Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Life Lessons From Candy Land

I know, I know – just saying the
name “Cand Land” is enough to elicit cyber-groans from
across the globe. I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t
roll his or her eyes as soon as the name is thrown out there,
followed by a furtive, “SHHH! Don’t say it too loud or
we’ll HAVE TO PLAY!” I remember my friend Nancy in New
York once told me that Candy Land administers a slow, painful death
on an afternoon with wee ones; just when you think it’s all
over and your three-year-old is about to finally reach the end of
the rainbow and put you out of your misery, she draws the gumdrop
card and has to go all the way back to the start.

Cora has recently discovered Candy Land and begs to play it over.
And over. And over. And as soon as we sit down at that board, my
Mommy Skills have to go on high alert. It’s not a candy
field, it’s a mine field.

First off, there’s the fine art of
cheating at CandyLand. Yes, Maddie and Cora, as you read this
twenty years later, Mommy cheated. So that you would win. Honestly,
I don’t know how many times in a row I can explain that you
can’t take Gumdrop Pass unless you draw an orange card before
I cave and, while you’re not watching, surreptitiously
re-arrange the cards so that – it’s a miracle! –
you draw an orange card. Because Cora, you are a stubborn kid. And
you will sit on that starting block and absolutely – albeit
politely – refuse to move until you draw orange. “No,
thank you, you can go, Mommy.”


I also use my slight-of-hand card skills to manipulate a few
clunkers into my draw instead. There’s only so many times a
three-year-old will put on a brave face and say, “Uh-oh, back
to the Peanut Forest for me! It’s ok if I move
backwards.” And then it’s just, well, not ok.

So yes, I cheat. I cheat so my kids win and I can save the
afternoon. But there’s only so much I can cheat, because
here’s the other big land mine waiting to get stepped on with
Candy Land:

Someone has to lose.

Cora knows this intellectually, but it doesn’t make it any
easier to face when reality hits. Let me rephrase that:
Cora’s fine with losing, as long as it’s not her doing
the losing.

We’ve spent the past few days in Gracious Losing 101 school,
and it’s been rough going. Two days ago Cora won three games
in a row (honest! No cheating!) and was happily playing a fourth
when I clearly pulled ahead of her – on purpose. I know my
afternoon may go more smoothly if she wins every time, but Cora
needs to learn how to lose. It’s one of the most fundamental
lessons in life, and if she can’t learn it at Candy Land
it’s going to be a long hard year in preschool.

So I pulled ahead, and she became quiet, then silent. I looked at
her. “What’s wrong, baby?” “You’re
winning!” she said. “I just want to win! Not
you!” and she burst into tears. We loved and snuggled on each
other and she calmed down enough to keep playing, but every single
turn was a huge round of tears. I was very patient, giving her the
option at every step to stop playing, but also making it clear that
I would not let her cheat so she could win (that’s my job).
She found the courage to continue, and (completely honestly)
finally won the game.

“Yeah! Great job, baby! I’m so proud of you for
sticking with it and continuing to play! You are awesome!” I
said, tossing her up in the air. “Let’s play
again!” she begged.

And then she lost.

Let’s just say that cards went flying, and the game was taken
away for the rest of the day.

Yesterday I allowed her to try again, and she did reasonably well
losing. So when Cora suggested that she and Maddie play together, I
hesitantly agreed – with me hovering above it refereeing.

The first game Maddie won, and Cora congratulated her, trembling
lip and all. Cora did an excellent job, and I was quite proud. Then
they begged for a second game with Mommy in it, and the tension
really built. Maddie was ahead. Then me. Then Cora. Then Maddie
again. Finally I pulled ahead, two spots from the end. At which
point Maddie said, “I’m done. I’m going to go
watch my video.”

I saw the tension in Maddie – she’d had a long hard day
at school and was fighting to stay calm - but knew it wasn’t
fair to Cora. “Ok, hon, you can quit, but I’m going to
finish the game with Cora and then come set up your video.”

Tightly, Maddie bent down and slid both mine and Cora’s piece
to the end. “There you go!” she smiled brightly.
“Done.” And walked away. Cora burst into tears.

Guess there’s more than one person still needing some work on
the Candy Land front.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.