One thing you have to understand about my kids is that they don’t
really stand a chance. It isn’t there fault it is simple genetics. The genes that my wife and I have passed on to them pretty much dictate certain things about them without them having much choice in the matter.
Take competitiveness for example. My lovely trio of kids (with a fourth on the way) are genetically predetermined to be competitive, it is in their DNA. Both sides of the family are competitive. Occasionally this has caused an issue in our marriage, mainly because my wife cannot stand to lose to me in anything. Personally, I learned a long time ago it was better to lose a game than to cook my own supper, but the lovely and talented Mrs. Sharp hates it when I beat her in something. When we first started dating part of my job at the time was to engrave plaques for the company I worked for to use as awards. I created a plaque for my future wife and I to pass back and forth according to whoever won the most Scrabble games that month.*
Growing up my dad and I played table tennis a lot.
We had our own table, and from the time that I was a small child we would go at it in our garage. You wouldn’t think table tennis could be gladiatorial, but you don’t know table tennis. The thing is, my dad never let me win. He always said when I beat him it would be because I was better. Then, one glorious day when I was in high school, it finally happened. I stomped the old man at table tennis. He put the paddle down, walked away, and hasn’t played me once in the twenty-five years since. I come from a long line of people who aren’t above taking their toys and going home, or tweaking the rules to their advantage whenever there is a victory at stake.
What does all of this have to do with my children? Well it puts the conversation I heard this morning between the three-year-old ballerina and the six-year-old zoologist in perspective. As is our usual custom my wife and I were hounding them, particularly the ballerina, to finish getting ready. (It is a little know fact that all of my kids have a superpower. The ballerina’s is moving so slow that time actually goes backwards.) Finally, the ballerina finished getting dressed, and she promptly informed me that she was dressed before I was, before her mother was, and before the one-year-old demolitions expert, who happened to still be in bed.
The zoologist heard the ballerina’s gloating and responded, “You didn’t beat me.” Which led the ballerina to respond, “We’re not racing.”
To sum up the ballerina’s philosophy, it is a race when she wins, and it is not a race when she loses. I’m pretty sure she learned this from her grandfather.
*I realize that this is as nerdy as it is competitive, but it is 2017, nerds are cool now. We were just ahead of our time.