MeMe: Stop flapping.
Emma: I can do it, MeMe.
Nolan: Where are my people, MeMe!!
“Let’s try it again,” I said as I dodged flapping hands. “Now watch me.” I interlocked my fingers, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the door and where are the people?”
Okay, I learned this as a kid. In fact, it was one of the ways that Mom and Dad entertained me during church. Make a little church. Open the fingers. No people. Do it again with fingers interlaced towards the palm of the hands then open the door and the church is full of people. Twins, age 3, just cannot quite get the people into church.
Sadly, I see those old games fading away. Churches supply toys and coloring books. Or, the kids go to the nursery. The days of finding adventure in Mom’s purse are gone. Dad and I would play a game where we stacked hands trying to trap the hand on the bottom, so it could not be moved to the top. He loved to tease me. Sometimes when he came into the house, he would have both hands behind his back and tell me to choose one. Of course, he loved to transfer whatever he was hiding from one hand to the other until I got so frustrated that he had to let me chose a hand while watching them. Sometimes it was a penny. Best of all was discovering an arrowhead.
One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more. When a hand was tapped on ‘more’, the hand had to be put behind your back. The person who had the most hands showing at the end was the winner. Plain old fun. We did not need to spend money on toys to be entertained. Interactive playing.
Thumbs wrestled. Slapped hands until they were scarlet, and one of us painfully relented. We made Cats in the Cradle and, best of all, we played Peas, Porridge Hot. The earliest recording of this rhyme was in 1760. Games passed on generation after generation.
Hand games. Games that parents play with little ones. Games that involve touch and laughter. Dad loved to play mousetrap with me. He made a trap of his fingers with my little finger being the mouse. I learned early on that I had to be fast, so he could not trap my finger. Time spent with a man who worked hard and did not have a lot of one on one with his daughter. These old games will fade away, but hopefully, not in my family.
Okay, once more: Here’s the church, here’s the steeple……