Childhood Innocence

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Thanks to the heat, we here in the South have been forced indoors in the afternoons. It’s too hot to ride bikes; it’s too hot to play ball; heck, it’s even too hot to go swimming in the pool! What’s a family of four to do?

Luckily, there are still some games around geared towards the young-ones. Interestingly, they are the same games we adults loved as a child–Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Hi-Ho! Cherry-O. All classics and all pretty much the only games on the market for the “under 5” crowd.

Obviously we don’t still have our childhood boardgames lying around so we went off to our friendly neighborhood Target and purchased a few games to while away those long hot summer afternoon. As it turns out, Candyland has become my three year olds favorite game; so much so in fact that while the board itself is still in fine shape, the flimsy cards have become so over-handled that I can’t even put a proper poker shuffle on them anymore.

The funny thing about this game though, is how it’s evolved over the years. Take note:

Notice how in the old version of candyland, the two kids are whitebread, blond crackers and in the new, politically correct version, we have a cross-sample representation of ethnicities and genders.

Why am I not surprised?

But anyway, my son loves this game, but more importantly, he loves to WIN! We’ve been very careful to explain to him that the game is random and anyone can win at any time, to which he responds, “But you can’t win everyday.” The truth is however, that by hook or by crook, he seems to win more than anyone, but it’s never enough. Should you get up from the game to go stir the pot of soup, or to put fallen baby back up in a sitting position, he will sneakily look through the stack of cards for either the “lollipop” or “ice cream” cards, which move one near the end of the game and close to winning. Another of his tactics is to skip a color. So, if he pulls a card with one red square, he’ll move two; if the card says two red squares, he’ll move three. He’s very sneaky.

We’ve tried to explain to him that this is cheating and I’m particularly careful to ensure that he follows the rules, but I will admit to “fixing” it on the rare occasion where we adults have consistently won a game or two just so he gets the satisfaction of winning. And of course he loves it. But he’s coming around to losing with grace. Generally it involves him saying, “Ok, let’s play again and I guess I’m gonna win.”

Now if we can only teach him how to be a graceful winner, rather than cackling like a crow who just found a new shiny object, we’ll be in business.

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One thought on “Childhood Innocence

    mom/pat said:
    August 17, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    OMG, he is JUST like his Aunt Christine! She is far and away the most competitive person I ever played a board game with.

    So, see? He comes by it naturally!We can never let them play a game by themselves. It would turn ugly, I fear! LOL

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