Other-envy. The bane of the toddler-mom’s existance. Doesn’t matter what it is that child A has picked up; child B simply MUST have it. Right. NOW. There’s no lead-time on child A playing with it and making it look fun to entice child B. Literally, from the moment A picks up the cap from an empty water bottle, B desperately neeeeeeeeds to have it.
In my house, it’s Daniel who must have whatever Rebecca is holding. She picks something up, and he scrunches up his face and whines “my turn, my turn!”, which, in toddler-ese means, “give it to me right this very second.” I have tried to explain to him that, no, it’s Becca’s turn and he has to wait his turn. He then shrieks “Becca turn! Becca turn! Wait-a turn! Wait-a turn!” and continues to snatch it from her. Sigh. Every now and then I think we’re starting to make progress on the concept of waiting and sharing, but it’s slow going.
The simultaneously heart-warming and concerning part of this story is that, more often than not, Rebecca will decide fairly quickly to give whatever she has to Daniel. Not always, of course, but often. Is she just being kind and empathetic? It really is quite sweet to see. On the other hand, is she just doing it to shut him up? Is she too much of a pushover when it comes to her brother? Hard to say.
And I can’t decide what my reaction to her generosity should be. Obviously, I continue to try to get Daniel to wait his turn. But when Rebecca decides to hand over whatever she has, do I praise her kindness? Gently refuse her gesture and give the toy/book/bottlecap back to her and insist that she take her own turn (thereby inciting a spectacular meltdown from Daniel)? Let them work it out on their own?
We certainly work on our “please” and “thank you” (Daniel’s “sank-u Becca!” is awfully cute) and other general manners. But I find myself again feeling a little sensitive to the gender thing. I don’t want to inadvertently encourage my (larger) son to be physically dominant and my (smaller) daughter to be the one who always has to make others happy.
Reading too much into this? Yeah, probably. Rebecca may be wee, but she’s feisty as hell and has no trouble getting her way when she sees fit. And the more-verbal Daniel is getting better and better at spontaenous “please,” “thank you,” and “wait-a turn.” This, as with all toddler-isms, shall pass.