This morning when I awoke the two sick children to determine whether or not they were of schoolworthy health (they were not), I plucked from the chaotic mass of childhood paraphrenalia that is their bedroom floor, their Renaissance Art Game and delivered a short lecture on not leaving "nice" games and toys to be trampled with the McDonald's happy meal trinkets. Ever alert for play opportunities, the younger daughter promptly requested a game.
So what better did I have to do, since they weren't going to school?
Soon the cards had been dealt, and we were playing happily away right there on their rumpled bed. For those of you who've never had the opportunity to play The Renaissance Art Game, I'll explain that it consists of a 3o cards, each with a picture of a masterpiece by one of five renaissance artists (six masterpieces per artist). The object is to collect complete sets of each artist's works from the other players, very much like Go Fish. One catch, though, is that you can't just ask for an artist's card in general; you have to name the specific masterpiece you're looking for. (Each card also lists all six masterpieces in its artist's set along the bottom.) So in theory your children learn to say, "Mother, have you Michelangelo's Madonna of the Steps?" or "Might I persuade you to part with Fra Angelico's Christ in Limbo?" or even, "I say, dear Sister, could you spare Botticelli's The Annunciation?"
In reality, you get something more along the lines of this (from the younger daughter), "Mama, do you have Broccoli's The Annunclian?" or this (from the older), "Ok. I need Fran Alleco's Christ in Limbo...Hey, wait a minute! Shouldn't Jesus be bent more backward with his head back in that one?"
If I hadn't have fallen apart right there on the counterpane, she probably would have asked where the limbo stick was, too.