My Dad’s A Goldfish – Having fun

Looking back over my last few posts they seem unrelentingly gloomy. I have made it sound like life with the Goldfish was totally miserable when, in fact, we often had fun and shared lots of laughter.

I have gathered together quite an assortment of games including jigsaws and large-sized dominoes, Snakes and Ladders and magic painting sets. The jigsaws are wooden with large pieces. The base on which to make the picture has the shape of the required piece drawn on it to help put it in the correct place. The Goldfish quite enjoyed the one of a small child playing on a beach with bucket and spade. The child looked a bit like Wee-sis when she was that age – well, small human with blonde hair is enough for the Goldfish to see the resemblance. Unfortunately, on the front, just below the picture – so very prominent – is a notice saying the jigsaw was ideal for people with dementia. When the Goldfish read that he no longer wanted to do the jigsaw. I contacted the makers to let them know and they replied thanking me and saying they would take my comments on board when designing new ones. I hope they do.

The Goldfish loved playing Snakes and Ladders, especially with DH and would chuckle with amusement every time DH had to slide down a snake. For some reason the Goldfish could throw a six several times in a row, which pleased him greatly. I don’t know how he managed it so often. He’d furiously rattle the dice in the cup, tip it out – and there would be a six – frequently the exact number to take him to the bottom of a ladder.

Best of all, though were the balloons. These were larger and thicker than usual balloons. I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the idea of playing with them – too childish, perhaps? I batted one towards him and he reflexively batted it back to me and we were off. It was exhausting because the Goldfish never moved from his chair so whenever the balloon went off course I had to chase after it.

Sometimes he would bat it with his hand but other time he would head it or use his elbow – all moves he once must have done when playing football. Who knew? The great thing was that, even though he was sitting down throughout, he was giving his upper body quite a workout plus showing he still had pretty good eye to hand co-ordination.

Some evenings Wee-sis would come round and join in the fun. One night, the four of us were playing fast and furiously when a shot from the Goldfish sent the balloon up to the light shade, which was made of glass panels. There was a collective drawing in of breath as the balloon made contact and a panel came shattering down. Then, breaking the stunned silence, the Goldfish roared with laughter. Wee-sis and I looked at each other. “Can you imagine the reaction if one of us did that when we were kids?” I asked.

She nodded. “He wouldn’t have been laughing then – none of us would.” This only made the Goldfish laugh all the more.

I bought the various games hoping they might provide some stimulation for the Goldfish, never expecting all of us to find so much enjoyment in playing together. I still wonder about it. Many of them are things I used to play as a child; the Goldfish (who wasn’t a Goldfish then) played with me. Is there some shared memory of childhood fun? They are childhood games but adults played them with children – now, in our case, adults were playing the same games together.


14 thoughts on “My Dad’s A Goldfish – Having fun

  1. Hahahaha! I was thinking the same thing before I read it, that I bet he wouldn’t have laughed if you or your sister had done that when you were younger! LOL!! And oh boy, how on earth did a balloon break glass? He must have really whipped it up there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes it’s very much harder work of you’re the one doing the running round to collect the balloon!! I do this with an autistic boy, so while he stands in one place and smiles, I scurry about and am exhausted after half an hour! In our case it’s little ball pool balls and he throws five or more at a time, and off they go in all directions!!!
    In my experience, no question at all that yes, these are shared memories, embedded forever in the unconscious if not the conscious mind. Nice to hear that this kind of shared play went on as well as all the other sharing you have described thus far Mary. We should never underestimate play should we? A book title comes to mind ‘Playing and Reality’ – Winnicott.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Who needs gym membership, Janette?!
      I don’t underestimate the importance – and the pleasure – of play. It was one the things I could not understand about the step-monster. She simply refused to engage in any of it, long before she left. I believe she missed out on some lovely times. Was it because playing ‘childish’ (or childhood) games with her husband would have forced her to acknowledge the dementia?
      I’d like to understand more about playing. Children play together in the playground or in the garden or home but also adults play with children so what makes it seem a bit odd when adults play those same games together? Must look out for the book you mention.


    • Thanks, Julie. I’m glad you enjoyed it. We have to hang on to those laughter moments both for the good feelings at the time and for our memories later.


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