I Let Them Win

Jane had math homework tonight. The kind of math homework that requires parental involvement. I did not realize that there was such a thing, but now I know.

The homework was concerning x-y coordinates. There were four grids on the paper and places for “Player 1” and “Player 2” to record the coordinates for each of their moves. We were to play connect-4 on the grids, taking turns placing dots and writing down coordinates.

I told my husband that I’d take the first two and he could play the second two. She let me go first. I didn’t tell her that was a mistake. After my fifth turn, the game was over. She wrote “MOM” at the top to indicate that I had won.

For the second grid, she went first. It took a couple more moves, but I still won. When it became apparent to me that I would, I asked, “How am I winning when you got to go first?”

“I don’t know!”

Daddy sat down for grid three and she let him start. He won. The fourth grid took a little longer. She started and while I was in the other room, he called out, “I think she’s finally figuring it out!”

She managed to win that one. He explained to her that whoever goes first should always win.

I called from the other room, “Unless they are Jane?” We all laughed and then analyzed the progress of the games to see where she had played wrong. I suspect that was beyond the scope of the assignment, but probably a more useful education than the recording of grid coordinates.

She showed me the paper before she put it away. She had written “I let them win” at the top.

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