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It's not all fun and games

We want to be a board and card game playing family. My husband and I used to host game nights at our house after our very young children went to bed. We want to begin doing so again.We play intellectually stimulating games. Games we have to think about. Games with a lot of rules.

With Will, we thought the structure of the games and rules would be good. He is the epitome of order. When he is in a good head space and the game is very predictable--the rules are clear and cannot be argued with--he does well. If there is a chance at an argument, unfairness, or he is already struggling, they don't go well. He becomes demanding and explosive. Leigh or I have to help him diffuse and work through.

Choosing a game to play might sometimes be more of a struggle than the game play itself. Will is still very rigid in his needs and wants. We work daily on compromise with him. He might agree to play a certain game with Mack on the condition that Mack then play one of Will's choosing. Great. In theory. But we have to then ensure that each of them is upholding their end of the agreement as they would expect their brother to. Stickiness ensues.

We struggle with forcing either of them to do as the other asks. Personal and bodily autonomy is important. However, if they made an agreement, they should follow through. "I changed my mind" is often the excuse they use to get out of it. Again, we want to respect that, but sometimes, that phrase is a bit too convenient for the situation.

Yesterday, I put my foot down and reminded them that follow through on agreements is important. I required them to go do as they'd agreed. They also had to do so kindly and without argument.

Leigh and I are tired. So very tired of refereeing arguments hourly. Or more. We just don't have it in us to keep mediating the same conversation 80 times each day. At some point they'll do it on their own...

Yesterday, we were thankful they were able to complete their agreed upon mission without our additional help. And, at our party last night, they were able to play with friends and cousins without needing intervention. It was truly lovely.

Deciding on what game to play and the game itself require rules...sometimes, that is too much for me to mediate. Will is a great rule follower, but things need to be fair too. Mack isn't such a great rule follower and when he thinks he can skirt by a rule to his advantage, he will. They can learn about life through playing games together, though. So we try.

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