Thursday, 26 January 2012
Boys and their toys
One thing I have had to learn very quickly about children are the Laws of Possession. Attending first a play-group and now a kindergarten with my kids, I realised that what we as adults believe about possession, and what kids believe about possession are two very disparate entities. A typical scenario emerges as follows:
We arrive at the kindergarten, and my two (or now three, since I see Miss Snoopy doing it too - the effects of modelling other's behaviours made uncomfortably tangible) make a beeline for their favourite object. In the case of the twins, this object will be ninety-nine times out of a hundred the same item. Usually (but amazingly, not always) it will be a superhero costume of some sort. This item will then become their's exclusively for the duration of the time that we are there. This means that certain unwritten laws come into being as relates to their possession of the item. These laws are based on certain irrefutable principles, which include:
Principle 1: If I lay eyes on the item first, no matter who gets to it first physically - it automatically becomes mine.
Principle 2: If I get the item in my possession, it is mine for the duration of the time we are here. Nothing will persuade me otherwise.
Principle 3: If someone else gets the item first, it is still mine, and I will make as big a fuss about it as I can until I get it.
Principle 4: The instant that the item is put down by another child, it becomes mine immediately, even if the other child merely lost their grip on it for a moment or dropped it by mistake.
Principle 5: If I manage to grab the item during that moment of inattention, it is definitely mine and cannot be returned to the original owner without a huge fuss.
Principle 6: If, by chance, I have a momentary lapse of attention and put the item down by mistake, it still remains in my possession. If someone else picks it up at that stage, I can feel free to make a huge fuss until the item is returned to me.
Principle 7: If I remember having the item previously (as on another day when we visited the same place before), it is still mine on the next visit. If someone else now has it, I can feel justified in making a huge fuss because I had it first (two weeks ago).
Principle 8: If I have a similar item at home, then this one is doubly mine, and that means that I can make a good case to take it home at the end of the play time.
Principle 9: If my brother discovers something else that is cooler than my item, my item automatically becomes his. His item then reverts to my possession as an exchange. If he makes a huge fuss about it, refer to Principle 2.
Principle 10: If I lose interest in the item at any time, I never wanted it in the first place.