It was a freezing Friday night, and two of my kids and I were a bit under the weather, so we were having what we call a pyjama Shabbos.
It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. We usually have a table full of guests, but every so often, we have a low-key Shabbos with just us.
My kids usually moan and groan and demand for some guests, and every so often we have a surprise visitor or two that my husband brings home from shul, but it’s usually just us, and the kids end up loving it.
So, there we were, cuddling on blankets on the couch, waiting for my husband and oldest daughter to come home from shul, and my two year old starts demanding music and my cell phone.
He’s pretty much the boss in our house, and he was getting irate.
I’m mentally racing through any possible game we could play on Shabbos that he would enjoy.
“Let’s play charades,” my seven-year-old suggests.
“Charades, charades,” chants my four-year-old from his stage, which also happens to be our coffee table.
Bizarrely enough, even my two-year-old is excited.
I’m also excited, because as long as I never guess correctly, or offer to “give up my turn”, I can basically stay comfortable under my blanket on the couch.
So we begin.
The way we play is you have to act something out. It could be anything, it doesn’t have to be a movie or book or anything.
I guess I’ve never really explained charades properly to my kids because they basically act out things in one of two ways.
The first is how my daughter plays. She will act out an elaborately detailed sequence of events that is incredibly specific to a certain time or situation.
So, if it looks like she’s going through the motions of a school day, you need to guess which day of school it is: is it Monday with sports, or Tuesday with computers, or Friday that ends early?
Or it’s bowling.
But, it’s not just bowling. It’s that random Tuesday on Pesach two years ago when we went bowling.
So, you are pretty much guessing forever.
And, miraculously, if you guess that Tuesday Pesach trip, she starts adding more detail.
“You’re close,” she says, “but who am I at bowling?”
Once you guess everyone who went on the bowling trip, she announces that you are wrong and she is actually the random person who was playing in the lane next to us, whose name we don’t know.
So, basically, we guess forever.
The second way is the way my son plays. He just basically races around the room breakdancing and acting out random motions, ranging from karate moves to swimming strokes to jumping up and down. You have to just guess completely random things and when he finally hears one that he likes, he will nod enthusiastically and tell you that, yes, you guessed it mom.
If you query what the climbing on and off the coffee table had to do with Taekwondo moves, he will shrug and say something like, “that was me warming up for Taekwondo”, as if he spends five minutes at the beginning of every lesson climbing on and off a coffee table.
It was probably more fun than the real charades, and I basically spent half the time howling with laughter.
The next morning, my kids ask for charades again. This time my husband and oldest daughter join in on the fun.
My husband makes my son even more creative by offering outlandish suggestions for what he is acting out.
My kids talk about charades for the whole week after that, giggling as they remember the different activities acted out.
We never ever play charades during the week.
Temmi Hadar was born and raised in Seattle in a family of 10, Temmi Hadar is currently living in Joburg trying to stay sane and spiritual as a wife, mother, teacher, rebbetzin and human.