I mentioned in my previous entry that the kids entertained themselves in the car during our roadtrip by playing with their stuffed animals. This "playing with stuffed animals" phenomenon deserves an entire blog entry, I feel, because it has become a significant part of our kids' play life.
During our long roadtrip, I did get the chance to ask Daniel about it, and confirmed what I had suspected: Daniel said they started playing with their stuffed animals only after Esther came along. It is her "feminine" influence on the boys that is bringing out their nurturing side. Here are some things the boys will regularly say and do with their stuffed animals:
1) Daniel often says: "Can I read to Brandon, Mummy? Brandon likes to read before he sleeps."
Brandon is his stuffed jaguar.
2) Benjamin regularly spends time plucking the dirt off Cutie's fur. "Cutie likes to be clean," Benjamin will say.
Cutie is his stuffed leopard.
3) Esther loves playing this game the three kids invented, called "Cutie Express". Cutie, the leopard, gets put at the back of the dump truck and gets hauled around various rooms of the house. Each room is a new country. The game involves packing luggage, visiting new "countries" and exploring the house.
4) Daniel "feeds" Brandon. In Penang, I overheard him asking Brandon if he'd like haw flakes. He then put a haw flake to Brandon's mouth, and "fed" Ashurah too.
Ashurah is Esther's bear.
5) Daniel, Benjamin and Esther spent a lot of time in the car speaking in "animal" voices and making up stories involving Brandon, Cutie and Ashurah. Sometimes, Brandon would be the Daddy, Cutie the Brother and Ashurah the baby.
6) Daniel and Benjamin have started to say, "I miss Brandon/Cutie." when they are not with them.
7) When they wake up in the morning, they would tuck Brandon, Cutie & Ashurah neatly into bed, under the blankets, with their heads sticking out.
I am really amused and really like the way Daniel & Benjamin are nurturing and loving their stuffed animals. Husband said he had stuffed animals all the way to teen hood. And so did I!
Esther loves to nurture her toys--she'll regularly cut Ashurah & her other dollies' hair, check their heartbeat, feed them medicine and cook for them. Her play is definitely more relational. And the boys have picked up on that. When Esther got her first small doll house when she turned two, it was the boys who were fascinated with all the small, intricate parts that it held. And now, it seems that her love for nurturing stuffed animals is rubbing off on them, in a good way!
By the way, the boys' play also has had an effect on Esther. This afternoon, she invited me to "play cars" with her, and it involved banging and rolling our cars together, smashing them as hard as we could! Hmm---very "boy" leh. Other stuff she has picked up from the boys--well, I'm almost embarrassed to say but she has learnt the lyrics to "Baby You Light Up My World" by One Direction, and another annoying song by Justin Bieber that I can't remember right now ! Aigh.
I've always thought it'd be good for the boys to have a sister, and for a girl to have brothers. This holiday, I've seen up close how the three kids are learning to play from each other, and it's been so cool!