It's actually now occurred to me that this little 'friend' of Sam's may also have an allegiance to Eleanor.
For as long as I can remember, Eleanor and Sam have been partners in crime. Where mischief follows one, the other is usually attached, either in thought or bodily presence. They are incapable of causing havoc on a solitary basis. They have a symbiotic relationship of knee-high mischievousness.
I think it's now dawning on them that it's becoming futile blaming the other as they are slowly learning that involvement of any nature means discipline for the pair of them. So, what better than to introduce a 'friend', who can take ALL the blame?
Furthermore, it isn't at all surprising that the introduction of this 'friend' to our family has come via Sam. Eleanor is the instructor in these instances, and Sam is cunningly manipulated into carrying out his sister's instructions without feeling that he is in any way being puppetteered. He's usually under the impression that her ideas are great and worthy of carrying out and defending should an offence be committed and later exposed.
I love the relationship they have. I love their commitment to each other, even if it results in them being naughty. It shows a spirit, an independence of thinking, personality and vibrancy. I never had this with my siblings so it's great to see it in my children. And to balance the scales, they have many, many days where they are great friends, have fun together, behave well, encourage one another and help each other in times of difficulty.