For Pippin’s birthday we bought Octonauts UNO. I was scrolling through Amazon results trying to find the least obnoxious/exorbitant Octonauts merch and thought, “Hey, maybe he’s old enough to play UNO.”

And turns out he was. And it’s such a small thing, but I’m loving it.

I wouldn’t say I’m much of a cards player. But when I was a little girl I’d play all kinds of cards games with Gramps, my dad’s dad. We played War and Go Fish and the excitingly named Dammit, but most of all we played Crazy Eights (which is, I’m assuming you know, basically UNO).

Gramps lived in Sarasota but would visit us in his Dolphin camper with my granny. He had a pliant old deck of Jack Daniels playing cards and in my memory he could perform shuffling miracles. Either he or my dad made me a little card stand out of a length of wood with a groove to hold my hand of cards, because I was so small I couldn’t manage to hold my cards to myself. He and my sister and I would play games of almost intolerable excitement, and he always seemed prescient, almost magical to me, in his ability to guess what I’d play next. (He said he could see my cards reflected in my eyes, which I still want to believe was true.)

Pippin and I mostly play in the little slivers of time when his sister is asleep and he isn’t, after naps, before bed. He beats me without me letting him, and so he’ll probably never believe that I am a magical card expert like my gramps, but I like to think Gramps would approve just the same.

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