First things first, thank you so much to all who commented, tweeted and emailed me happy thoughts for my surgery yesterday. It went very smoothly. The doctors and nurses were all wonderful. Prior to the surgery I was joking with the anesthesiologist about putting me under before I even went in the operating room so I could just get this over with. Apparently she did, because once we got in there (so I thought), I felt people touching my legs and I said, “I can still feel that” (you know, trying to be helpful) and they smiled at me and said, “That’s good! We’re done!”. So the actual procedure was easy. I felt exhausted and crampy all day yesterday, and today my whole body feels achy like I have the flu, but I’m expecting to feel much better very soon.
Onto happier topics. Like my kid being THE WORST at losing. Losing anything, really, but as we’ve recently entered the wide world of board games, we’re learning the “how to lose” lesson over and over and over again. Apparently he needs a LOT of practice with this life skill.
Let’s back up. For Owen’s 3rd birthday he got a game called Zingo. If you have a 3-4 year old and haven’t played this, you are missing out. It is SO FUN and occupies Owen for 30+ minutes. Maybe it’s the fact that Owen is a little police officer for rules, and he likes knowing what is and isn’t allowed in the game. Or maybe it’s the fact that he gets 30+ minutes of undivided attention since we’re so engaged when we play it. Or maybe it’s just that it’s new and he got it for his birthday. Whatever it is, it’s kind of magic. I can even play it while nursing Emmett.
The first time Owen and I played, I won. To be honest I didn’t even think about letting Owen win, because I know what an important skill it is to be a good loser. That said, I was not prepared for his melodramatic response.
First, he screamed at the top of his lungs. A piercing, high-pitched squeal. Then he stood up and threw his Zingo board and all of the little pieces all over the living room. Then he shouted, “I’m NEVER playing this game again. NEVERRRRR!”. His fists were clenched and tears streamed down his cheeks. He sobbed body-heaving sobs.
I did my best to stifle the laughter I felt bubbling up. This was clearly very serious to him and I was trying to honor his emotions, but, seriously? I’d never seen an outburst like this before. How did he even really know what “winning” meant? Once he had let off some steam we had a discussion about what to do when someone wins (say, “Congratulations!”) and how he might win the next one. We also made a new house rule that the winner has to clean up the game.
That was weeks ago, and since then he has gotten much better. But still, Benjamin and I cringe when one of us wins, waiting to see what Owen’s reaction will be. Sometimes it’s incredibly mature and calm (“Congratulations! Let’s play again.”) and other times it’s flat out Charlie Sheen-esque. Benjamin is much more apt to let Owen win to avoid the drama, but I am a mean mom and force him to practice, practice, practice his losing skillz.
We’re working on it.
Since Owen took to this board game like a Kardashian to fake eyelashes, we decided to pick up another one a few days ago. And this one eliminated the need for battening down the hatches when someone other than Owen won. Count Your Chickens is a cooperative game, so everyone works together and wins or loses as a team. A little hokey? Yes. Avoiding teaching how to win/lost nicely? Absolutely. But does it give us an equal amount of focused playing time without the tantrum at the end? Hell yeah. So it’s a new family fave.
Unfortunately all of this “winning” and “losing” talk has extended beyond the board games. Now at the dinner table Owen will ask me, “Mommy, why are you eating so quickly? I want to win!”, despite my insistence that the point of dinner is not to “win”. Sigh. Perhaps that’s a lesson for another day. On the upside, we have a new tactic for getting him upstairs for teeth brushing in the evening. All Benjamin has to do is dash out of the room and say, “I’m going to beat you up the stairs! I’m gonna win!”.
Win or lose, I’m excited to have moved into the next phase of toys and playtime with Owen, that of rules and games.