The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Competitive...

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Testosterone is streaming through my teenage son and he feels the need to challenge me at just about everything. Even a casual stroll along the beach on Saturday resulted in a determined effort to see who could throw a stone furthest into the sea.

With the ripples on the water vanishing almost instantly in the waves it became very difficult to judge where one pebble landed in relation to another, but despite my dismissals and protestations, I’m pretty certain he won.

It’s a double edged sword for any father when his son can out perform him on certain undertakings: on the one hand there’s a sense of pride – what parent doesn’t want their children to eventually be better than them? If our offspring grow up to be bigger, faster, stronger and/or more intelligent than us, then it bodes well for the continuation of our genetic code. But at the same time, it’s a real blow to the ego when a 13 year old can beat you in a given task.

It might not be so awful, but he's such a bad winner. It’s not that he’s a particularly good loser either, but when he wins he does like to make a huge noise about it and takes every opportunity to remind you, you lost and he won.

I find I’m increasingly using my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as an excuse for underperformance, even when it’s not always justified…
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18 comments

Eryl Shields said...

You should have a chat with Stevie about this, he's been suffering it for ten years now and, as far as I can see, it never gets any easier. Though Bob still can't beat him at arm wrestling he's caught up and overtaken him in pretty much everything else. And, I think it is worse when they stop being so thrilled when they beat you because that shows it's no surprise!

So, what have you got planned for the February look, anything yet?

karatemom said...

A lot of this in our house for a few months now with our younger son , who is 15 ..200 pounds and 6 foot 2 inches tall..My husband who is 5 foot 10 has had a hard enough time getting used to looking upward at him. Worse than that,like you , our son challenges him about many things and often. With the boy being two time national silver medalist in point fighting his confidence in his abilities is high. Which of course is great except when he tells his father he could take him in a heart beat if he had to.

We just have to remember that all this challenging of their father's is quite normal and they all go through it..and much to my husbands dislike, I remind him that he did all this to his own father as well. To which he responds with a sigh and "oh yeah" ... It helps put it back in perspective for him I think.

savannah said...

sugar, having watched the MITM go through this very same thing with 4 sons, you have my sympathy! if it helps at all, at some point, he'll come to you and say, "thanks, dad, for everything you did for me when i was growing up!"

Andraste said...

Sounds like Rogan got the recessive competitive gene - the one that isn't expressed in you, but that was lying there, dormant, waiting for the right signal to develop in your offspring.

Shit, I read too much Dawkins.

Restaurant Gal said...

My daughter found me my beloved dog before I even knew I wanted or needed her. My son wishes I would pack it all in and move where he lives. Both outperform me at every turn these days. I use my crushed spirit and limbo lifestyle as excuses for why they are so on top of their games when I am so at rock bottom. Truth is, I managed to get one thing right in all the wrongs I continue to do--them. You have an extraordinary son, and I know you love him for it, especially when he wins and wins and wins,

redhead83402 said...

Ah youth!! But you know, it's a poor student that doesn't improve on the master ~ And of course, that's what it's all about. Lol ~ Sometimes, I am downright GLEEFUL to be handing it off to the younger generation. Take my lovely daughters, for instance ~ I used to worry about what all the gentlemen thought, now, I could care less, and let my girl's do the worrying ~ it's so much less stressful! Then I can just have fun. ;-D Plus, eventually, with all the challenging & growing up, you one day get that blessed event called grandchildren. That's what I'm banking on, anyway ~ in fact, I've been a bit sneaky about it, I must admit ~ I've brainwashed the kids from the time they were babes into believing that at LEAST 5 children was really the best number in the world... and I am really BANKING on the fact that once married, they will each have 5 kids, and therefore, I will get TWENTYFIVE (25, yes, hehehehe 25!!!!) grandbabies!! I know, I know, it's a long shot in the dark, with a rubberband gun at best, but hey, I can try! ;-D
~Red
ps ~ happy new year & all to you ~

MizFit said...

I love your writing.
I love the link you left in my comments yesterday.
I love that I have a daughter :)
I love that she is only 3.
I shallnotlove the teen years methinks.

Mary Witzl said...

Thank God I can still outswim my kids, but with them it's like shooting fish in a barrel: they just don't try. I envy you having a kid who exerts himself!

Just remind Rogan that winning graciously is the real trick. We've got a bad winner too, and it's tough to bear sometimes. No one likes having their nose rubbed in it.

Kim Ayres said...

Eryl - I think you'll need to come over and help me plan the February look. Bring Stevie and Bob and I'll exchange notes :)

KarateMom - I think I actually spent as much, if not more, time challenging my older brother, now I come to think of it...

Savannah - I hope he does, although only if we avoid getting into a death-struggle...

Andraste - Maggie has just laughed rather too long and loud at the idea I skipped the competitive gene. "There's nothing recessive about it!" she's just exclaimed.

Restaurant Gal - I don't think sons and daughters compete in the same way with their mothers - although I'm open to enlightenment on that. However, I'm sure if they were asked, your son & daughter would see more of the positives in you thanyou allow yourself to.

Red - Happy New Year :) 25 grandchildren? Now there's an ambition. Sounds like you're going to have to interview all the potential suitors to see that they're child-friendly :)

MizFit -
Thank you :)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I bet she's wonderful!
The best age for kids is 7 - 11 - past diapers but before puberty :)
Send her off to stay with relatives as soon as she turns 12...

Mary - do you get to do much swimming in the new place? I imagine the warm mediterranean seas are idyllic if you have the time.

PI said...

It obviosly means a great deal to him to out-do his Dad and is - I believe - a measure of his admiration and respect for you. Let alone love. Just don't flirt with his girl friends:)

problemchildbride said...

Happy New year, Kim! To you and all the family!

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - what's the point of having a son if you can't embarrass him by flirting with his girlfriends :)

Sam - Happy New Year!

Stinkypaw said...

Even if I'm not a parent, I've been feeling this way when I "play" with some of my friends' kids or with friends more in shape and competitive than myself... I think I should look into this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I've felt my mother's "jalousy" about me doing better than her, not really a nice feeling, but I guess it's all natural. Who wants to age really?

BTW, wishing you and yours a great New Year!

Conan Drumm said...

Yes I get Maggie's reaction, he wouldn't be competing with you if you weren't (however subliminally) competing with him.

I am not a particularly competitive person but if I'm pushed I WILL WIN.

A sibling was once beating me soundly at a game and made the mistake of saying, "There's nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry." That remark resulted in victory for me and humiliating defeat for them. And the last time we played that game, I think.

Kim Ayres said...

Conan - I am rather hideously competitive, but I do like to think I'm a good winner and loser.

Kim Ayres said...

Sorry Stinkypaw - missed you there - Happy New Year!

A lot depends how old you are. I much preferred my 20s to my teens. And my 30s were much better than my 20s. And with the exception of the CFS, I prefer being in my 40s to my 30s.

Jupiter's Girl said...

This is such a funny post. I love how you tell on yourself for childish competition. Really, Kim, you are such a good Dad.

I love when my kids surpass me at things. I tell my son all the time he'll be a much better driver than I am. I believe it too. I encourage them to cook, clean and organize better too. It's diabolical.

The Birdwatcher said...

Like the new header by the way. Before Christmas I was standing on the touchline watching the Munch playing rugby. He clattered a much bigger boy with a really hard tackle. One of the younger members of the thirds (The team I play for) said, blimey (or something like that anyway) that lad is gong to be one hell of a player who is he? I swelled with pride and said he is my lad actually. The younger member looked at me and smiling said "so nothing like his dad then!" Pride comes before a fall as they say.

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