Remember this guy?
A few years after I gave up playing with Little People toys, my younger sister and I became a bit obsessed with watching the show he hosted on Nickelodeon.
It was called "Double Dare", and it was the single greatest kid show on television during the eighties.
In case you aren't familiar with it, here's a basic description.
Two teams composed of four players each. They must answer questions from the oh so talented host, Mark Summers, to earn points. They must also participate in some pretty messy and awkward challenges. The team with the most points at the end wins the game and more importantly, the chance to work their magic on the famous obstacle course.
I'm telling you, it was just plain awesome in the world of a pre-adolescent girl. I used to daydream about being on the show and tearing up that course.
But anyway, it occurred to me the other day that in a way, I am playing a big, long game of Double Dare. I may have never made it to Nickelodeon Studios, but I am actually a champ at this point at both the trivia portion and the obstacle course. Allow me to explain.
On average, I answer approximately 2, 374 questions every single day in virtually all the subjects Double Dare would cover. They ask me things like,
"Who invented M&M's?"
"What does s-t-u-p-i-d spell?"
"What will happen to this frog if I feed it alka seltzer?"
You see? We've just covered history, spelling, and science. I also answer lots of questions about math every day. Questions like these:
"What time is an absolute number?"
(Okay, okay, their actual question is "when is bedtime?" This one always seems to be a surprise to them even though it never changes. It's an absolute number. 8pm)
"How long do I have to sit in timeout?"
(this is where I answer questions about counting by fives. I'm pretty good at it at this point, actually.)
So I've got the trivia part of the show covered. But what about the obstacle course?
I run an obstacle course every single day. I have found, to my great and utter disappointment, that it is not nearly as fun as it looked on t.v.
Last week I ran into the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the night while I was up searching for a wandering, crying child. My garage is full of obstacles. Bikes, hoola hoops, big wheels, scooters, balls, etc. It's tough to get through that without tripping or wasting time on dead end paths.
I have to make my way through land mines of used overnight pull-ups and diapers which have been strategically placed throughout the house. You never know when you'll hit one. You do not want to step in one in bare feet. Trust me on this one.
Rings a bell with this obstacle from the show: Each tire was filled with a different type of gak which contestants had to search through for the flag.
I pick up toys, clothes, backpacks, and sweep the floor every day. It is pretty much exactly like this:
As soon as I finish it's time to do it all over again. I never make any progress or get anywhere, yet I continually run the race.
I have to dig through huge trash bags searching for my earrings the three-year-old threw away for me. I have also had to dig through pretty disgusting trash to search for important papers, lost treasures which I mistook as trash and threw away, and articles of clothing my girls would rather not own.
It's somewhat similar to this obstacle, which I always hated because it was so gross. That is a giant ear and the contestant had to dig through it to locate the flag. Ew.
But really, mothers, haven't we all been required to do things even grosser than that?
And yes, I've even been slimed.
I would rather not go into detail on this one but just know it involves sick children and the fact that all three of my babies had reflux.
So you see, I am living the dream after all. I may never have gotten to stand on that stage wearing an all red or all blue uniform. I may not have gotten to joke around with Mark Summers or grabbed those flags at the end of each obstacle, but I am a serious competitor. I am the ultimate Double Dare contestant.
I am a mother.