For my birthday this year, I got the kids nerf weapons: a sword and shield for one, a pair of matched long swords for the other. They absolutely love them, and between them and the Ninja game, our house has turned into something of a warzone.

The other morning, my youngest arrived in my bedroom wearing his shield and sword. “Ah-ha!”

I jumped out of bed, grabbed a pillow, and gave my best barbarian shout. “Aaaaahhhh!”

The little guy backed up a step in surprise and I sprinted out of the room. As he realized I was running away, he started laughing so hard he could barely stand up. Which was good, because I needed the headstart. My oldest was reading on the couch. “I need a sword,” I shouted. “Quick! Where are your swords?”


Charging into his room, I didn’t see any weapons at all. “Where are your swords?” I shouted again.

“Ah-ha!” My youngest had reached the doorway. He struck a suitably dramatic pose: shield up, sword held high.

I ran out the other door of bedroom. “Sword!” I shouted. “I need a sword!”

“Behind my bureau!”

With my youngest hot on my heels, I looped back into the bedroom, found sword, and grabbed it. “Now,” I shouted. “Now, we’ll see!”

The little guy’s eyes widened. I’m more than twice as tall as he is, and was holding a longer sword. Shield or no, he’s learned the danger of reach. Now it was his turn to run.

In the living room, he stopped running and took his battle stance. I raised my pillow and approached, then stopped when I saw a big smile spread across my opponent’s face.

“What?” I asked.

“Ah-ha!” His older brother was standing behind me, holding a nerf dart gun. “We’ll get him together!”

I jumped sideways so I wasn’t directly between them, then held up my pillow. “Wait!”

Laughing, my youngest swung his sword.

I blocked the attack with my sword, but the nerf dart zipped over my pillow and hit me square in the chest.

As I collapsed to the floor, dead, I had one small consolation: seeing my killers turn on each other.

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