A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Territorial Tots

Children are instinctively territorial... and those that reside in my house are always ready to wage war over ownership rights. And when the whole affair degenerates quickly into a battle royale, I'm sure the neighbours must think that we're the most contemptible excuse for parents ever to grace the planet. My 3 year old more than the almost 9 year old... most likely because of the birth order and having to protect what's hers, with every might and mane, from a much older sibling.

I'm no speech therapist but even I have observed that one of the first words that dominates their early vocabulary with great clarity is the shamelessly egotistical "Mine, mine!", reminiscent of a bratty Daffy Duck from days gone by or more recently, the mindless utterances of sea gulls from Finding Nemo. The 3 year old demands exactness, "Is this mine?" or "Is this yours, mummy?" or "That's [insert big sister's name]'s" even if no one else in the house can fit into the dress or the Size 3 undies. In her little mind, she must be sure that she has stuff to lay claim to and brag about. In a house littered with junk, it seems very important to her that she owns some it.

For a while there I wondered about this compulsion to stake claim and label. Clearly, some of it has to do with personal boundaries. I don't blame the 3 year old sometimes for getting cranky with the older sister who has a tendency to "take over" and "hijack" and generally, for playing fast and loose with territorial rights.

Lately I've noticed that the 3 year old taking an interest in identity politics.
"You a man, Daddy... You don't wear dresses." 
"Oh, that's the girl toilet... and that's the boy toilet."
"I a girl, [insert big sister's name]'s a girl, Mummy's a girl but Daddy's a man."
Conversation overheard between the green fork and a red spoon. "No, you're not green... you're red."
Response. "No, I'm red and you're green."

No doubt, children like to be sure.

1 comment:

  1. Three is such a fun and lovable age - for all those reasons!


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