Thursday, July 12, 2012

A New Mind Game

My children have always been masters of traditional mind games. You know what I mean. Pitting one mom against the other (i.e. “Can I have a cookie?” “What did you other mom say?” “Ummm….I don’t know…”). Asking for one thing when they really want another (i.e. “Mom can we go to Valley Fair?” “No, it’s too expensive.” “Okay, how about a movie instead?”). Plotting to have their sibling take the blame for their wrongdoing (i.e. “Yes, I was climbing on top of the kitchen table, but I saw Lucas doing it once, so he is ultimately to blame.”). Pretending to be ignorant of the house rules in a thinly-veiled attempt to tattletale on their siblings (i.e. “Are we allowed to step on baby frogs in the back yard and squash them flat?” “Ummm….no.” “Okay. Just wondering.”). Circumventing rules (i.e. “I haven’t played my Wii time yet.” “You played for an hour this morning.” “I was helping Nicholas. That was HIS Wii time, not mine.”). It’s enough to make any relatively sane parent turn to alcohol and cheesecake to merely survive.

Lately, my children have added a new mind game to their arsenal. A sixteen hundred year old mind game. My boys have begun playing chess. Yes, chess.

I do not pretend to be an expert chess player. As a matter of fact, I have only played a handful of times. My baby brother taught me to play years and years ago, but my experience with chess is sketchy, at best. I did, however, jump at the chance to play with my sons. It is something—unlike Bionicles and Pokemon and Mario—that they are interested in that does not bore me into a catatonic state. I actually enjoy playing chess. Who knew? So I have started playing with both Lucas and Nicholas almost every day.

So, here is my pathetic confession: They are both better chess players than me. Nicholas—six-year-old Nicholas— managed to take my queen in a total of three moves yesterday. THREE MOVES. In my defense, I was watching television at the same time I was playing chess with him. And I was not playing my best game. I was playing as if I was playing with your average run of the mill six-year-old and not the next Garry Kasparov (yes, I Googled famous chess players because not a single one came to my mind). I always knew Nicholas was freakishly intelligent. But the speed at which he picked up the game of chess has amazed me. His little brain is strategizing and planning and learning. It’s a wonder, really, that he came from my body. That he shares my DNA.

These uber intelligent boys are wreaking havoc with my self-respect. At least I have Ruanita and Sophie (who prefers kitties and glitter and pretty painted toenails to chess, reading, writing, and other scholarly pursuits) with whom to commiserate. And the intellectually sub-par females in my house outnumber the freakishly intelligent males two to one if you count my half-baked dog. So all is well, I suppose.

I do, however, need to polish up on my chess skills. No self-respecting modern woman—even one who does not know the name of a single accomplished chess player—should lose a game of strategy to her six-year-old son. Anarchy will certainly ensue should my son become more strategic than me. My planning skills and ability to sniff out a trap must stay sharp! Parenthood is a war and every battle counts.

Am I right?


Madgew said...

My grandsons play and I have played with them. I still remember most of the moves but the chess set they bought has the moves on the actual pieces. The key is concentration and I, too, am busy doing all sorts of multitasking when I am playing. Need to concentrate. I can so see you playing.

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