I have blogged often before about Thomas having a competitive nature - wanting to win at soccer and just about everything else. He has really started to learn in the last few months about losing in a graceful manner - of having fun with the game or competition and accepting the outcome and if the situation calls for it learning from it.
One of the ways we have been working on this is by playing lots of board and card games with him. Sometimes he wins/sometimes we win. To start with there would be tears and calls of unfairness whenever he lost but he has learnt to take it on board pretty much now and simply calls for a re-match. He does however continue to revel in his wins.
This week he played a bit of Monopoly with my folks. My folks were here to care for him during the school holidays for a day at my request. This was definitely part of my action plan of being as 'normal' as possible with my Mum and apart from the fact that it is all a bit strained it did go pretty well this weekend.
We only bought Monopoly (for some reason Thomas calls it Monocoly) about a month ago (I was trying to escape the endless games of Uno!). It is a good game (aside from the whole capitalist thing I guess!) it has counting and money and there is a lot to read - cards and squares.
To start with, ofcourse, we took it pretty easy on him - giving him extra chances and not enforcing all the rules. But over the month, Thomas has got really really good at Monopoly. He will play with whoever comes over or is willing and for hours if given the opportunity. (I would worry about the whole capitalist thing except it was just the same with Uno!) He often plays with my sister Aunty Lou - who is a very regular visitor to our home and a constant in Thomas' life.
Anyway, one day when Lou and I were playing with him we were telling him about how we used to play as kids as how our Dad used to 'whip the pants off us' all the time and how we would cry - as soon as he got a hotel on Mayfair it was all over. Thomas was thrilled at this story - he loves to hear about when we were unreasonable or naughty as children. He kept on talking about how the next time Papa came he was going to play him too.
Papa came up last month - but there wasn't much time for a game. But this weekend both my parents were here and he played them individually and together. He was completely thrilled to 'whip' Papa and has been declaring himself the best player in the family. My folks admitted in the first round they had 'given' him a real go - however from then on they played their best and he still beat them. (Apparently he was down to $1 and all mortgaged up at one point in the game but completely held is cool). He was beating his Dad fair and square when I met them for lunch yesterday too - so perhaps his strategies are pretty comprehensive.
Some of my lovely memories are playing board games and card games with my family. On camping trips and at home on winter weekends. As an adult I can see why - the whole family stops to play a game, which in itself is fun, and plays together.
And I find myself here at work - looking forward to tonight’s after dinner game myself!