I admit that I'm a slightly competitive person. I really dislike losing, and will avoid it whenever possible. I don't enjoy playing board games, cards, or keeping score of any kind. Unless, of course, I know I have a clear advantage and will, without a doubt, win. I love watching sports, but never get my hopes too high for my team to win, just in case they lose. Winning makes me happy, and losing really pisses me off.
Doug is also competitive, but in a different way. He will play any card or board game, most video games, and is great at almost every sport because he has a low tolerance for sucking at things. Because of the fact that we like to be married to each other, we never play on opposing teams of any kind, and we never keep score when we play tennis. I just assume that every time he hits a drop shot, he's only being courteous and making sure I get a good workout.
When Zach was two, we bought him the game "Hi Ho! Cherry-O." He was fascinated by the concept of counting and sorting, and we figured this would be the perfect game for him. Everything was going great, until it was his turn and the spinner arrow came to rest on the dreaded "spilled basket." He stared at his blue bucket, looked at me, and then kicked the game board, sending plastic cherries soaring across the room. Apparently he would rather default and take a trip to the naughty step than be forced to place all of those cherries back on that tree.
We should have known that two competitive people would create competitive children, but we had no idea just how much damage our genetics would do. So far, it's been an interesting education, and we have found that the competitiveness increases in magnitude with the arrival of each kid. Zoe proves this theory day after day, and yesterday was no different.
While she was playing Mario Kart on her Nintendo DS, Charlie watched with amazement at how good she is at maneuvering Bowser on a ROB-legs. He then went to get his DS, suggesting that they play the game together.
"Maybe, no. Because will there be a winner? Are you going to win sometimes?" she asked.
"No, Zoe. We can be on a team." And with that statement, she happily agreed, as long as there was no chance of him winning.
After dinner, all 3 kids were playing a game together, involving magnets and strategy. Everyone was having fun until one of Zoe's moves didn't go the way she intended it to.
"I'm done with this game. Forget it. I'm so done." she said as she slammed one of the magnets on the table.
"Zoe, don't get so upset. It's okay. You'll get another turn later. Don't quit." Zach is a great big brother with infinite patience and he really, really loves this girl.
"No. Forget it. I give up." she said, getting down from her chair.
"Fine. Be a givver-upper." I guess even infinite patience has it's limits.
Lately, we've been trying to make her more receptive to the possibility of losing. If it's checkers, I'll take advantage of the triple jump. When Doug plays Uno with her, he won't always overlook playing the blue card. If we're playing baseball, we aren't always clumsy fools and we'll manage to field the grounder cleanly and tag her out. Sometimes the boys are nice enough to play Monopoly Junior Dig 'n Dinos with her and I'll hear her say "Oh yeah! Dangett! Yeah baby, bring it! That rocks! Wooo! I'm gonna get that money! What? Darnett!", but as long as there aren't plastic dinosaur footprints ricocheting off the walls, I know that progress is being made.
Recently, we were headed home from a tennis tournament and Zoe wanted to see Zach's trophy. When he tried to give it to her after she waited patiently for 42 seconds, she refused, saying "No. I don't want to see it. I'm going to win my own tennis tournament and get my own trophy. When I'm 8." Something tells me that she'll accomplish this goal, but first she has to be willing to keep score, and learn how to lose.