Even before I started “Spanish Summer” and speaking to the niños solamente en español, we have enjoyed playing Lotería as a family. I’ve tried establishing a “Family Game Night” with varying degrees of success. Sometimes we forget for a few months, the board games collect dust, and then someone will say, “Hey, what happened to Family Game Night?”
My vision for Family Game Night is that when the kids are teenagers, it’s something they’ll still look forward to doing – it will be family bonding, a time to unplug from everything else and talk while maybe sharing a pizza before going back to our computers, cell phones, iPod headphones, and all those other contraptions that keep us separate even while sitting in the same room.
One problem is deciding on a game to play. My business-minded oldest son always wants to pick Monopoly, which I hate with a passion. My youngest son used to love “Elefun”, a plastic elephant that shot butterflies out of his trunk which we then had to catch – but the pobre elefante broke. My husband likes to play anything he can win. You wouldn’t suspect him of being competitive because he’s very quiet, but when he wins, you should see the impish grin on his face.
My favorite is Lotería, the Mexican version of Bingo. The kids have learned some Spanish vocabulary from playing it, but I just enjoy the artwork and the little riddles on the cards. We have an old-fashioned authentic looking version which we picked up at the local Latino market for around $5. We like to use real dry frijoles as markers instead of the little plastic ones that came with it.
When we play Lotería we tend to get a little silly at times. Once while I was calling out the cards I gave a besito to “El Musico”. My husband eyed me unhappily, my love for mariachi again causing a bit of celos.
In an effort to make things even, the kids decided to find a card for their father to kiss. “Here, Daddy,” one of the niños said, handing him a card with “La Dama”, (a pretty properly dressed lady.) My husband shook his head and pushed it away. “No, not that one,” he said.
He shuffled through the cards for a moment before finding “La Sirena”, the half-naked mermaid.
Hmph. Maybe I want to play Monopoly after all.