I never learned how to play cards until I was an adult, well, except Go Fish and UNO.
But real cards, like Gin Rummy, Spades, Solitaire, Blackjack, Poker, and one of my favorites, the lesser-known, Polish Poker, are one of the areas of my life where I learned a lot.
Earlier in the week Annika came across a deck of Skip-Bo cards. She had found them a few months ago and played with them, mostly just pretending they were something else. This time, she said to me, “Mama, let’s play cards.”
Well. Okay then. Let me get my smokes and a six-pack.
Anyway, I said ok. We sat down at her toddler table and I started shuffling the cards. I dealt about six cards each while she fooled around with the pile.
I showed her how to stack the cards into a deck. I showed her that we each had our own cards. I showed her that we could pick cards from the deck.
She didn’t really get any of it. She handed me a bunch of cards and showed me her hand.
But it was fun. As we sat there, she shared some details about her stay at Toyin’s over the weekend that was really random and the type of information that she usually doesn’t divulge. It wasn’t anything bad, it was just random information.
Oddly enough, I had picked up a package of Go Fish cards for her over the weekend. Then as we were sitting there, it hit me. I can skip right over the kids’ card games and start teaching her the real games.
When you think about it, cards can teach a lot of good life skills.
For example: Never show your cards right away. If you’re in a precarious situation, bluffing can be helpful. Stay cool under pressure. Cards teach confidence and humility. You don’t always win, even when you have a great hand. But you should always try again. Having the right partner makes a huge difference in winning and losing. Some people work better together than others. Be a good loser. Don’t gloat. But be confident. Don’t assume anything. Don’t underestimate your competition. Playing by yourself can be fun too. Don’t undervalue your hand. Things are not always what they seem.
I love to play cards and it’s one of the things I miss about my old life. It’s a skill I’d like to share with Annika.
So, I’m thinking that I’m going to skip the kids’ cards and just start teaching her how to play the real games. I made that mistake with music and now we can’t ever listen to the radio. These days we are wearing out Dino 5. I really don’t want to spend the next 10 years playing Go Fish.