Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Turn of a Friendly Card

This past week has been a great week for Lily fixes. I picked her up after school on Wednesday, and she stayed through dinner. And she came over with her parents for Easter brunch and stayed here with Matt until evening.

I know most grandparents think their grandchildren are the best/brightest/cutest/wittiest kids in the world. But let's be honest - they're biased. And besides, they haven't met Lily. And no, I for one am not biased.

I do have to tell you that she is starting to pick up some dodgy habits when she plays cards. Her favorite game is War, and she currently stands at the top of the leader board with a record of something like 150 - 0.

Now War is a simple game in which such an unprecedented streak of luck would seem unbelievable. Matt and I were talking about it yesterday and we discovered that we both had been found out cheating when we played her and she insisted we stop.

Since we were cheating in her favor, it did pose the question of what would happen the first time Lily lost. You had better believe that neither of us wanted to be the one to do it.

Yet miraculously, even though we were no longer literally dealing some cards from the bottom of the deck, Lily has continued her unbeaten War streak. It turns out that she doesn't need our cheating help because she is more than willing to cheat on her own behalf - and do it quite well in the process.

She insists on splitting the deck in half after it is shuffled. She also has figured out that grown-ups don't pay much attention to the stuff kids do. So it was quite unexpected when I finally happened to notice at our last game that she was not only splitting the deck, she was stacking it. All the aces and kings ended up in her hand. Guess who got the 2s and 3s.

That reduced our chances of winning considerably. Even more so was the fact that she somehow ended up with about ten more cards than the adult. It would take some very freaky turns for her to lose with that advantage, but don't worry. She's even more prepared.

The line of the week had to be on Wednesday when she was playing Linda. They got into a war. (Just in case you've forgotten the rules, this is where, if you both play a card of the same value, you then count out three more. The one with the highest third card takes the lot.)

Lily loves wars. She squirms and giggles. She wins most of them, of course, and takes great delight in scooping up so many cards at once.

But playing her grandmother, she was genuinely shocked when LK showed the highest card and won the war. "But Armagh," she shouted, "that wasn't supposed to be your third card!"

Give her credit. though. When Linda asked her how she knew, she was savvy enough to clam up.

At some point, I suppose, we are going to have to teach her that it's OK to lose a hand of cards. Or at the very least, teach her not to blurt things out that give it away that she is cheating. But one of the great joys of grandparenthood is that this is one of those things we can just leave to the parents. Let's just say if someone is going to be the first one to beat her, I am definitely stacking the deck to make sure it ain't me.

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