Elementary Dear Watson…


One of the best things about children getting older is that they can do things with you as opposed to you doing things with them. For example, a toddler might want you to play blocks with them or be the monster that chases them around the room. The games vary as they get older, but the key point is that they make up the game and the rules. Then comes the day when they can read and play games that come with instructions longer than a paragraph. We’ve played Life, and Monopoly, Sorry, Topple, Rummikub (to name a few), and all of those even my youngest can at least “help” with if not play on her own. Of course there’s that rocky transition from “everyone wins” to the realization that only one person can win the game. Losing graciously is an important skill, and some of us take more practice at it than others. One of the very few times my grandfather ever found the need to discipline a grandchild with more than a verbal warning was when my brother threw aside the chessboard and smacked me because I’d won. That incident taught my brother and me two very important things:

1) Grandpa might seem laid back, but it’s REALLY not a good idea to disobey him.

2) Sure it sucks to lose, but it sucks more if you can’t play anymore and get another shot at winning. So play NICELY!

All of us parents go easy on our kids when they are little. I did, but I also made sure that they lost from time to time too. There are still sad faces and “How come he/she wins all the time?” Thankfully nastier behavior, for the most part (disclaimer: I say that, but then I might play a game with them tomorrow and it will dissolve into WWIII.) is limited to, “Booyah! I won and you didn’t! HAHAHA!”

There is one game that even I hesitate to play with Mr. Smarty-pants. It isn’t because he’s a bad sport. It’s because he wins.

EVERY TIME!

Even the very first time he played, when he only had half an inkling to the rules and didn’t mark anything down like you’re supposed to, he made the right call. What game is it? Clue. He’s played regular Clue, and at my house we have the Harry Potter edition. I like the Harry Potter edition as it adds a little more complexity to the original game.

While he dances around, and literally shows us half his cards, we’re diligently attempting to solve the mystery. Before the game even starts he starts his psychological campaign.

“I know who did it! I know who did it!”

Mr Smarty-Pants is highly adverse to sitting unless it is in front of a computer screen. He claims it is due to the long hours of sitting at school. So, even dinner often includes multiple requests of , “Please sit down.”

I think the dancing around is a diversionary tactic designed to trick us into revealing our cards on accident or allowing him to “dance” just close enough to sneak a peek at an opponent’s cards.

He’s highly successful, considering he’s never lost. That, of course, is the reason I keep playing. I can’t allow such a record to go unchallenged!

He sites his newfound interest in the great Sherlock Holmes as inspiration.

Well, he does match the energy of  Holmes’ flying high on cocaine. No, correction; I’m pretty sure he exceeds the literary sleuth in energy. If I put him on a giant hamster wheel and hooked it up to a generator, I’d never have to pay for electricity again.

I’m not so sure Mr. Smarty-pants and Holmes are in the same league, but if his winning streak keeps up, I may have him pick the lottery numbers and buy a ticket.

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