Monday, August 17, 2009

Nora is a SORE loser

The title of this one explains it all. Nora is a sore loser extraordinare. I've never seen anything like it, and believe me, I was a pretty sore loser as a kid. Even my parents admit that upon losing, the fury unleashed by Eleanor Grace is of a greater magnitude than I ever exhibited. It makes me want to hide High Ho Cherry-o and replace it with a jigsaw puzzle.

The biggest and baddest meltdown Nora has had of late was at Emily's Blue's Clues Birthday Party. I'll have to find the pics, because they are classic. Screaming, crying, foot stomping, and handy-dandy notebook throwing commenced when Miles found the last clue. Oh I wish we had video, because her future husband needs to see what he's getting into. But that experience, I fear, has led Nora to begin experimenting with cheating. Obviously this is not a good development. The last two or three times we have played Princess Memory, the first row of cards in front of her "magically" has two or even three sets of matches placed next to each other. "I gotta match Mom! Isn't this great?" Nora calls out excitedly. I ask her if she cheated, and she denies it. I started watching her more carefully so she wouldn't have the opportunity to cheat, in the hopes that she would stop.

Unfortunately this didn't drive the lesson home. One rainy afternoon, we were playing Candyland. I was way ahead of Nora, who wasn't too pleased. She kept telling me she wanted to win. "The point of the game is to spend time together and have fun, not win" I repeated repeatedly. I didn't think anything of getting up and answering the phone in the middle of the game. I took the call, and came back a few minutes later. It was my turn. The next card I pulled was the pink Candy Cane card. For those of you not familiar with Candyland, this is basically the same thing as having to start all the way back at the beginning. Normally I wouldn't care if I won or lost, but the thing is, Nora had already pulled the Candy Cane card and it should still have been in the discard pile. Funny enough, Nora took her turn and pulled Princess Frosty's Ice Cream card, which puts the player very close to the end of the game and thus the win. Oh yeah, and that card had already been played as well.

"Nora" I asked, trying not to be totally angry. "Did you go through the cards and move them so you would win and I would lose?". "No mommy," Nora said, without looking at my face. I asked her to look into my eyes and tell me that again, but she couldn't. My heart sank. "Mommy knows you are lying, and I don't play games with little girls who lie and cheat".

The meltdown was total, utter, and complete. It woke Emily up from her nap. It shook the house. It scared the dog. But I refused to play Candyland again. I wish I could say I wasn't playing because she needed a moral lesson, but part of the reason was I was really disappointed she would stoop so low, and I really just didn't want to play anymore. Where had she learned that kind of behavior anyways? Did I teach her to be so sneaky? Is this a portent of things to come? Crap. Now what do I do?

Well, I made myself a nice cup of tea (because I really do need to watch my coffee consumption) and sat down to chill out. Eventually Nora stopped screaming and I asked her what was going on in her head. The poor thing started crying and she admitted to the card switching, adding, "I wanted to win!". She really truly meant it. She said "I wanted to win" in the same voice other kids use to ask for a puppy. Oh man. I felt really bad for her. We reached a compromise. We would play Candyland, but because of the cheating, we had to start over. We did, and I still won. She was just about to unleash hell when I suggested playing Chutes and Ladders. She could spin first, because she had lost Candyland after all, and after many trips up ladders and down slides Nora was victorious. She had her win, but really I hope we all won.

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