How much sharing should multiples have to endure?

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I grew up with three younger brothers and no sisters.  For the most part, my toys were my toys.  My brothers wanted nothing to do with my Barbie dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids and the like.  There were toys that we shared but I do not recall any big fights or incidences surrounding sharing.

My husband and I mistakenly believed that one advantage to having all girl triplets would be toy sharing.  We thought that we would not have to worry about purchasing trucks and dolls.  Baseballs and ballerina shoes.  That was all thrown out the window when we purchased three identical doll strollers.

My girls know how to share.  Whenever other children are in our home, they willingly play and share their toys.  They have never said, “That is mine,” to another child (except for their sisters).  The issue with sharing usually surrounds one playing by herself and a sister barging in to take away a toy.  I like to think of it this way – if I was happily playing by myself, off in an imaginative world, and someone ran in and swiped some of my Little People, I would be upset too.

The girls have taken over some of the toys as their own and it is a well known fact amongst the three of them what belongs to whom.  Allie has one of the Elmo dolls and a stuffed dinosaur, Anna has some of the dolls and Em has a little lion and, most recently, the pink piggy.  There are never any arguments surrounding those toys.   

I have never completed any research on this myself and I do not claim to be a child psychiatrist but another mother of mulitples told me that an expert she heard speak about raising multiples claims that each child should have his/her own toys in order to feel secure.  Interesting…

So I am the mom this holiday season who purchased three bathtime baby dolls, three baby doll bath tubs, three baby doll high chairs, three baby doll cribs and three sets of baby doll bottles.  The girls still have many “shared” toys and will receive more as Christmas presents this year.  I am not about to buy three sets of Little People play sets.

What are your views on toy sharing?  Do you purchase toys in duplicate (or triplicate)?

Sarah is the mother to two and a half year old identical triplet girls – Allie, Anna and Emily – who were born at 35 weeks and 6 days.  She works full time as a Tax Director for Big Financial Institution and enjoys sharpening her photography skills with her daughters’ help.  You can read more about her crazy life raising triplets at The Great Umbrella Heist.

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10 thoughts on “How much sharing should multiples have to endure?”

  1. We have identical girls and we have developed similar views on toys….or, it just happens to play out similarly in our house. There are duplicates of a few of the toys but not the rest. Our girls, around 15 months, started “claiming” their own toys of the ones that aren’t duplicate. I found it interesting, as well, that they don’t fight over them. It’s like they KNOW. Interesting! On the other hand, they could be playing with the exact same [duplicate] toy and want the other’s toy just because they are at that age of always wanting what the other has no matter what.

    If people are going to give the girls gifts, at this age we prefer two of the exact same thing. [Although, I totally am with you on having duplicate toys of a gajilion pieces, like Little People!] I’m sure that will change as they get older and develop their own preferences, etc.

  2. Growing up we three had three of most everything (some shared, like big dollhouses). My mom however says that she regrets ever doing that – she became quite tired of “not fair!…Stacey got…” when we were pre-teen/teenagers. I’m personally not sure that being unfair deliberately would have stopped the whining since as adults we certainly don’t keep track any more (although we did up through weddings to be honest). Just a message from the “other side”. I completely agree that a few toys that are theirs per kid is great and the rest can be shared.

  3. Oooh, excellent topic. We were the same way — originally we scoffed at the idea of buying duplicate toys. But once we had toddlers, reality set in.

    For a while we had three lawn mowers, three vacuums, three brooms, three ride-on toys, and about 10 baby dolls. When one kid wanted to play house, the others did too and the twins were very much into mimicking their big sister.

    We have fewer duplicates now that the kids are older. However, the twins have decided between themselves which action figures belong to which boy. Sometimes they ask me to mark the action figure’s foot with a silver Sharpie, to stake their claim.
    .-= Jen´s last blog’s objective: to have the coziest day ever =-.

  4. Our girls are only 11 months old, but big brother is learning to share. He would prefer the girls don’t touch anything that is or every was his toy. At this point we’re expecting them to share some toys, but they will each get a doll for Christmas. When they are older I think they’ll get some individual and some shared toys (for all three of them). The other challenge for us will be that the girls birthday is just 3 weeks after Christmas so they’ll be getting lots of gifts at one time. Hopefully we can ration them out through the year.

  5. We have “shared toys” and “individual toys,” as well. Things like Legos, the play kitchen, books are shared. When it comes to dolls I typically buy them each one, although it might be a doll from a set, rather than the same doll (for instance, one gets Snow White, one gets Cinderella, etc). I’ve had to be really careful, though, because my daughters are of the opinion that if they open a gift, it’s theirs and only theirs. When my stepmom gave them each a large basket of clothes for their birthday I spent many mornings wiping up tears because I let one sister wear a shirt from another sister’s basket. Leading up to Christmas I’ve been having discussions with them about how Santa is going to bring them some gifts (games) to share, but if a gift has their name on it (robes) then it’s their gift. Sharing is a fact of life for multiples, but I’m trying not to make it too traumatic.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..Trimming the Tree Preschool Style =-.

  6. We’ve gone shared or duplicate for whatever fits the situation best. It doesn’t really stop the bickering for them to each have their own, but it does seem to cut down on it some.

    I have 13 month old b/g , and for the holidays they are *both* getting dolls, trucks, aquadoodle mats. Two of most everything.

    When we’ve been given more girly presents for our daughter, or more boyish presents for our son, they both seem to not care at all, and play with the stuff independent of gender cares. Although, I swear, our son stakes out anything pink (not surprising, it is a faster color than the blues or greens the boyish toys come in, and until the 1930’s/40’s , pink was the “traditional” color for boys), and our daughter tends to like anything with wheels.

    Until they get old enough to care about gender identity, I’m not really going to, and until they start definitively staking out claim on toys, their toys will mostly be interchangeable.
    I know some people think it’s weird that I’m giving my son a doll (my daughter, too!), or my daughter a truck (my son, too!), but anyone who has left kids to their own with a pile of toys knows that the kids will mostly play with whatever they want until the gender identity years strike (4-7, usually), unless they are heavily pushed around about it earlier. I figure boys need to know how to be good daddies, and girls like fast cars, too. So, eh.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..On Challah and the Blending of Traditions =-.

  7. I have read the same thing from experts as well; that letting them have their own toy gives them a sense of security and something that is “theirs”. However, I don’t take it to mean that they need to get the same thing. As we all know, just because they are identical (I have identical girl twins) does not mean that they value the same toys. So if one claims some toys while the other claimes the other ones and that they understand and respect it then it meets the same purpose.

  8. Kinda waiting until the girls are a little older and I know their preferences better to get individual presents. For now, they pick lovelys out of a shared pile and assert ownership. But I’d hate to get one teddy both girls loved! Later, right?

  9. For all of us with more than one child, the role of parent/referee is not going away any time soon. I grew up in a large family … my mom swears by the advise of letting the kids sort it out themselves … she told me she never got involved unless someone started hitting or yelling … then she punished the one that lost their “negotiating skills” and peace was restored … temporarily.

    This does seem to work for me as well … mine are 4, 3, & 3. We buy a lot of our toys with the understanding that all the kids will use them. They each get their own toys, but I don’t get a lot of “This is mine, you can’t play with it”.

    Now, that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of squabbling around here … sometimes it just drives me nuts … but they seem to sort it out on their own more and more as they get older.
    .-= M´s last blog ..Christmas Traditions =-.

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