Butting in line comes naturally.

(originally posted September 15, 2009)

I'm on the fence about whether or not I believe that we're born with a competitive spirit or not. A few years ago I fully believed that it must just develop over time after we've been in situations where competitiveness weeds out the meek. But after this weekend, I am once again on the fence.

Last weekend I attended my nieces fourth birthday party. It was one of those neighborhood type of things where nineteen kids under the age of ten show up. I still don't know if their parents were there. And yet there were only like four cars in the driveway (two of which belonged to the hosts). This was a special treat for my three year old son. He has tons of friends but there are only five of them. I'm not sure he knew this many kids existed. But when the chaos was at its peak, the games began...with tape the bow on Minnie Mouse.

I'm pretty sure Caden's never played this game. And I'm not even sure he's ever really been dizzy. But after some prodding, he slumped over to the end of the line. The three kids ahead of him made sure he was back there instead of next to them. And I of course watched as close as a mother bird who leaves the nest for the first time...I was determined to witness every moment of this 'first' for him. Little did I know, the challenge was not the spinning and taping; it was just getting to the front of the line.

As the kids took their turn--there are nineteen remember--the others got restless. And the boys back by Caden seemed to hop in and out of line more than I could keep track. And with every one, my son would peek at me under his every-woman-would-kill-for- eyelashes-that-thick-and-long eyelashes, I immediately knew what he was scheming. He was waiting for the perfect moment to cut in front of these boys just so he wouldn't be last.

Gotta hand it to him for at least attempting to be sneaky. He failed by the way...just as he took a few baby steps up, the kid he passed swung around and scooted his way back in line. An evil look or two later, Caden was just about to the front. And moments later, he forgot that he was last.

So it looks like the only thing that's changed from butting as a three year old to butting as a twenty-nine year old is that I'm not sure the adults ever really forget. And I know we'd fight like hell to keep the place we cheated to get.