Sunday, August 06, 2006


I have noticed a trend lately. K is almost always holding things in both of her hands. It is common to find her walking down the hall with 4 toys in her arms. She cannot go upstairs or down without bringing a toy or two. We can't even load the car without an additional toy. Yesterday, she pulled a dog behind her as we walked through Barnes & Noble. (As if getting 3 toddlers across a parking lot alone is not enough of a challenge, let's add a pull toy!)

I have tried to psycho-analyze this behavior, but the best I can come up with is:
A-It is a female thing like having lots of shoes or big purses full of stuff.
B- She just wants to be prepared for whatever circumstance may arise, or
C- It is primal selfishness on display in a 2 year old.

I mean, seriously, she is playing T-Ball while holding her milk cup and a golf ball in her fist!

Is this NORMAL?

My latest theory is that my operating rules on sharing (whoever was playing with it first) may be backfiring, as she has found a loophole: Never let go of something you may want later.

In all fairness, the kiddos do share voluntarily quite often. I know how difficult it is for people--especially 2 year olds-- to be unselfish. I praise them like crazy when they show each other kindness. They say "My TURN" more than they say "Mine!" They are also learning how to negotiate trades for things they want.

But at the end of they day, they are 2 year olds--who are constantly surrounded by other 2 year olds. I have tried to give them "ownership" of certain things...lovies, toothbrushes, sippy cups. I have not "assigned" ownership to toys. I am aware of their preferences and try to give them "crib time" with their individual favorites each morning. I am constantly wondering if I am doing this all the right way!!!!

Learning to navigate these waters is tough! Any tips on how to teach them to share joyfully at this age?


Paulette said...

Hello Jenmom,Kates smile is such a sweet blessing. I believe this is just a two year old thing. I used to teach preschool and we had children that did that as well to extremes when they did not want other children to have a toy they felt was special. I devised a limit and set a timer for 30 minutes and what ever they were playing with had to be put down and exchanged. The kiddos loved it and it took the focus off one certain toy. I always told the children they would always have the toys but it really did take the focus off hoarding. It may be alot easier as well with just 3 children. Believe it or not I still use time limits with my kids now for computer time and T.v so it does work.
I love the pictures!! Kates smile is awesome.

Renee said...

I agree that for the most part, it is an age thing. My 4 yr old is much better now as he is learning it is more fun when everyone plays together with the same type of toy. And really, they all do ok for the most part. I like your idea of not assigning toys to your kids. I find that a little challenging with 4 boys when everyone wants the cars or balls or whatever. But yet they all have a few things that are "special" to them.

From all of your stories, though, it sounds like you are doing a great job with the 3 of them. They will be growing up before you know it!

keri said...

it's SO normal. kids love to learn the word "mine!". i too struggle with doing things the right way or saying the right things to my little ones. its a learning process and sounds like you are doing a great job! ella still struggles with sharing sometimes. i have to constantly remind them of the verse "do to others as you would have them do to you"...kind of a confusing verse to teach a 2 year old...but i just remind them about treating others how they want to be treated. sometimes they share joyfully and sometimes they don't. obviously we can't expect a perfect response every time....they are selfish people just like we are! so just keep doing what you're doing jen...hope this helps!

Jen3 @ Amazing Trips said...

Oh my - how I laughed at this post!!! I think your psycho-analysis is right on ... but I think that ALL THREE of the factors are at play.

A) It IS a female thing. Our girls carry a load of stuff around with them, and then drape things around their neck. The "boy" ... never. He just growls like a tiger.

B) I wouldn't be surprised if having all that stuff is a means of being prepared for whatever circumstances arise. Heck ... you should see MY diaper bag. Children learn what they live with!

C) It's one thing to have all the stuff "on you" it's another thing to freak out and throw a temper tantrum when someone tries to take it away. I'm convinced the reason our girls carry so much stuff around w/ them - - is that's the only way to lay claim to what's THEIRS.

Kind of reminds me of Steve Martin's movie "The Jerk" when he is getting kicked out of the house and he starts picking up stuff ... "All I need is this chair. And this lamp. And this phone. And this table..."

You're brave. There's no way I'd trust any three of mine with a T-ball bat, they'd be swinging at each other like Pinatas filled with candy. She is SO adorable!!! :)

Teresa said...

I think it's just survival mode that she's in. Think about it...she's surrounded by 2 brothers who are ready to "take" her toy the minute she releases it. I think it shows again that girls are just more advanced than boys.

Cute pictures. She's such a doll!

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

SO CUTE THOUGH! My little one is only a year old (almost) and so I don't really know. But I loved the pictures and I do think it's a little cute.

Tamea said...

Oh, what sweet pictures!

The one thing that helped me through this phase (and all of mine outgrew it eventually) was to put it in my terms. Would I want to share my most valuable possessions? My wedding ring? Furniture? Family Bible? Sharing's tough work!

Wendy said...

I think it is an age thing and the sin nature. My kids have gotten so much better about sharing and thinking of others. I remember having play dates when they were about 2 and they would have a really hard time sharing their toys.

Belle-ah said...

My 4 year old still takes stuff with him everywhere. He always seems to scramble for something to take with him, especially to the car (wish I could get him to feel the same way about getting out and bringing all that "stuff" back into the house!). I really think he has something going on about "planning ahead/just in case"! Aren't they funny to watch and try to determine their motivation?

Meagan said...

Found your blog through CWO and I am already addicted! The commitment you have made to treasure your children struck an important chord in my heart and acted as a response to something I've been praying to the Lord about for quite some time thanks. I'll be back - you are too funny NOT to read!


Life full of blessings said...

HI, I think it is great that you wonder how you can teach your kiddos to share joyfully :) Overall, my thoughts are, that 2 yr. olds are just, well selfish, aren't we all :) and also, that is why they have a mommy there to teach them how God wants them to behave, loving and others centered. I have 5 and 3 year old girls, and as far as the sharing for them, well, I just comment on how they feel when they are thought of before the sister sharing....this strikes a cord :) I know 2 is young, but I still think they understand when they are making their sibling happy or not :) Anyways, GOD will equip you, the fact you are asking and noticing is HUGE to begin with. You sound like a GREAT mom.
Come visit me any time :)

Perri said...

Great pictures - I have 2 basic rules about sharing. If a toy is new - then the person who was the one who received it - either by birthday or buying it or whatever means - then they do NOT have to share it on the first day - it's all theirs. After that, it's to be shared. They all know and accept this rule - of course, they don't share a birthday either.

The other rule applies when someone is being overly stingy with a toy. That is ALL they can play with for the ENTIRE day. Let me assure you that the plastic ice cream cone that shoots off the foam dip of ice cream loses its attraction in a hurry when they realize they are playing with it for the next 8 hours. This rule has taken care of a LOT of disagreements on their own.

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I am hoping to help them out by not only supporting them in prayers but spreading the word of their prayer needs!

Amanda said...

My one and a half year old always carries something around. Usually it's MY purse or MY shoes.

My three and a half year old brings stuff in the car, to the dinner table, to the bathtub. We have had to teach him that he can bring only ONE thing.

JenMom said...

Thanks, ya'll! Your comments made me feel so much better! Perri...THOSE are exactly the "creative parenting strategies" of yours that I love!

kim said...

Hi Jen, loved those sweet pics.

I think you are way ahead of most of us who just have one "youngest" and giving in and letting them have it for the very few minutes they will want it anyway is just oh so easy. (hear that audible sigh?) My 3 year old is starting not to like that solution with his 1 yr old sister though I admit.

Have you every read any of Ted Tripp's books? "Shephearding A Child's heart" and he has a parenting video series as well. Anyway, he gives an example of this in there. He says one morning he got up to find one of his children sitting in the playroom surrounded by every last toy from the toy box. When he asked him what he was doing, the child's response was this. "I got them all first today, they are all mine!" Kind of mind boggling that they can think this way at such young ages!

I still use time restraints with our 14 and 11 yr olds when they just can't "work it out between yourselves". We also don't assign ownership when we don't have to but sometimes I do catagorize toys as friend toys, company toys, personal toys, sharing toys, bedroom toys, downstairs/upstairs toys, whatever the situation calls for!

I love that you sing songs about joy with them. Doesn't joy just become all the deeper and heartfelt when we share it with someone? Take heart, Your little ones are way ahead in the sharing with others lessons I'm certain. What a life skill. And it's just not ours anyway now is it? "A happy heart is a thankful heart" ~ credit to Madame Bluebery and the Veggie Tale bunch.