And the winner is……………………..

Published February 6, 2014 by thefamilyof5

I’ve mentioned before about the girls being competitive, lately, they’ve gone in to overdrive.

Everything has become a competition, they’ll even compete to loose, its madness!

It starts as soon as I get them up, the intensity can vary, but its every day.

There’s a frenzied rush to scramble out of bed and be the first to yell ‘Good morning XXgirl & XXgirl’.

Then there’s the rush to dress first, funnily enough I don’t mind this one so much!

They all take it in turns to use the bathroom and I’ve noticed that there seems to be a subtle competition over who can get the tooth paste off their brush in a whole lump and plop it in the sink, I put the toothpaste on their brushes otherwise it becomes a competition over who can use the most.

Then its time to brush hair, they quickly and painfully drag their hairbrushes through their hair to get all the knots out whilst shoving themselves in front of each other to try and be first to get to me to have their hair tied up.

Then there is the race to get down stairs, first, who’d have thought putting on schools shoes was so exciting, although some days it can be about who can be the last.

Next its about being the first one to check the school timetable for PE dates, even though they all know their own PE days, but they rush to check the timetable and victoriously inform the looser’s of their days activities.

Then starts the race to be the first to get their school bags ready, and then to be first at the table thus choosing the best seat, I notice the ‘best’ seat changes daily, in fact I don’t think there even is a best seat, its just about wanting the seat that was sat in first, the winner sits in their throne gloating.

Then its drink time whilst I organise breakfast. The competition over drinking changes frequently, I struggle to keep up. One days its who can drink the most before the toast arrives, another day its who can drink the least thus saving the most for after toast and other days its all about being the fastest drinker, or the nosiest drinker or the quietest, honestly I’m not making this up!

I cautiously prepare the mornings toast trying to ensure I toast/brown each piece equally and apply the exact amount of spread to each slice, it will only become something else to compete about otherwise, leaving them gloating about how ‘My toast is the crunchiest’ ‘I love it when there’s lots of butter on my toast’ ‘I love the crust, its the best’ honestly the pressure for me to keep things ‘even, at that time of the morning, before I’ve even had coffee is immense!

Then the competitive eating starts, it can be about eating the fastest, the slowest, making the most crumbs, the least crumbs or even about having the cleanest plate. They have poker faces too, they’ll lull each other in to thinking the days competition is to eat slow and then suddenly change tactic and start eating faster than a rabid dog in an attempt to ‘win’. I get indigestion and I’m not even eating!

Then the mad rush to be first to the door starts, apparently being closest to door ‘wins’, it doesn’t matter that I tell them every morning to move away from the door so I can open it, making them change their game play to who can be farthest from the door, its all about being first!

I’d like to say it stops once we leave the house but actually, it gets worse.

There’s the rush to get to the car first and open the boot door so baby girl and middle girl can quickly try and put their school bags in the place most likely to obstruct big girl getting to her seat (7 seater, she gets in via the boot door).

Then the journey to school, oh how I love the journey to school, not.

Before we’ve even pulled off the drive someone will announce that they plan to count how many buses, vans, lorrys, bins, people etc etc they can spot on our journey, they quickly begin counting ‘1,2,3,4,5,20,26,40,100’ We haven’t even got the car out of our teeny close at this point.

The counting continues with the ‘game’ constantly changing to whatever they feel will achieve them the most, all the time getting louder and louder and faster and faster. I’d just like to add as well that they always count the same things as each other! The ‘looser’ often covertly deciding to change the object of choice and will suddenly start counting faster and faster only informing her sisters of her change of tactic when questioned.

Middle girl: I cant see any more red cars how are you still counting them?
Baby Girl: oh I’m not doing them any more I’m counting flies now, 1005, 1006 a million!’

Then we arrive at school and I go home and enjoy the quiet until home time when it all starts again as soon as they get in the car!

I got 5 house points today
I got 6
My teacher said I’m on fire
My teacher said she’s moving me up a reading level
My teacher said my handwriting is getting really good
I finished my dinner super fast today
I played with 5 friends today
I played with 6
I fell over today
I fell over and bumped my head.

You get the idea.

I don’t know why things have become so competitive all the time. There’s been a lot of change here these last few months it could be that, or perhaps its the school’s competitive ‘house points’ and reward systems, or maybe one of them is worried about something and the other 2 are just feeding off that anxiety. Either way, Its not healthy. This amount of competitiveness day in, day out, does nothing for their moods or mine. They’re bickering non stop. I’m exhausted and fed up. I cant tell you how draining it all is. I wake up feeling irritated!

I think this is a good example of whats meant by the ‘Trauma Bond’. They have this innate need to compete, to be the best, in order to survive, because in the past that’s what got them through the tough times and at times of anxiety all of this becomes exasperated.

Now I just need to figure out whats triggering all of this, I have to be mom, psychiatrist, referee as well as therapist right now because we still don’t have a new therapist (placing authority and local authority don’t appear to be in a rush).

I’ve linked this up over at theadoptionsocial.com for this week’s #WASO (weekly adoption shout out)

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23 comments on “And the winner is……………………..

  • Oh heavens, sounds fun! (not). Boyo loves to be competitive but being an only child can only excel in it when we see cousins or have friends round. And yes, then life turns into one long competition!
    I hope you get to the bottom of the problem.

  • I can certainly empathise! Our 3 are in constant competition, and as an only child I will NEVER understand it. Even competitions which sound like they should be positives leave me cringing. We have competitive thanking (which drives me nuts) and competitive helping (which is no help at all). Board games are an absolute nightmare as everyone tries to shaft each other, and our 7y/o in particular is a really ugly loser. It’s really been getting me down.

    We did a SafeBase / Theraplay course recently and I had a chat with the tutor about it. She suggested playing co-operative rather than competitive games, where everyone has to work as a team to achieve a goal. I don’t always have the energy for this, but I’ve made a couple of little changes – I now herd them out of the door as “Team Jones” in the mornings instead of refereeing a competitive leave-taking contest, and use phrases like “we’re a team”, “let’s ALL do it together” when I can. I also ask them to do little favours for me and for each other, though this can sometimes lead to outbreak of competitive unsolicited helping if not carefully managed…

    I’m not sure if the competition has lessened or whether my skin’s grown a little thicker, but these minor changes have certainly reduced the tension a bit.

    Anyway, best of luck – I have to go & get the post-school snacks lined up ready for the winner of the competitive-coat-and shoe-putting-away race. Or rather, the winning team.

    All the best!
    Rachel x

    • Oh my, we’re living the same life!
      totally get what you mean about the unhelpful competitive helping lol and games, oh my, never, they get out of hand far too quickly!
      Im going to try that ‘team’ idea of yours and see if it works! however, having one child (at least) that’s autistic the idea of being part of a team is quite alien to her πŸ™‚

      • Best of luck. You’ve really got me thinking about this now – instead of the usual competitive hugging contest at the school gate this morning we all had a tight huddle together and a 10-second team-talk before they ran off together. Holding hands!!! A minor miracle.

  • This sounds exactly like our house. You have summed it up perfectly! It’s been like this for 2 years so I have given up on anything changing in the near future and try to manage it as best as I can. Hope it sorts itself out for your girls soon x

  • This is so familiar to me. We had years of awful competitiveness. I had to stand between them every time they walked through a door because they constantly got hurt fighting over who would be first!
    Oddly, it has died down recently. Maybe they outgrew it? They’re nine and seven now.
    Giving them each lots of special time helped too. Maybe Love Bombing would help?
    But, you have my sympathy. It is grim stuff!

    • we’re at 7, 8 and 9 now with no signs of improvement! :/
      interestingly i had the book ‘Love Bombing’ for Christmas. I really cant see it being physically possible with 3 without causing jealously and rejection :/

      • Eek!
        We gave our children one weekend each three weekends in a row. Husband did Love Bombing with each child in turn. I took the other two to my parents’ and had fun there. Pretty massive commitment from everyone (my parents are amazing), and it would be a real let-down if it didn’t work.
        We used it to help with the violence. We were pretty desperate!
        I found the hardest bit was the half hour a day follow up. We haven’t kept that up at all. But, even ten minutes every day has helped.

      • I know this will sound really dismissive but honestly, the fall-out from that would be too much I feel and practically I don’t even know ‘how’ we could do it. If one of us took a child away for a weekend to a hotel, we’d have to book 2 separate rooms as they wouldn’t sleep if we were in the same room, and even then they wouldn’t sleep because they’d be freaked out about the new place/change etc it’d send them all in to anxiety override, too ‘different’ to our normal lives, they’d freak lol
        Also, totally get what you mean about the follow up, finding 1:1 time with 3 is really hard isn’t it and I guess without this ‘follow up’ work, it’d just be pointless :/

      • Oh, no, it’s not dismissive. Sorry, I just misunderstood and thought you were wondering about practicalities.
        Honestly, it wouldn’t work for every family, and it’s such a huge commitment, it would be a real drain on energy that could be directed elsewhere if you tried it and it didn’t work!
        Afraid I have nothing else on competitiveness, only lots of sympathy!
        Living around the constant battling is horrible.

  • “Mom, psychiatrist, referee, therapist” – and more! Whenever its tough for us, i remember you guys with multiple children, and then i don’t feel so bad!
    I’m not sure it is our job to be all those titles. I think the Mom role is the most important, an if being the referee and therapist starts causing more antagonism in the relationship, then the better choice may be to let the referee sit on the bench rather than intervene (easier said than done, i know!).
    Having said that – you are a great referee, psychiatrist and therapist. And an awesome mum. Mx

  • Oh yes! Anytime my boys are in each others company (or even when they are not) it is compete compete compete . Anytime, Everywhere
    It is exhausting, frustrating and so much more.
    You have my sympathy

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