Captain Jelly Belly is in this annoying phase right now where he always has to be first, be the best, have the most. After every meal, it’s “Who did the best eating?” Every morning, it’s “Who did the best sleeping?” When we watch football on TV, he wants to know who is currently winning, and then declares, “Oh good, I want that team to win.” Then, if the score changes, he changes his allegiance to match.
There is an up side; we can get him to do almost anything by threating him with last place:
Captain: I don’t waaaaaaant to goooooo to the maaaaaall!
Me: Okay, but I’m going to have my shoes on first.
Captain: No no no! Me!!
Me: Sure, but I’m going to have my coat on first.
Captain: NOOOO! MEEEE!
Me: And I bet I can get in the car faster than you.
And next thing you know, we’re at the mall.
The down side, though, is that he’s often fighting with Gal Smiley over who gets to be first and best. On the stairs, he’ll race to get ahead of her, which is dangerous and strictly not allowed, but it’s one rule he can’t bring himself to obey because being first is all that matters. If Gal gets her food first, or gets dressed first, or brushes her teeth first before bed, we’re risking a serious meltdown. If we dare to suggest that Gal did better sleeping than him (the Wee One is never in the running), we’re destined for a morning’s worth of pouting.
Almost every day, we head down to the basement to get a little exercise by riding bikes. Our basement stairs are smack in the middle of the house, so they provide a convenient centre column to help form a cycling oval. We have two bikes — a large trike and a two-wheeler with training wheels. We had to work all summer to get the Captain comfortable on the two-wheeler, and while we were encouraging him and teaching him and cheering him on, Gal Smiley very quietly in the background learned to ride it too. So now, when we head down to the basement, they fight over who gets to ride the “big bike.”
At least, they used to. The fighting over the big bike was driving me crazy, so I made a new rule: whoever rides the trike gets to be “first.” Now, CJB will only ride the trike. Sometimes, when Gal Smiley goes off to play with something else, he’ll tentatively leave the trike and tiptoe over to reach for the big bike…but as soon as GS makes a move towards the trike, he zips right back there. “No! Mine! I AM FIRST.”
The other night Sir Monkeypants and I were both really, really tired, and so we used Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who would have to put CJB to bed. I won, as usual — it’s a gift. The Captain was really interested in what we were doing so we took a few minutes to teach him the game.
He had a lot of trouble understanding that every one of the three items could be beat by something else. He kept asking us, “Which one is the best? Which one is going to win?” and we had to explain to him that every item had something it could beat, but also something that would beat it, and it all depended on what the other person chose. It took a really, really long time, but I think he kind of got it in the end. It was just like that scene in War Games when they teach the supercomputer the concept of futility by having it play Tic Tac Toe over and over and over again. He has been taught! The world has been saved!
Then the Captain and Sir Monkeypants got into this cycle where they both kept picking rock over and over again, and CJB thought that the whole “tie” concept was Hiiiiiilarious, so we played that scenario about a million times. He’d laugh and laugh and laugh, and we’d laugh too, mostly due to the frantic ten-times-per-second hand shaking he does before selecting rock.
Good old rock, nothin’ beats rock.