Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Subtle Shift

I have noticed something very interesting happening with Jack since he came home "sick" on Thursday. He has suddenly started showing preferences in playmates.

Sam and Quinn are two people that Jack seems like a typical kid around. He plays with them, he talks, he participates. But I think a lot of that is because Sam is such a leader, especially around his two brothers. Sam tells them what to do and they do it. Sam has always been the one they look up to and the one who dictates what they do.

Part of this is, I think, a natural part of Sam being the oldest. Naturally they look up to him. Plus he's the most advanced, so he's more capable of coming up with ideas for all of them to do. But the other part is that Jack and Quinn have never really experienced time alone together without Sam.

By the time Sam went to kindergarten, Jack started going to school all day as well. So it's not like Jack and Quinn had time to form a unit.

But they had a great time together on Thursday, and since then, Jack has started saying things such as, "I want to play with Quinn instead of Sam." Or, "I want Quinn on my team." Or, instead of, "Sam! Sam! Sam!" he says, "Um, Quinn? Quinn?"

Interesting. Because even though Sam and Jack are closer in age (19 months apart) than Jack and Quinn (two years apart), Jack and Quinn are probably closer developmentally.

I'm really interested to see where this goes. I don't expect Sam's vise grip on sibling leadership to disappear. But no matter what, I'm thrilled that something has seemed to click in Jack to make him understand that he gets to state a preference for playmates.



  1. That *is* interesting. I wonder, too, if there's a just enough of a difference btwn him and Quinn that Jack is learning a bit about being the leader and enjoying how it feels?

    Can't wait to hear more of where this goes. :-)

  2. Wow, that's fascinating. We have the issue of the two, where Andy gets upset when Joey comes home and kind of takes over stuff, after having everything all to himself all day. I wonder what Quinn thinks?

  3. Three is a hard number. I tend to worry about one feeling left out when two are playing together. But the dynamic shifts enough that I don't worry for long. Of course - I'm not willing to have a fourth to even things out!

  4. I don't know if the PDD has anything to do with it, but my younger son really gravitates towards slightly younger kids when his big brother is not around. It may be that they are less "challenging" socially, but I think that part of it is that he likes being The Big Man for a change.

    It's always great to watch kids like ours develop socially, even when it's with their siblings.

  5. That's very interesting. My nephew is much the same - he is a pretty good follower with his cousins, but really is more at the play level of his younger sister, who is several years younger but has also had the benefit of playing with her older cousins, meaning her abilities are ahead of a regular two-year old.

  6. Ooh, it IS interesting. Everything you said makes perfect sense. My son never came up with ideas like that on his own, it had to be presented to him. He's still like that to a degree. So Jack having the opportunity to spend the day with Quinn alone was an option he didn't know was there.

  7. Interesting dynamic!
    Love the individualism and the different camaraderie :)

  8. They're lucky to all have each other! I always wished I had more than one sibling around, growing up, so if I was fighting with my brother, I'd have a second choice to play with!

  9. I noticed a switch when my youngest turned three and was able to play "cool things" like Transformers and Star Wars figures pretty well. (She's got fantastic fine motor skills so she comes in handy with our group!)


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