If You Give A Kid A Laser Weapon…

How was your New Year’s Eve?  Ours was awesome, as usual.  Because we live in Burlington, VT, which means that we get to go to First Night!  Buy a button and you have access to shows, crafts, events, projects, art, and so much more, with no alcohol, smoking, or other non-family friendly items allowed.  This year we heard a concert, danced to a rockabilly band, made masks, watched classic Looney Tunes cartoons, played in a bouncy house, saw a parade, and watched fireworks from the roof of the parking garage.  And someday when the kids are older, we’ll be able to stay more than a few hours!


Well anyway, the night was a good one, but then we woke up the next morning with nothing to do.  New Year’s Day is kind of a weird holiday.  My wife was home from work and all, but we don’t really have traditions or culturally mandated activities associated with the day.  It used to be for extended sleeping after a night of wild partying, but now we have kids, so it is an odd day off in a season of already too many days off.  What to do?

My wife, who is in grad school, had homework to do, which left me with the children.  We had to do something.  It had to be epic.  It had to be new.  It had to be fun and distracting.  And then it hit me.  The bowling alley had just opened up a new Laser Tag arena a few weeks ago.  It seemed to fit all of the requirements, but was this going to be a good activity for a 4-year-old?  Would it be too frustrating for him?  Would my daughter enjoy such a sport?  But as I watched them bicker and argue and smack each other after two long weeks home together, I decided that maybe shooting each other with lasers was just what the doctor ordered.

As a laser tag connoisseur, I knew that there are any number of possible scenarios one might expect when encountering a new laser tag place.  You could get anything ranging from a foggy room with people running around shooting each other, to a multi-level compound with defensive bases, teams, objectives, and customizable rules.  I was ready for anything.

I was expecting little, and I was rewarded with much.  We got suited up in our laser vests, grabbed our guns, ready for whatever was on the other side of the door, and we entered the zone with excitement and fear.  Since we were the only people there it was just the three of us, no teams, just shoot each other as much as possible in this two-level maze of fog and lights.  It was awesome.  And in hindsight I have no idea why I was ever worried about my son.  I handed him a weapon and sent him out to destroy.  It was his dream come true.

Mostly he wandered around shooting me in the back, gaining him lots of points.  My daughter was more flight than fight, so she ended with the lowest score, simply because she spent much of the time hiding from us.  Her accuracy was better than her brother’s though.  When she did pop out to attack us, she was more likely to connect.  When the time ran out and we were escorted out of the arena to check our scores, they were both already asking when they could back and do it again.


Soon, I told them.  Very soon.  In fact, the next time either of them spends a day not listening to me, I’m taking them back and shooting them with lasers.  Repeatedly.

Posted in Edward, Laser Tag, New Year, Ruby, Vermont.

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