“Oh no! This is so much harder than I thought it would be!” Clara leaned back off her perch in mock surprise, hands stuffed in her pockets. She and her sister were sitting next to me at my computer desk watching me play Octodad. The octopus wearing a suit and tie on the screen was flailing his legs down a hallway, knocking over boxes and lamps, while being chased by an angry sushi chef. “I told you guys earlier when you were begging me to start it,” I said in frustration. “This game is much funner to watch than it is to play. It is very difficult to control an octopus using a mouse.”
Later on that same afternoon Lydia was in the dining room being forced to clean up a mess of scattered markers and paper. Clara squatted down with her hands in her pockets and watched as her sister cried and stuffed things randomly into the craft drawer. “Lydia, There’s more under the table. Don’t forget the blue one.” She motioned helpfully with her elbow. As her sister turned to pick it up Clara sighed, “Wow, Lydia, this is much harder than I thought it would be.” A blue marker bounced off of her forehead, “Go away, Clara!”
Several hours later Andrea had Gideon on her lap and was struggling to get a onesie off of his head while he flipped himself over and screamed like a beached eel. Clara stood in the center of the room and watched from a distance, hands in the pockets of her jeans. “Hey mom. I bet this is much harder than you thought it would be, isn’t it?” Her mother glared at her and tossed the onesie into her chest. “Put this in the laundry.” It fell with a flop at her feet and she bent to pick it up.
That night, completely exhausted, our family sat at a table eating a burger and French fries. After the last fry was eaten we released the girls to play in the multicolored play fort that covered the ceiling of the room. Andrea and I sat trying to ignore the chaos of children’s footsteps scampering through the massive hamster home of tubing above our heads. “Hey Dad!” I hesitated for a second, and then looked up to see her lying face down on a mesh net above our table. “Hey, how do I get to the slide from here?” I pointed to the far corner of the room. “You have to get over there somehow. I don’t know.” She pushed herself up to her knees, “Thanks, Dad.” And then with her hands in the pockets she clumsily crawled like a worm halfway into the next pod, her legs dangling limply out onto the net. As she examined the different directions available in the bright yellow chamber she sighed in frustration, and her voice echoed through the plastic tubing, “This is so much harder than I thought it would be!”
September, 7th, 2014 – Officially a much harder day than we thought it would be.