Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Game Night


Family Game Night is so nostalgic.  To remember family game night is to remember nights with family and friends -- evenings filled with laughter, teasing, bickering...and general hilarity with everyone around.

That, and my dad peacocking around as he annihilated his 8-year-old daughter in ping pong, cards... anything else, really.

Finally the day came when our children were functional enough and ready to start a new tradition.  Most importantly, ready for me to kick everyone's butt (in an absolutely gracious, lovely way) with my mad skills in games like Sneaky Snacky Squirrel.

Things went really well...for the first full minute.
Until our older son realized he wasn't winning.

There were tears.  Pieces went flying.

Not exactly the idyllic family bonding moment I had envisioned.

To be fair, research does say it may take time for kids to catch on and be able to play without getting upset.  Many stress how important games are to learn the art of winning gracefully and developing resilience. 

We want resilient kids, so we trudged through.
And Trudged.

With little to zero progress.  Okay, zero.

Surprisingly, our Game Night started to "slip" off the weekly calendar.  We just didn't have the stamina (or maybe I should say resilience?) to guaranty a ruined night each week.

And when we did play, "cooperation" or "team" games were in heavy rotation.

Everyone was happy, but we knew we were cheating ourselves.  So recently we started re-introducing games with competition (and the resulting tears).

Our younger son continued to be a champ - courteous, smiley, whine-free (and shockingly good at Hungry Hippo).  What was happening with the other fella?  And how close are my husband and I to a triggered fear response when anyone mentions Monopoly?

One day, the dreaded Chutes and Ladders was requested.  I know we aren't supposed to use the word hate, but man, I hate that game.  However, I put on my best enthusiastic act, and away we went.  Early on, a lip tremor was seen.  The next move landed him on mega, game-changing chute and he lost it.

Yet there was a breakthrough:  He kept playing.

While he didn't stop crying, he kept playing.  I'm not exaggerating when I say we played another 20 minutes (not including breaks for meltdowns and nose blows) until we finished the game.  Even though the rest of the game was torture, I was so proud of him.

Although we may still have a long way to go, it is still so incredibly exciting to see there may be a glimmer of light in the distance.  Maybe we can start to get some positive memories associated with game night soon!