Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rock-Paper-Scissors at Home

I joked a couple years ago that our family was a good game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Toddler Prince could get Mommy to do anything he wanted, Mommy could get me to do anything she wanted, and I could get Prince to do anything I wanted. So I would enforce Joy's will on Prince and life was good. The thing is, while you could easily say "Rock beats scissors" it would be in very poor taste to say "Daddy beats his son."

With Princess, the dynamic has had to change. Now Joy is wrapped around Princess' finger and Prince is left out. This shows a very good reason that you need an odd number of choices for RPS to work (as in Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock).

Prince obeys Daddy, Daddy obeys Mommy, Mommy obeys Princess, and so by all rights Princess ought to obey Prince. Prince is certainly trying his hardest to get her to obey. "No! Princess no! You're not supposed to eat the shoe." She doesn't obey him yet though, which would make her a trump card that always wins, so the game gets uninteresting.

Then there's the problem of what to do when Daddy and Princess meet up, or Mommy and Prince. If one of us succeeds at winning the relationship, we get a different kind of imbalance: Mommy wins 2/3, for instance, and she becomes the trump. There might be some hope IF Prince can win Mommy and I can win Princess. Then we return to the three-node game: Mommy obeys children, Daddy obeys Mommy, children obey Daddy.

Let me emphasize, I'm being highly silly in all this and over-generalizing. On the other hand, when I shared it with Joy, she thought my last concept was a great idea. "Then we'd be working together as a team."

Otherwise, our only hope of restoring a Rock-Paper-Scissors harmony to the house is to have another kid. Or maybe a smart pet.