I’m an expert share-er. What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours. When I was in college, my roommates and I would go grocery shopping, then split the bill three ways, rather than having our own personal boxes of crackers, cartons of milk, packages of ramen noodles, etc. In retrospect that was a really bizarre arrangement.
Because sharing comes so naturally, I foster that attitude with my kids, since as of now they’re too young to rebel. With a few notable exceptions, all toys are everyone’s toys. All books are everyone’s books. However, they must take turns, and not just snatch away Malibu Barbie when her sister clearly has it bandaged up in what I can only resume is some sort of Civil War battlefield reenactment. And as of late, this has been the sticking point.
For example, Preschooler will be playing with something, and Toddler will come by and just pilfer the toy from Preschooler. Preschooler’s reaction is not to steal the toy back, but to run to me crying about her lost toy. Usually I help her out by taking the toy from Toddler and giving it back to Preschooler, while admonishing, “We don’t take toys from our sister.” But there have been times when I’ve been too busy to interfere, and simply called out to Preschooler, “JUST TAKE THE TOY BACK FROM HER!” I’m an awesome parent like that.
It works both ways, though. Toddler will be playing with a toy, and Preschooler, who hitherto had no interest in the toy, will purloin the toy from Toddler’s grasp because, “I want to play with it.” Then I have to return the toy to its rightful owner with a warning, “WE TAKE TURNS IN THIS HOUSE.”
I’m thinking my next job after this stay-at-home gig should be international peace negotiator. At this rate, I’ll surely have enough experience.