The word loser... in a word... bugs. It was the insult of choice while I was growing up (just ask my brothers), and as an adult, it's one of the two terms that really feel degrading and mean -- the other one being "pathetic." If you call someone one of these two things... I think it should be assumed you will not be speaking on friendly terms again.
Lately, with help from his pals Chicken Little and Lightning McQueen, Jacob will spout off the loser thing, especially when he's feeling his most competitive. Of course in his brain, a loser is someone who doesn't win -- and he's right. But when he turns to his brother and says "you're NOT a winner, Brady. You're a LOSER" (ala McQueen in Cars), it makes me crazy. Probably just my own issues but I make it clear that's not a cool thing to say. I certainly don't want that one tossed around at school.
Speaking of winning, Jacob's new competitive streak has fired up in recent weeks, mostly with the holiday arrival of his new Wii Cars game. He pretty much only plays it with Daddy or when friends are visiting and they can play together. Well Jake gets CAR-AZY aggressive when it comes to winning. I don't even recognize him and get upset that he takes playing a game so darn seriously. Hmmm...don't they say we dislike qualities in people that most mirror our own? (cough, cough) Odd, because we're baffled as to where he could've gotten that gene.
But his love of competition isn't just reserved for video games.
Running upstairs for teeth brushing... "I win!"
Upon cleaning his dinner plate before his siblings, "I finished first!"
And getting out to the car and buckling up before his brother and sister... "I did it! You lose!"
(Ok, that one I encourage. It can be hard at times to get three buckled up in car seats!)
Needless to say, I've been working very hard at talking with him on a regular basis, explaining that a person can't always win at everything they do and there will be times he won't be first and it's ok. He acts like he understands... and then whips my butt at something completely defeating me and the purpose.
My chance to reiterate the 'sometimes you win, sometimes you lose' lesson appeared when we went to a friend's birthday party, held at one of those places with a room full of video games. I was careful to take the time to prepare him that many of these games were meant for bigger kids and he can't expect to win every time. He rode a motorcycle... drove a car... and seemed to be doing ok.
Well when we hit one of those games where you insert the coin and it either falls into the truck, releasing tickets, or missing the truck altogether, and you get nothing...zip...bupkis, I figured he might have a little struggle since who ever wins anything in those games?
So I brace myself as Jacob inserts the token into the slot...
Well would you look at that -- first try, he wins!
So he tries again...
Wow, look at all those tickets!
He can't possibly win again... right?
The kid couldn't lose. I would actually think the game was rigged if I didn't completely miss it every time I tried. In 10 minutes or so, he won 215 tickets. (Which he shared with his siblings and they all were able to get the exact same completely useless, choking hazard of a cheap toy.)
If you look closely you can see behind those proud winning eyes, the little monster he's becoming.
But don't go judging him too harshly. While we were walking in to the party, I heard myself say "first person to see the birthday boy gets to pick first game!"
I guess the overzealous apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?