The Thrill of Annihilation

These three children, all of whom were born of the same two parents (as if that wasn’t obvious enough – they were clearly cut from the same mold), could not be more different from one another.

One of the unique privileges of motherhood is the ability to know another human being with a depth that is nothing short of miraculous. I remember distinctly the first time I held Sloan and looked at his face and thought, “There you are.” His face was so familier to me, I felt I had known him my entire life. It’s as though he was buried inside my soul for a lifetime and we were finally reunited.

And now, as they grow older, I am so intimately connected to them, it almost leaves me breathless. I mean, sometimes they surprise me with their ability to love one thing one day and hate it the next (socks are my nemesis), but the innate fabric of their beings are familiar and I know exactly what they struggle with and how they will succeed.

When it comes to competition, they are all very much their own individuals. Competition is woven into the fabric of our family. My husband was a collegiate basketball player – sports and competition make him feel as if the world is still spinning rightly on it’s axis.

If there were a child that I could pinpoint being most like his daddy in personality, it would be my bubbly thirdborn. He lives for sports and is ready at any moment of the day to play a game of baseball or basketball or football or anything that allows him to hold a ball in his hands.

He does not like to lose. Oh my, how he hates to lose. The thrill of the victory is what keeps him moving each day. Defeat is not readily accepted and tears are shed often. Even an innocent game of UNO can leave him desperate if victory does not come after the first round. The last time he and I played, he refused to put down his card, because he knew I was going to win.

He has yet to acknowledge my win because technically we never finished the game, therefore technically he did not lose.

The firstborn is a lot like me when it comes to sports. He doesn’t like to lose, but he doesn’t necessarily care about winning either. He’s there for the social aspect of it all. He is not overly competitive and aggression is not in his makeup. He just wants to play and talk and have a good time.

I love that about him.

And then there’s the girl. She, like her younger brother, is hyper competitive but for different reasons. While Landon loves to win for the thrill of the victory, Tia likes to win for the thrill of annihilation. She doesn’t just want to win – she wants to destroy her competition.

Case in point:

Last week, she and I were doing some ab work. She has this freaky love for all things fitness, which keeps me in decent shape, so I’m not complaining. Lee came in and watched us working and challenged Tia to a tuck up competition. Tuck ups are when you lay on your back and crunch up, pulling your knees to your shoulders.

They’re hard.

Tia did 40 tuck ups, then sat on the couch and looked at her dad. “Beat that,” she said with a grin. So he did. He did 50 tuck ups. This did not settle well with the girl who refuses to lose.

She slid to the floor and started again. “You only have to do 51 to beat Dad,” I told her but she did not acknowledge my presense, her face intensely focused on the wall in front of her. She hit 50, then 60, then 70 and she began shaking and sweating. Her arms trembled and pain washed over her face.

“You won, Tia,” Lee and I laughed. “You can stop.”

But she didn’t. She kept going to 80 then 90 then 100 and finally 101. She collapsed on the floor and laid there panting and shaking. Lee leaned over her and grinned. “So I guess you beat me, huh?” he said.

“Dad,” she gasped. “I wanted…to…crush you.”

We can only hope that this attitude will one day keep the boys at bay a little bit. Here’s to hoping she intimidates them just enough that they’ll know how hard they’d have to work to keep up…and maybe they’ll stay away.

We can dream, right?

Are there unique traits that you see in your children that leave you shaking your head in wonder?


  1. Watch that girl! That level of crazy cute combined the will and ability to annihilate may be unprecedented. You don’t know what you’re dealing with here! I LOVE TIA!

    • Yeah. If it turns out that the I intimidation factor doesn’t work, Lee says there’s always the option of sending her to a convent…in Austria. 🙂

  2. candy martin says

    I remember having a talk with you when you were in 6th grade about your strong desire to beat the boys in any competition. You had this “Anything a boy can do, I can do better”. I think you loved being challenged by them so you could prove it! And of course there was the black eye you gave the neighbor boy to show him you meant business! We all need to be nice to Tia because she may rule the world someday. And quite frankly, she intimidates me a bit. If she offers a challenge to me, I quickly use my age to back down. And as far as Landon, I have already told him I will not play UNO with him again. So much fun to watch you mother these unique, beautiful, grandkids of mine!

  3. It still just blows my mind that children raised in the same house with the same two parents can be so very different!!
    Megan, my oldest, was my easiest, most well behaved child. She didn’t (and still doesn’t) like to be dirty at all. We were perfect together! ha ha Tim was mischevious and roared through childhood with abandonment. He feared nothing and I’m not sure I ever got all the dirt off that child. Nathan was so painfully shy. You could see how much it stressed him if he thought he was going to have to talk to an adult. He’s thankfully coming out of that, and now prefers to keep everyone laughing. I’ve had more than one teacher tell me it’s hard to get upset with him. hmm….I’m guessing the big brown/green eyes and red hair get to them just like they do me. and Rachel, whew, sometimes I jokingly say, “I wonder if God knew what he was doing when he gave her to me last.” She tries me at every turn. She’s more stubborn and strongwilled than any child I have ever known. Her drama is worthy of many Oscar nominations, but then she has the most kind, compassionate heart I’ve ever seen. Which means it breaks easily. She struggles with self confidence, but her love of people blows me away. Her capacity for forgiveness, wow, I have so much I could learn from her.
    So yes, I shake my head daily, thanking God for these beautiful wonderful children that keep my life so full of love!

  4. My Kristin…WHERE did she get that deadpan straightforward sense of humor??? And why is it that when she draws animal scenes they often depict beautifully detailed happy looking buzzards circling a deer carcass? And the deer seems happy to be dead.

    I’d offer this about my Emily: if Tia one day finds world domination, she knows where to find a good “Vice-Dominator.”

    • Tia and Emily – Co-Dominators. Has a nice ring. 🙂

      And I TOTALLY KNOW where Kristin gets her sense of humor. *cough* her mom *cough* 🙂