Today The Noodle and I were playing Jenga while Jeff and The Muffin napped (we had a gig last night, and I got to sleep in, so this means Jeff gets the second sleep shift).  Jenga, (for the uninitiated), is that game where you take a piece from a tower of wooden blocks & place it on top.  The person who makes the tower fall loses the game.  The way I play – the way I’m trying to teach The Noodle to play – is to focus on teamwork and building structure.  As a team, we win if we can make a tower that is taller than we (or other players) have made before.

I think the concept of “winner” and “loser” is deeply ingrained in the human psyche, though, (despite all my best efforts), and never is this more clear than a game with a 4 year old.  Together, we made a tower that was 26 stories high.  (Pretty impressive, I thought.)  As we were cleaning up, the Noodle says to me: “You made the tower fall.”

Me: “Yup, I sure did – we made a pretty tall tower, though, huh?”

Noodle: ” Yeah.  But you made it fall, so you losed.”

Me: “‘Lost.’  I guess this means that -”

Noodle: “I WINNED!”

Me: “‘Won.’  You, “won”, yes, but the more important thing is that together we made a taller tower than we made before.”

Noodle: “Mom, you’re fired.”

Me: “What?!  Why?  I lost, so I’m fired?”

Noodle: “Yeah”

Me: “So what would happen if you lost?  Would I get to fire you?”

Noodle: “Yeah.  But no, because I don’t want to ever lose.”

Me: “Everybody loses sometimes.”

Noodle: “No.  I don’t want to ever lose.”

Me: “Want to play again?”

Noodle: “No.  I don’t want to get fired.”

And there you have it.


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