Sunday was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny. Perfect for a trip to the pool with the kiddies.
Until it wasn’t.
We got there at about 3:30 pm and by 3:50 we were being ushered out of the water by the lifeguard due to thunder and lightning in the area.
We gathered our belongings and trekked it back across the parking lot to our house. As we did so we discussed what we’d do once we were showered and pajama’d. We still wanted to have family time so we decided on a movie. We’d spread a big blanket out on the living room floor and have snacks while we watched.
20 minutes later we lost power due to a serious storm that blew in. I’m talking black skies, trees blown down and thunder and lightning loud and bright enough to even make me jump and I’m typically not bad at handling storms.
There was nothing left to do but play board games. The last time we had played a game we went with Monopoly (Ace’s choice), so this time we opted for Jays favourite of Pictionary.
Games are tricky for Jay. And by extension, they are tricky for anyone playing with him.
He LOVES playing.
He HATES losing.
He was in a great mood when we set up. We chose our partners; Me and Jay vs. Ace and Shaunie. I rolled the die and were off. Jay was to draw “laughing gas”. Truth be told he did a fabulous job of it, but I wasn’t able to get it. I took all the blame, lavished praise on him for what a good job he’d done and we handed the die to our opponents. The first thing Shaunie had to draw was a raccoon. Jay was toppling over in fits of laughter before she put pen to paper. He’s awesome at drawing animals and from prior games that we’ve played, he knows she’s … ahm … not awesome. 🙂
And so we continued for a while, having a great time laughing at each others attempts at drawing things like “face lift” and “loud” and “spend” and “yacht”.
Shaunie and Ace began to pull away from us though and Jays mood began to shift. He was not pleased that I couldn’t guess his “record” and instead of laughing at me for not being able to properly draw a “hospital”, he just got mad. I did guess “picnic” correctly but that was an all play round and Ace’s “tree” helped push me to get the correct word. Since it’s pretty much established that Jay is the artist of the family, he did not take kindly to that.
We all tried to be as patient with his mood and attitude as we could be and I said all the things I needed to say. I tried to engage him in laughing at Shaunie and Ace’s failed attempts at drawing and guessing. I told him that he couldn’t get upset just because we were losing and that the game wasn’t over yet so we still had a chance and that you win some and you lose some …………………… blah blah blah.
Jay kept saying yes he understood. But he was not pleased and there was no hiding it.
Ace looked like he wanted to roll his eyes. Not at me. At the situation. He’s 12 years old. He doesn’t always have tolerance for his brother ruining good things. He’s had a lot of it in his life.
Jay is like that at school also. He often comes home with stories of being bullied. I want to take his tales at face value but I also know that what he interprets as bullying could easily be:
They’re playing a game of dodgeball and someone hits him. He gets angry about being out so takes a stand and doesn’t leave the court. The other kids start yelling at him that he’s out and needs to go sit on the sidelines. He yells back telling them that they are being mean and accuses them of bullying.
They’re playing a game of musical chairs and he makes it to the final 2 but in the end the other kid gets the final chair. Someone celebrates the other child by saying … “Yay, you’re the winner” and Jay gets mad because what he hears is that he’s the loser so then he starts yelling at the kid complaining that the kid is being mean to him and calling him names.
I know there’s some sore loser in all (or most) kids. Of course it feels better to be the winner. But Jay takes it to the extreme. Like so many other things in his life. It’s all or nothing.
I don’t know how to help him manage these emotions. I don’t want to threaten that we’ll stop playing with him. I don’t think that’s the way. Just like I didn’t think avoiding restaurants or museums was the way to go when he was a tantrumming toddler. Now we don’t have any of those worries.
I also won’t just let him win. That’s not fair to Ace or anyone else playing and it’s simply just not my style to do that.
I can see how playing with him can look less than appealing to other people though. As much as it breaks my heart to say this, I wouldn’t blame other kids if they didn’t want to invite or include him.
Any tips/tricks you can offer would be appreciated. In the mean time, I’ll just keep doing what I always do.
Stick with it. Play games. Stay calm as he gets more and more agitated. Encourage him to keep trying. Explain to him for the 4238437th time what it means to be a good sportsman and how he can’t/won’t always win so he just needs to understand that and not be a grouch about it.
In the end, we did eke out a win in the Pictionary game so, for that day at least, a Jay sized crisis was averted.