and the one non-negotiable rule. So don't go getting tagged, laugh, run to the far end of the playground and look at me expectantly. Habti did that and I just pointed and said, "Um, YOU are IT." He shouted back, "YOU! YOU AGAIN!" in clear violation of the most basic of rules. He can get away with that crap when he plays with his sister, but Daddy ain't gonna be your tag monkey. And no other child (except his sister) is going to accept that either, so he might as well learn that lesson now. He spent quite a bit of time at the top of the slide wondering why I wasn't giving chase, but he eventually figured out that playing tag by yourself stinks, and would casually meander down, push both hands into his unsuspecting sister, and run back up.
If you are not it, run and/or hide. You will not be given any leniency in this department. You can assume that you will consistently become 'it' if you stand frozen and scream when you see Daddy charging full-speed toward you. You will also be 'it' if you DON'T see Daddy coming. Being genuinely surprised by the tagger does in no way negate the fact that you are now 'it.'
To tagback or not to tagback? That is the question. H didn't have a name for it, but he certainly exploited the lack of predetermined tagback rules. Tagbacks are great when you can outmaneuver your younger sister, but downright frustrating against Daddy who has longer arms. You can't have it both ways. H finally had an epiphany after getting tagged-back about 85 times in a row (I didn't start it btw...) He glared at me and said, "Stop! Wait! Count 10!" I responded, "You never counted to 10 for me." Hmm... funny how that never occurred to him.
If you are tagged, you are still it. Again, spare us all the drama. Nobody wants to hear about how you weren't ready, or how you are suddenly parched, or how you didn't get enough of a headstart. Yell. Fake an injury. Produce tears. Pout. Shake your fist at the injustice. Demand a redo. Call a retroactive time-out. Those of us who made it past the 4th grade have heard all the excuses already. Whatever, nobody cares. You are still it.
Take it like a little girl, son. After all, it is the playground.