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Slices of Life

Hide-and-seek: a game for the ages

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Hide-and-seek has changed at our house, as many things change when you progress from being nearly 2 to nearly 2-and-a-half. That is the case of our granddaughter.

My how time flies. 

According to Wiki, hide-and-seek can be played with two or more players and is appropriate for children 3-years and older. (Or in the case of gifted granddaughters, 2-and-a-half, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

Hide-and-seek is played throughout the world and has different names, depending on which country you are in. It’s been around forever and was first described in second century Greece. I played it as a kid, my kids played it as kids and now we are indoctrinating a new generation.

With our granddaughter, it started with simple sessions of peek-a-boo when she was just an itty bit. When she got mobile, peek-a-boo evolved into the two-legged version of hide-and-seek, and she’s been hiding and seeking (and giggling) ever since. 

When you are nearly 2, you love playing “Hi-in-see.” When Grammy asks if you want to play, you answer enthusiastically, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Hiding and hunting are deliciously random. In fact, if you find yourself a good hiding place, you are likely to use it over and over again. How could Grammy possibly remember that you hid behind the couch last time?

It’s difficult for you to wait to be found. When your seeker enters the room where you are hiding, you jump out and yell, “Boo!” This, of course, is wonderfully amusing.

When you are 2.5 years old (or nearly so) hide-and-seek remains an animated jump-worthy event. When Grammy asks if you want to play this well-loved game, you answer enthusiastically, “That would be cool.”

At this juncture, the game becomes more organized, in part, because you can count – sort of. When it is Grammy’s turn to hide, you cover your eyes with spread fingers (all the better to peek with) and begin your cadence, “One … two … free … 10. Here I come.”

Hiding places change from game to game because your 2.5-year-old brain recognizes that picking the same spot each time is so six months ago. 

Grammy hasn’t learned this lesson and when you find her behind the curtains for the third time in one day and you find it exceedingly hilarious and laugh loudly and unabashedly, like only a toddler can do. 

You can now climb and descend steps with careful precision, so your hunting and hiding grounds have grown considerably. Upstairs is no longer off limits. Now there are closets and beds to duck in and under. More places to seek mean more fun. Still, you find it hard to stay hidden. I guess it’s just too much fun to be found. Plus, it puts you in control of who finds you and when. 

I long to live in the head of a 2.5 year-old, now and forever. It’s a life of newness and adventures and endless possibilities. The pathways to the future are infinite. The places to hide and seek are limitless. It’s a game destined for glee. 

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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