Today I taught my son how to play the Memory game. We had a very good time. Of course, the SLP in me was testing skills like short term memory, turn taking, following the rules of the game, and doing a language sample all while being the mommy. What I actually discovered is that my son is a funny little man. He would almost jump up and down every time he made a match--every single time. It was as if the success at making a matching pair of Disney characters was going to change the way we use energy on this planet. Hilarious.
Here are a few clips from today's language sample:
"Hey I got a match mom!"
"Hey you got a match too. Great job mommy."
"This is the most fun mommy. I like this game."
"Hey I got a 'nother match."
"Nope that's not a match."
"Nope that's not one either--oh wait, here it is! I got a match!" (as he cheated and turned over a third and fourth card)
"I hope I get the Cinderella one mom. I just love Cinderella." (How does he know Cinderella? We don't even own a Disney movie other than Nemo and Cars. Should I worry that he likes Cinderella?)
"Hey mom, which Cinderella is that one?" (Apparently all Disney princesses are Cinderella.)
"Mom, we could earn some money and buy some Cinderella movies." (Okay what is the deal with Cinderella??? And he doesn't even get allowance yet. But he does know that Daddy has to earn money so we can stay home and play--at least that's what I tell him.)
"But mom, we could just go to the bank and get some money if you don't have anymore." (I tried to explain that the bank doesn't just give you money. You have to put money in there first. He thought this was not only boring, but unhelpful.)
"This is a match! (Quick look to see if I'm watching him match the wrong pair on purpose) Nah, it isn't. That's silly." (Now repeat 35 times giggling all the way).
"Hey mom, I got a idea. Let's play it again!"
"But I don't want any dinner. I want you to play Matchin' with me."
The best part of this game was that we were simply having fun. It wasn't about winning. We didn't even count who got the most matches. He complimented me every single time I made a match. He was in love with the game and with fun. I consider this a great success. Now if I don't screw it up, maybe just maybe he will always have that much fun playing games.
It's not that I disagree with a competitive spirit. I just wish I had enjoyed playing games more instead of worrying about winning them or looking silly or being sad (or angry) because I wasn't good at them. I'm terrible at sports. I'm utterly uncoordinated. If I had been raised to enjoy the spirit of the game instead of always going for the win, I probably would have tried new sports/games and had a reasonably good time doing it. Perhaps I'm worrying about something that is several years down the road. I just want my son to have a good time. I want him to understand winning and losing and being a good sport. I want him to understand sometimes you get benched and not everyone gets a trophy. I want him to be disappointed sometimes, because we all have to deal with losing. But what I don't want is for him to turn into a bad winner, or a stressed out anxiety prone athlete, or worse yet quit something before he starts because he is afraid.
These days I don't play anything but Scrabble with my husband and the occasional game of Gin Rummy with my dad. Perhaps I will learn to play for fun with my son and his infectious spirit of play. He doesn't even understand the concept of winning yet. His idea of winning is that everybody gets at least one Cinderella match. Beat that!