Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Axis and Allies

JED are growing up to the point where their play has organisation and structure (self-created structure). They imagine a game and make up the rules along the way. For most part, the twins understand each other perfectly and are often in sync. This isn't surprising. They are after all, at the same developmental markers and have been exposed to the same type of 'rule' education. Most importantly, they have shared a womb with one another, grown up with one another and instinctively 'get' each other. Muffin, on the other hand is a little bit of the outsider.

He is younger; so his understanding of playing together is less developed. He doesn't know to abide by the 'rules', wanting to create his own much to the chargin of his older siblings.

They end up bickering and taking sides. They form alliances. Jordan with Muffin against Evan. (That causes Evan to sulk and go do his own thing). The twins against Muffin (reducing Muffin into a 'hurl himself onto the floor' tantrum and in no way advancing his cause) and seldom but not unusual, along gender lines, boys against girl.

Jordan and Muffin occur when Jordan is feeling particularly maternal and adopts Muffin as her pet. And Muffin, being the all faithful puppy/ cub will follow her around and allow her to 'feed' and 'comb' his hair. Evan is too old to play house and will then roam the house declaring he is bored.

The twins will always have that special bond with one another and we see their closeness more obviously now. They chatter, they tell each other about their days and they play. More often than not, Evan will not want to go to the playground if he doesn't have Jordan to go with him. He has declared it boring with her. It's finally paid off. Those years of having to bear with two screaming infants/ toddlers/ pre-schoolers are finally past and they are each other's best friends. It does reallly warm our hearts to see them this close.

The least often seen alliance is between the two boys. Probably because Evan and Jordan have grown up with one another, possibly because Muffin is younger and irritates his brother while trying desperately to just be like him and most likely because Evan sees Muffin as competition. He is younger, less rational and often we tell him that he needs to give in to his younger brother. It has helped that we call Muffin on his brat behaviour and insist that he shares with his elder brother. He has no choice but to petulantly do as he is told. But their common interest in Star Wars has brought them together, against their sister. They plot and negotiate with her because they want to watch Star Wars ad nauseum. They talk non-stop about the characters and in his more nurturing moments, Evan explains the characters to Muffin and they have long discussions about the plots. When Jordan comes to me, feeling all dejected and left out, I take her to do girly things like craft or stringing necklaces or just watching one of her favourite movies. The lines in the house definitely run along gender lines on these occasions.

We have realised that these axis- ally permutations occur because there are three of them. When the number drops to two, the house is peaceful and the remaining two just play and just get along. This happened recently when Jordan went to stay with her cousin and the two boys, for the want of playmates, just got along with one another. They watched television together and on occasion when Muffin tried to push for his way, we overheard Evan just explaining very clearly to him why it was that he couldn't get what he wanted. Of course, part of it was Evan pulling rank but Muffin seemed a lot more willing to concede.

We did see how much 'toll' this took on Muffin; when he finally saw Jordan and burst into tears, clinging onto her with dear life, declaring how much he missed her and wanted her home.

But when all the stars are aligned, all three get along like a house on fire. They play, they guffaw and they collude against us. That's when we sit back, smile and revel in the chaos.



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