Exhausted and done with my most beloved of chores, laundry what else, my youngest and I amused ourselves with four rounds of Word Factory. Checking the words she formed, I congratulated her for knowing words like mar, rage, trial, and the like. But she wanted to beat me seeing that after the first round I had more words formed thus my high score.
She was in charge of shaking up the letters. After having arranged them into place, she told me that we study the letters first. She turned the sandglass upside down which is to say the study will take eight minutes.
“Hey,” I said trying on a poker face, “is that allowed?”
She continued looking at the letters for a few more seconds then and giggled when she turned toward me. “Okay,” she said, “let’s start.” She turned the sandglass over.
I won the round.
In the next, while I was busily writing down quite a long list and at the same time sensing the little one beside me trying hard to search for more words she said, “you should cover your paper.”
Laughing, I said,”darling baby, you’re welcome to look at my words.” She eyed me perhaps wrestling with herself, but didn’t look.
In the last round, my other daughter came and watched. At one point and perhaps identifying with her sister, she said a word aloud.
“Hey,” I said, teasing. “How come you said that aloud?”
She gave a sheepish grin. My youngest daughter was quick. “We can write that as a bonus word. Can we?”
I laughed. “Are you two ganging up on me? But fine. Yes.”
But of course I won. Only because I wanted her to be challenged and to not stop trying in a good way. “Hey, it’s only because I’m being the mommy,” I said giving her a hug. “Why don’t you keep our papers, study them, and maybe next time you’ll be the winner.” So we wrote the dates and our names on our papers before she went and stored them.
It was a game of word recognition, but in fact, it went beyond just that. I believe she realized the challenges in having a much older and more knowledgeable opponent. To get around that, she had to be smarter. Well, she tried and she was. For one, I didn’t expect for her to tell me that we study the letters outside of the actual word search. Or, the suggestion that we write the word (tipped by her sister) as a bonus word. On my part, I realized we were in those instances playing by her rules. I believe she’ll make a good negotiator. For both of us, we saw each other in new light. With that, a renewed understanding and respect for the other’s abilities.