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Games People Play

I was holding my head in my hands, staring down at the Princess checker board. My worthy opponent sat across from me. She wrinkled her freckled nose, and said, “I can’t go anywhere.” A good forty five minutes had elapsed since we first began the game.

In a stage whisper voice coming from the kitchen, I heard Fiddledaddy say, “LET HER WIN.”

“Are you new? Not on your life,” I shot back.

No. I don’t “let” my children win at board games. I’ll tell you why. I want them to play hard. To really learn the game. To feel a true sense of accomplishment when they win. Because they’ve earned it.

Blah, blah, blah.

Okay, it’s mostly because I’m competitive. I can’t “let” the 6 year old beat me. But, usually she does it anyway. Without my help. She’s become a really really good Princess Checkers player. I got her a Connect 4 game for Christmas, which is sort of similar to Checkers, but knocks about 40 minutes off of each game. Important if the mommy needs to get dinner on the table. She wipes the floor with me on that one too.

The other day, my SIL, Trish, was over at her mom’s house. My MIL had gotten out the Scrabble game and was getting all nostalgic looking over all our old scores which she has kept. And dated. She even called me to reminisce about all the games we played when they were evacuated to our house during the 2004 hurricanes. Finally, I had worthy opponents trapped with me for a couple of weeks. There was nothing else to do BUT to play Scrabble ad nauseum. It was heaven. Well.

Except for the hurricanes.


Trish thought it would be fun for us girls to go over to my in-laws Saturday for a game night. And since neither of us married gaming men, the plan was to leave them at home with the children. A brilliant plan.

I was waiting at the end of the driveway when Trish picked me in in her super deluxe Mommy van. With the side airbags and HEATED leather seats. She had a little trouble getting out of her door. She had a three year old hanging onto her leg, “Don’t go mommy.” Fiddledaddy made things easy for me by throwing our kids into our van for a familiar drive to McDonalds. They didn’t even realize I was missing.

When we arrived, the board was set up. Wine glasses out on the counter. Since I wasn’t driving, and Trish wasn’t drinking, I had two glasses of port. Port only makes me play better. Except that most of the only words I could think of were in poor taste. But my in-laws are use to me. And some of Trish’s words were worse. We were a group of 4 highly competitive playing-for-blood Scrabble players.

And, oh yes, it got ugly. One thing I love about my in-laws, is that from day one, they have treated me just like one of their kids. And Saturday night, I think that THEY CHALLENGED NEARLY EVERY WORD I CAME UP WITH. Except for “zen.” Which netted me about 300 points. We looked it up later in their handy “Official Scrabble Dictionary” and it wasn’t in there. Oh well.


Needless to say, I won both games. Even with my MIL playing fast and loose with the rules. Just like her son, Fiddledaddy. You have to watch her like a hawk. Which is never easy if you’re drinking port.

Trish is a fierce player as well. And she, too, has always made me feel like a sister. I love her for that. She even supported me in “zen.” We both remembered reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in college. But neither of us remember anything about it. Or much else about college for that matter. My parents would be so proud.

It was an awesome evening. If we could get away with it, we’d do it every weekend.

My MIL called today to inquire if I had properly deducted the points from the leftover tiles from everyone’s scores. Because my FIL (incorrectly) believes that he may have actually won. I told her to get out the score pad. The numbers don’t lie. And oh yeah, stock up on the Port.

They are fun. I am blessed to have the in-laws that I have.


I sense a rematch is in order.


12 Responses to Games People Play

  • I don’t let my kids win either. My husband thinks I’m silly. Maybe, but my son can play a pretty good game of Connect Four and my 4 year old daughter will clean up the floor with any adult at any matching game.

    I love Scrabble. Why in the heck wasn’t “zen” in the dictionary?

  • oh, I can not stand to let my kids win either. come on, what lesson would that teach them- I couldn’t do that to them during their precious influencial years! Or any other time! LOL

  • My oldest is very competitive. She gets upset when she doesn’t win, which is exactly why I don’t let her win. 🙂 But, she wins on her own a lot. Like Mancala, she wipes the floor with me on that game on many occasions. And yes, I have taken great satisfaction is whooping her booty in a game of Disney Princess checkers or Spongebob Uno. It builds character. LOL

  • That sounds like a fun evening. My husband and I used to have two couples we played with regularly, and I used to embarrass myself with my competitiveness. At one point, after catching my friends’ husband cheating, I threw him out. Of the house. I told him he was no longer welcome in my kitchen. Good times. That was 12 years ago, and they haven’t let me forget it since.

  • Ah how I identify with you. All of my college friends and I LOVED games…board games and others. My husband begrudgingly plays on occasion, but when old friends come to visit, it’s game on!

  • Be glad you get along with in-laws. Mine are finally slowly coming around. Of course my folks sensing I need rejection and abuse have decided to pick up where they left off. Oy vey! 😉

  • Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog! 🙂

  • Love the family competition! My granddaughter (8 years old) takes extra moves when I’m not looking. I always know by her laugh. Then she justifies it saying the rules are that she gets two moves to my one!!

  • Mel,
    I think “Zen” wasn’t in the Scrabble dictionary as an “approved” word because it’s considered a proper noun. It’s a form of Buddhism.

    I say, “What. Ever.” 🙂

  • Oh girl, this sound SOOO fun! But you’d beat me. I can rarely win against my husband. Still, I’d like to try! Your family sounds so awesome@

  • ok, first love the new signature and coffee cups. Too cute! Secondly I just blogged about my love of board games and my need to win. I would never let a child beat me. In fact, I pout a tiny bit when she does. As if popping out a child makes the competitiveness go away. As far as I am concerned it just worsens it. Not only in board games, but in a “my kid is so much smarter than your kid” way. Of course I never think such thoughts. That would be sooo wrong.

  • I love games and love to play them. Only one problem, I tend to be a poor loser. Mostly just to my husband. Other people I can take it better, I mean hide it better. I am crazy competitive. Except with the kids, I do on occasion let them win, but never by much. They are getting older now, I have stopped with the oldest, its game on with him.