Thursday, June 24, 2010

When you're six, politics is just a game

It seems fitting that, in an extraordinary week of Australian politics, Fam Fibro has taken up Chess. I went to Aldi to buy nappies and muesli bars last week and came home with a kids’ Chess set (could have been worse, they had an enticing array of fetching women’s cycling shorts).

The Builder and I have been meaning to learn to play Chess for several years. We went so far as to buy a book about it but got so confused by the first ten pages that we gave up. The children’s version is about our level.

Mr6 is hooked. He loves the plotting and the strategising and we have endless conversations about whether the kings on the Chess board would have had swords. He has taken to dressing up as a Chess piece and has developed an interest in medieval warfare. I can be grateful that when he swings a pretend sword around it doesn’t make the same ‘zzzhzzz, zzzzhzzzz’ noise that a lightsabre makes. Small comfort.

This morning, before the actual leadership spill took place, I tried to explain to him that Kevin Rudd, whom he knew was Prime Minister, was in a bit of trouble. That a smart lady named Julia Gillard might take over and become the new Prime Minister. He looked at me, wide-eyed and nodded. Then tried to skewer me with his sword.

I’m going to try again tomorrow, over a game of Chess. If I explain that the King (Rudd) has been ousted by an all-powerful Queen (Gillard), supported by the pawns, rooks, and bishops of his own army (no white knights in sight), he might get it.

I know that he will try to tell me that the Queen cannot take out her own King. Which is when I’ll explain that politics is a dirty game and the rules change by the minute.

I will tell him to keep practising his Chess. It might come in handy one day.

{image: Che}


  1. I'd love it if you could explain the rest of politics to me via a chess analogy!

    I have just discovered lifeinapinkfibro....believe it or not, last year I was living in an orange fibro...also in a not-city-town so i can relate! Looking forward to reading more xo

  2. Oh I'm impressed with the chess. Couldn't plan ahead or think strategically like that in a month of Sundays.

    Aldi is a funny shop. They don't let anyone have trolleys or baskets over here because they get stolen. So you have to balance it on top of your buggy or cart a cardboard box around. Is it the same there?

    I hope your female PM works out better than ours ever did. Mind you, she got ousted in a coup de theatre as well. Checkmate!

  3. Why am I not surprised that Mr6 loves chess??? And, of course, he will soon understand politics better than his Aunty Bronny. Sigh.

  4. Allison you are a gem! And Mr6 probably has better strategies and manners than many of our PMs.
    It will be interesting to see the moves and machinations as the 'game' unfolds in the coming weeks and months. Be sure that I will be explaining it to our 3 utilising 'pink fibro' speak.
    x Felicity

  5. Thanks for comments everyone. The explanation going slowly. So far he is fixated - like most of Australia's media - on the fact that Julie Gillard has red hair.

  6. That's brilliant. Might have to use that explanation for the husband too.

  7. I thought of you yesterday Allison as my ranga also noted the red hair of JG - she certainly embraces her coppery tones!!!!

  8. I tried to explain to Master 4 (5 next month) what had happened and he had a serious question for me: Will the army men have to give back their guns now? I have no idea where that came from!! I'm guessing I've told him at some stage that the army help protect Australia and maybe he saw the PM visiting them on a media tour one day? Who knows, but the inner workings of a 4-yr-old's mind are fascinating.

    (Oh, and just yesterday I explained to him what 'in person' meant. He thought for a moment and said, "Well what does 'out person' mean, Mummy?" :P)

  9. @Imperfectly Me - if you've got it, flaunt it, I guess!

    @Karen - I love the army thing. He might like Chess - lots of pawns.

  10. Not sure if you saw my tweet last night, but when the 7:30 Report came on my 8yo daughter Cam was transfixed. She'd been so excited that a GIRL was now PM- but then she saw Kev in tears and lost it. "Mummy" she wailed "Why can't they just share? You always make Dec and I share."

    Why indeed? I couldn't answer...

  11. You know that I am excited about the state of play in the political arena! A lady PM. My heart flutters at the possibilities. A shame things had to get so nasty for it to come to fruition, but I guess that is politicking for you?

    Mr6 can teach his Auntie to play chess when he masters it. I am sure his explanations will be more suited to my abilities!

  12. Fantastic. He'll be planning takeovers of his own in the playground before you know it. ;) x

  13. I didn't mind the Ruddbot too much; I think he's copped a bum deal, in spite of his successes. But I'm looking forward to seeing how Queen Julia's reign pans out.

    I grew up in a pink fibro house in Thirroul, Allison. That was in the 60's/70's. Needless to say, it's not a fibro house anymore.

  14. Your Mr6 knows about the Prime Minister? I don't remember caring about Prime Ministers when I was 6 or maybe, I've just forgotten.

  15. I was impressed then by Mr 6 (now 7) and his ability to get the spill via chess. Or to get chess, even.

    Charlie (5) gets it all too. Not so Olivia. She is too busy with High School Muscial...

  16. I've never understood chess but my brother totally did. I get it logically I just don't get it strategically. Your Mr 6 is smarter than me that's for darn sure! :) x

  17. did he 'get' it?? I'm sure there isn't a little boy alive who doesn't get the idea of playing dirty!! chess and politics alike - really anaolgy actually.
    I've always been partial to the wizard-chess style game we play in our house - lots of cheering and sound effects as each (of my) piece is taken :-)
    have a great weekend

  18. Ah chess! Not a fan. But I do remember my littlest brother and mum playing time to time. It's as exciting as politics to me.
    Great idea for the rewind posts. Thanks!

  19. I often think of playing chess too....but get put off by the fact that I don't think I could master it at an adult level!
    Maybe I should buy a kids' set too.
    My 7yo and I watched the spill with fascination. She doesn't really understand it all....but loves the drama I suspect.
    Having said this, she was more than a bit ticked off that Julia had beaten her to the role as first female Prime Minister! :)

    Have a great weekend Allison. And thanks for the Weekend Rewind. It's great!


  20. Clever boy, clever post. My Mr4 was confused about the whole Rudd / Gillard thing too: we had only just taught him to know who the prime minister was (he kept on asking), and then all this happened. It was very confusing for all of us.

  21. Clever boys you have there.
    If only I'd learned chess as a child. The husband annihilates me every time. I've enough trouble remembering the rules for now, without attempting to plot and strategise.

  22. Ahhh, so that's what happened! :oP
    Great post. How is the chess phase going in the fibro household?


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