A huge factor as to why Sam is having the time of her life here in Manila is because everyday she gets to play with her three cousins. They live right beside my inlaws’ house (where we are currently residing for the duration of this trip), and everyday one of them comes over to look for Sam — and vice-versa. Everyday there is an instant play date.
At first, Sam was admittedly a little shocked because her three cousins (Kai, Santi & Janina), who are all used to playing together and being noisy together, were so happy to see her that they were literally dancing and jumping circles around her. I suppose because the three of them are always together on a daily basis, they are so used to socializing and are all very outgoing. It didn’t take long for her to lose her shyness though and drop all inhibition, and before long she was dancing and jumping about with them as well. Being around them is of course a stark contrast to her daily quiet life and routine back in Chapel Hill, but they tire her out sure enough that she knocks out without a hitch at the end of the day.
Kai, Santi and Janina also have another cousin Erin, who is of the same age as Sam and Janina, and often spends time with the three. Together with Jamie there are six kids bouncing up and down and running all over the place it is always a fun, riot-filled party. Jamie, although she still cannot “play” alongside everyone else, loves to watch and squeal in delight at the chaos. She is also a “favorite” amongst her cousins who enjoy having her around and trying to play with her. I think they think she’s a live doll that they can squish and kiss and play with. 🙂
Watching their dynamics together is a treat for us all. They are all so different it’s fun to see how they work things out and interact with one another. Sometimes Sam chooses to just copy whatever Kai does. Or you’ll see that she and Nina will want to play with the same thing, so there has to be a set of two of the same kind. Strangely enough they all like to dance to the tune of Maroon 5’s, Moves Like Jagger and at one point they did so in the living room, I thought that all we lacked was a disco ball. There was also a time that we all squeezed into their van to go and watch the Ayala Triangle Light Show, and I swear, it was a traveling circus. There is never a dull moment.
It brings back fond memories of our days when we would play with our own cousins. My husband says that they would always play together that it was as if they had another set of siblings growing up. And that is true, up until this day when most are married and with their own little families; they are all still very close and get together very often (Think of it as adult playdates… haha! My husband has so many male cousins he’s close to that they were actually able to form their own Alumni basketball team!).
In the old days parents would have large families, with 6 or 7 kids. My mom came from a family of 7; my husband’s parents come from a families of 6 and 8 respectively. In my generation, I know a lot of moms who think that 1 or 2 kids is enough. My sister-in-law and I agree that we’re both done with procreating, and so we are happy to have our kids play with each other as if they were all siblings together. It works out well for me for both girls, since Jamie also has a bunch of girl cousins born this year with whom she can grow up and play with!
With cousins, someone always brings something new into the mix that every get together is interesting and fun. They are also together enough to love each other, but apart enough as well to miss each other, so that they would want to get together again.