If EldestGirl has inherited anything from me, it is her winning combination of extreme, insane competitiveness around anything she’s good at – and her complete refusal to engage in competition at anything she won’t win.
At school, I would have to come top in any English homework, spelling tests and so on. Sports’ Day, however, you would barely see me for dust. Figuratively, of course. If I could have run at any speed whatsoever, I wouldn’t have needed to have hidden in the library reading Jane Austen.
EldestGirl is definitely her mother’s daughter in this regard. On Saturday she begged me to play My Little Pony snakes and ladders game with her. This is exactly like normal snakes and ladders, but – for no discernable reason – contains three clip-on rainbows that act as additional ladders. You have ponies instead of counters. They don’t stand up properly, toppling over regularly as if they’ve been given a strong shot of ketamine. She adores it.
Until she starts losing. Oh yes, it’s hilarious when Mummy finally, finally lands on square 72, only to slide down the long ribbon and end up back on square 17. Hilarious. Until the same thing happens to her. Suddenly the whole thing is a lot less funny. And when Mummy lands – with only the slightest bit of cheating just to make the pain end more quickly – on the tallest ladder and finishes up on square 86, whilst EldestGirl founders somewhere around the mid-20s, suddenly she doesn’t want to play anymore.
TheBloke (TM) made the mistake of playing EldestGirl at Guess Who this weekend.
(As a side note, my mother, Mrs Nunn, is completely unable to play Guess Who. “Does yours have glasses?” she will ask.
“Yes,” EldestGirl will reply.
“Good!” cries Mrs Nunn, jovially, and promptly flips down and eliminates all faces wearing glasses. One only hopes she is never called upon to narrow down a witness pool for the police.)
TheBloke (TM) made the mistake of winning several games of Guess Who in a row, and then wiggling his bottom gleefully at EldestGirl. “STOP GLOATING!” she shouted, seemingly oblivious to the fact that when she had won a game earlier in the afternoon, she had done a full-on victory dance, complete with winner’s lap around the living room.
Trying to harness this spirit of competition, I made a suggestion to EldestGirl, “Shall we have a times tables competition now?” I asked.
“YES!” said EldestGirl.
“What is four times two?” I asked.
“Seven! Five! Six! Ten! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!” She retreated to the playroom with her Trolls dolls, which I rather suspect is the five year-old’s equivalent of reading Jane Austen in the library to avoid Sports’ Day.