Anyone who knows me even fairly well will be snorting at the idea of me even asking this question. ‘Would Jo deliberately lose a game just so her children could win?’ Er, no.
I am very competitive, I always have been, and even though I know that there is probably a good argument for letting children win games from time to time, I just can’t physically do it. I justify it by saying that I believe it’s important for them not to have success handed to them on a plate, that letting them win doesn’t teach them anything, but basically I just can’t stand losing.
It’s not a malicious thing, it’s just something in me that takes over. I very rarely get properly angry, but I imagine it’s a similar sensation to the red mist descending. My normal, rational self gets shoved to one side and a fierce, competitive instinct takes over.
I was very excited then when we were asked to have a go at ‘Jungle Speed’ and were advised that it was a game ‘best played at speed’. Perfect. It’s basically like a fancy snap with a few extra twists, but instead of shouting, you grab a wooden totem pole. It works really well because you don’t have any arguments about who has shouted first and instead you get this ominous silence, where you stare at each other across the table menacingly. Well I do anyway.
To begin with I let myself down badly, getting over-excited and grabbing the pole prematurely (easily done), and having to pick up all the cards on the table, but I soon got back on track. It wasn’t long before I was on the brink of victory, my hand twitching, eyes fixed on the cards…
“I’m bored now,” said Belle, “let’s stop.”
“Yeah, we’ve been playing for ages, and I’m hungry,” she had a wicked twinkle in her eye, “let’s call it a draw.”
“A draw??!!” I was aghast. “It’s hardly a draw! Look at the cards, I’ve nearly won!”
“Yes Mummy,” said Belle calmly, raising her eyebrows as though talking to a toddler on the verge of a tantrum, “but it’s the taking part that counts isn’t it, not the winning.”
What do you reckon, am I too competitive? Should I try to control myself and let Belle win sometimes or am I really teaching her a valuable lesson? Leave me a comment to make me feel better about myself and I’ll pick one lucky, lucky person to receive their very own copy of Jungle Speed. I spoil you don’t I?