It wasn’t an especially good or bad day. I didn’t do my walk but I did play Littlest Pet Shop and chess with a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old. Important fact: there is no way to win chess when you team up with the younger sister against the older sister.
The older sister says she knows the rules, but not being Bobby Fischer, she has only a tenuous grasp at best of a very complex system and is easily confused. As she is still learning what each piece is allowed to do, strategy is out of the question, not that I’m any good at strategy. I spent most of my efforts playing both sides and giving her lots of advice on how to beat me, while still trying to legitimately play my own side so that I wasn’t just giving away the game and to keep the younger sister happy. Eventually, the younger sister gave up on my side about when I lost our queen because her sister was clearly winning since she had taken more of our pieces (4 pawns and the queen while I had both her knights and a rook: quality is always trumped by quantity with kids). I was a terrible sport when I was young (at the first sign of losing, I would declare that everyone was a cheater and quit, usually with an abundance of shrieking and tears). I expect little better from young girls. I only had to scold once for rude bragging (it’s just not done in chess). Besides, one shouldn’t brag about taking a piece her opponent told her to take. The lesson, of course, is that there’s no way to please everyone. And now I want to play chess. Bugger.
It was a fine line between teaching the game and keeping them interested. And then we had to get ready for gymnastics, so I took a picture of the game (I was definitely losing), and off we went.
Have you ever seen gymnastics? It’s pretty incredible how much strength and control is necessary for even the most trifling of events. If you ever find yourself scoffing at it as, well, not a sport or too easy, I invite you to take an 8-year-old to her gymnastics practice (provided you are an approved guardian or friend of the parents). Once there you will see a gym full of (mostly) girls ages, say 6-16, doing warm-up exercises that would make GI Jane faint. It’s deeply unsettling to see shoulder muscles rippling on a preteen in a spangly leotard. When I draw female super heroes, they will be built like those athletes: narrow-hipped, flat-chested, and toned.
Anyway, that was an education. The rest of the day was just a day, nothing special. Except I finished another batch of tiramisu ice cream, the entirety of which I would eat right now if I wasn’t worried about my husband catching me. Of will power, I can speak little. However, peer pressure is certainly a guarantor of good decisions.