We are playing Connect 4 in the pub. Well I say the pub, it's more 'pub lite', a facsimile of the real thing with carefully placed beams and extortionately priced drinks*. It's pleasant enough, child friendly without being plastic, but not particularly authentic. You get in via a carpeted office style corridor, and there's a shiny lift to the posh restaurant upstairs.
Having said that, it's so long since I've been in any sort of pub, authentic or not, that I'm not one to quibble. It's 6 pm and after a late nap we're killing an hour post-swim and pre-tea. The baby is playing with a toy in her buggy and intermittently watching the lights on the fruit machine. The toddler is colouring in, the picture and coffee-cup full of crayons provided by the establishment. He pouts in concentration, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his lips, and scribbles red lines on Tinkerbell's face.
Board games are also provided. My spoilsport husband refuses to bring Mousetrap from the pile beside the bar so Connect 4 will have to do. We rack it up and begin. I'm the red tokens, he the yellow. Drop, pause, drop, pause, drop, long pause as we approach stalemate. The satisfying clunks have roused T from his crayoning. 'I want to play!' His father distracts him momentarily. With a few more moments thinking time he has this game in the bag. T fiddles with the catch at the bottom of the frame, threatening to send our carefully arranged counters into a pile. 'I want to plaaaaaaaay'. The whining is a bad sign. My husband taps his next token on the table, irritated, but T is one step ahead. He picks up a red disc and pops it into the nearest column before clapping himself enthusiastically.
My husband sits back and sighs. Then, moving forward, he looks at the game again. 'He's won it!' I don't understand 'He's bloody won it, look where he's put that piece!'. I follow the top red counter down ... one, two, three, four in a diagonal row! My two year old, without a thought, broke our grown-up impasse and won the game. And, as luck would have it, he picked up one of my pieces to do it.
Accidental victory is victory all the same and I claim the win. I love my boy!
*£9 for a pint, a G&T and a small orange squash. I don't drink much any more but that's dear, right?