August 3, 2004 - Tuesday
Harry, Jeremy, and I happened to meet Rip and his dad at the library this afternoon and I mentioned how this past weekend Harry had been echoing to Jeremy what Rip had been doing to him. Rip's dad is just as interested in emerging relationship dynamics of these little people as I am so we spent several minutes more talking about and trying to figure out what is going one with Rip's occasional desire not to play with Harry. Over the past week I have been very worried that Rip might actually be tiring of Harry as a friend. Rip's father said he had talked to Rip about his not wanting to play with Harry, but it hardly made anything all that. Rip's dad says Rip claims he doesn't want to play with Harry sometimes, although does acknowledge matter-of-factly that Harry is still his best friend. When asked to reconcile the two, Rip's answers, I'm told, get four-year-old vague.
It would be quite normal and reasonable, on the one hand, for Rip to want to play with others some of the time. But maybe there's another, more interesting dynamic at play. Rip's dad says that Rip has been seeing a lot of Rachel outside school because their mothers are coworkers. Since Rachel is a young girl of five, she is much further along in this experimentation with relationships and power and Rip's dad senses much of what Rip is doing with Harry has been observed. And, it makes good sense. I know Rachel pretty well, she's a friend of Harry's, too, and someone he and Rip are often playing with when I arrive in the afternoon. What's more, of that group, she is the proverbial ring leader. I think of Rachel as a very nice, charming, and confident little girl, but I've also seen her happily and jokingly testing the limits set by the teachers. It's easy to imagine her similarly experimenting with the limits of relationships. I've never seen or met her father, but when I look at her I've often thought that she's the type that might have a father wrapped around her figure. It's easy to extrapolate and see her working the angles with others to gain some form of control and easy to see her "teaching" Rip about that power.