Sunday, 26 July 2009


I want to be a winner! Or die trying.

Other than The Whys, Jamie has another current obsession: being 'the winner'. By the winner, he means getting / doing things first. For example, this is how I start my mornings:

Scene: Doling out breakfast, handing two plates of toast to two toddlers at precisely the same time.
Jamie: (panicked) I want to be a winner with the toast!
Maia: I winner too!
Jamie: (paroxysms of anxiety) 'No, I'm the winner of the toast!'
Maia: No, I winner!
Jamie: (crying) I want to be the winner of the toast!
Maia: (crying) I winner too!
Me: (lamenting the absurdity of her life) For God's Sake! You're both winners of the toast!

And so it goes... Winner of the Shoes. Winner of the Juice. Winner of the Toothpaste. This competitive spirit has pervaded the minutiae of our lives.

So the other day, we took the bus across town to meet up with our new friend Lucy and her two kids Robert and Emily. We were all on foot because it's a lottery whether you get an evil bus driver who won't let you on with a buggy. As a bonus, it couldn't have been raining any harder. I'm sure you won't be shocked to hear that I find walking beside the road with two toddlers stressful, but as I'm not a driver we have a considerable experience of it. I devote most of my energy to attempting to hold Maia's hand / hood / back of her coat, keeping my body between her and the road, or just carrying her screaming and kicking under my arm if she doesn't listen. I more or less trust Jamie, because he is old enough to appreciate the danger of roads, and isn't a risk-taker like his sister. Or so I thought. As we approached the pedestrian crossing with the delectable button to press, he broke off at a full sprint to try to be the Winner of the Crossing. Finding Robert an obstacle to being the Winner, he executed a move normally seen in American Football and looped around him, slightly into the road. This is how my mind's eye remembers it:

Robert wasn't actually on a trike, but that's the only picture I had of him. And maybe the road didn't have a cement mixer, a Ferrari, a double decker bus, a steamroller, a fire engine, a motorcycle and a combine harvester all on it in a haphazard fashion, but it was still pretty dangerous and made my stomach clench in fear. I'm not really sure why I'm telling you this because I feel like a terrible mother for letting this happen on my watch. Like the Winner of the Guilt perhaps.


  1. Love the idea of combine harvesters in the middle of Edinburgh! Believe me, the "winner" syndrome doesn't go away - we have winner of getting dressed, winner of socks, winner of getting cereal. Shame it's never Winner of getting completely ready for school with book bag in car before mum starts yelling....

  2. You see I have a bit of a mixed bag of thoughts with competitiveness. We have friends who only have one child where they have no competitiveness that siblings have and things take forever to happen because there is no-one to race with and hurry along. Although like Nicky says, shame it rarely extends as far as getting ready for school.
    Jamie and Maia sound so like Jack and Lou. Lou is always winding Jack up, telling him she has done something first and she can run faster than him...something he is not impressed with because he is older ;)

  3. It puts most of your major organs in your mouth when they do that...!

    I'm the winner *is* a good thing - I'm sure of it. It's got to be better than the "anti-winner" syndrome that affects the limbs of my 6 year old for whom teenager-ness has come early on occasions (but who can be relied upon for a bit of sock-winner competitiveness most mornings ;o) )

  4. Aargh! Having had one bolter, who seems to have calmed down now, I can empathise.

    By the way: this is increasingly ridiculous. I'm pretty sure I know Lucy, in fact, I think she still has a sling of mine. And I think I might even have met you! So. Meet up. Will DM :)

  5. (I like how one commenter says she has some friends who "ONLY" have one child...)

    I am an only child and so is boy*jelly and I would say we're just as competitive at eating toast.
    Eating anything in fact!

  6. I've been there and I just have the one too.

    She loves to be the winner of absolutely everything except when it comes to finishing her food and getting dressed and she was once the winner in a race down the stairs against nobody in particular which involved her jumping down the last four stairs!!!

    She hasn't outgrown it yet either and I imagine it will only get worse when she starts school:)

  7. A little boy came into the library where I work the other day and said to his mum in a very pleased voice, "No-one beat us to the library, did they mummy?". I could have told him that yes, lots of people had beaten him as we had been open since 9.30 and it was now 11.15. But I'm not quite that mean :)

  8. Having 2 kids was the reason i learned to drive, i could not of handled it...... I used to be driving along the road and my son would unclip his carseat belt and climb onto the back window and have a lie down so i can wave to the cars mummy.... He even managed to get out and climb through to sit on the front seat, so i had some company..... I ended up having to clip him into reigns, the car seat, and even put the cars seatbelt over him too, and he still could get out..... he was a nightmare.......

  9. husband just called upstairs, worried: "are you crying?"

    love the roadscape, my kids wore "reins" till they were about 14 and taller than me, I think.