Sharing is an odd thing. It’s a complete social construct, which we spend an excessive amount of our children’s formative years trying to teach them. “You have to share, darling!” we trill as they engage in a death battle over some Lego. And they completely ignore us.
In my opinion, it’s not so much that it’s hard to learn to share. It’s more that children have their own ideas on what sharing is all about.
Their motto is, ‘What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.’
And they don’t give a crap if you don’t like it.
The kids have got it pretty good here. I make meals that they like most of the time. Apart from the occasional junk, they get healthy, balanced food. It doesn’t taste that bad either. So if this is the case, why does each mealtime follow the same routine?
We sit down to eat. Everybody has the same food. I am starving, and looking forward to tucking in.
So far, all good.
Suddenly, I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. There is a Little Girl hand, silently sliding across the table towards my plate.
I look up. There on her face is an innocent-looking, winning smile.
“What are you doing?”
“Can I have a piece of your chicken?” The grin widens.
“No honey,” I reply, ” You have some chicken on your own plate.”
Obviously, food stolen from a parent’s plate tastes a lot better than the identical stuff on your own. Especially if said parent really, really wants to eat it.
Added to that, I have Squeak bent double over the highchair, reaching and stretching as far as she can, saying, “Eh! Eh! Eh!” When you also consider Big Girl making puppy dog eyes at any opportunity, you must realise that mealtimes are not exactly a relaxing experience.
And don’t even get me started on the drama caused by me eating cake, at the same time as them.
Sharing Your Personal Space, a.k.a. The Couch Creep
Kids like to be close to you. Like, close. And that’s ok some of the time. Everyone loves a cuddle, right?
But once it gets to the point where your molecules start to meld, it’s gone too far.
I’m sitting on the couch. For once, the kids are feeling chilled. They’re reading, watching TV, or playing a bizarrely elaborate game involving Papa Smurf and Cinderella. Or, you know, whatever. The point is, they’re sitting down too.
With no demands on my time, I’m grabbing a minute to, well, do what I’m doing right now. The blog doesn’t write itself, you know!
The child advances until she is tucked up against me. It’s a lovely feeling, which lasts approximately 3 seconds.
Because she keeps on coming. And on. And on.
I find myself wedged in a space about half the size I need. A toddler couldn’t fit in there. There’s an elbow digging into some vital organ, and breathing is slightly more difficult than it was before. It’s not comfortable.
I’m not sure of the purpose of it. Surely touching is close enough?
I guess not.
Sharing Your Bed
As babies, the girls have always slept with me. Big Girl flirted with the idea of a cot for a few months, but other than that they have been at their most contented snuggled up next to me.
Big Girl sleeps in her own bed all the time now, unless she has a nightmare. And she’s actually quite nice to share a bed with. She wraps an arm around you and stays still and peaceful for the rest of the night.
Little Girl takes a slightly more unconventional approach to cosleeping. Her preference is to place one hand on each side of your face and sleep nose-to-nose with you, periodically shifting to kick you in the thigh.
Squeak still sleeps with us. She’s not that bad overall. When she wakes up, a simple feed is usually enough to settle her.
It’s the time before we come up that’s the problem.
I settle her down at 8ish, and then spend a couple of hours downstairs. Apart from the numerous re-settlings, of course.
And it doesn’t matter where she is on the bed when I leave. I can guarantee that when I come up to bed, there is only one place she will be.
In my pillow space.
If I’m having a particularly lucky day, she will end up on Mark’s side instead.
So I end up perched on the end of my own bed, shoulders sagging, eyes drooping, waiting for Squeak to stir so I can slide in quietly next to her.
That is not sharing.
Sharing With Siblings