You've heard the phrase. Well, it applied to me just this afternoon. Ready for the Jubilee Version?
Checkers with Michael
I could blame it on the inhalation of copious amounts of Dayquil. If I had actually taken any (which may not be a bad idea, now that I think of it). I could blame it on the pile of used tissues cluttering my personal space and therefore also my vision. I could even blame it on Michael's insistence to the amended version of the rules (who ever heard of a good game of checkers where you cannot jump your own man when the fancy strikes you?) But I won't blame it on any of those things. Dear reader, you are too cunning for such derisible excuses.
I will admit that when Michael approached me and asked to play checkers right after dinner, I had to think about it. My son is not known for coping well under the duress of frustration. Like his mother, he is a perfectionist and if he doesn't win, he has a meltdown (also not completely unlike his mother. I'm just sayin'). I was not looking forward to the inevitable meltdown. I had visions of flying checkers and an upside down board flying toward my head, but I did say yes -- with an appropriate amount of meaningful hesitation during which I gave him The Look. You know the one. The one that says "Don't make me sorry I am doing this for you." The one that says, "Only I, your long-suffering mother, would dare put herself in this precarious situation for her oldest son." The one that says, "You'd better be appropriately appreciative of this." Yeah, that meaningful look. Come to think of it, I may have even said some of that out loud.
While he didn't necessarily look grateful, I assumed such when a small "Yes!" escaped his lips and he ran for the checkerboard. Upon his return and the subsequent setting up of the game, I placed my hand on his upper arm and slowly and deliberately said, "I don't want you to get upset if you don't win. No temper tantrums, no tossing of game pieces, none of that. OK?!" He had the wherewithal to look sufficiently pre-apologetic as he answered, "OK."
I agreed to the game because I want to give him chances to better himself and learn new things. To create opportunities for success and dealing well in the midst of various situations. Even if it means the possibility of having to put up with profuse pouting. Because that's just the kind of mother I am.
Or would be had I even came close to winning.
After about move three I had this sinking feeling that I was in trouble. My eyes frantically darted about the board for the chance to make a move that would not immediately result in my red checker being jumped by his black one. I felt my face go flush as my blood pressure began to rise. Gulp! The possibility of losing to my six year old son suddenly loomed before me like a big, dark swirling Smoke Monster. I blinked several times trying to unfuzz my vision and my sharp intake of breaths were at once matched by quick, immediate exhales.
It did not look good. At all.
Did I mention that my son and I also share a competitive streak that may or may not get out of hand at times? Have I also mentioned that my son -- he is SIX? That's in people years, dear reader. Oh, how I wish it were in dog years, then maybe I'd have an excuse.
He skunked me so badly in that one game of checkers that I could just hang my head in mortification -- pouting included. I dared not even challenge him to a rematch, because, honestly, I think I've met my match.
And stared him in the eye with a lame look that said, "Don't make me sorry I am doing this for you . . ."