October 20, 2009

That's Mine Pt. 2

My sister and I are eight years apart. This means she received a lot of my hand me downs. At first it was fun seeing baby Jenna use the same coveted blankie I used as a little girl. Then she chewed it to pieces and I was a little miffed. That used to be my blankie. You think she could take better care of it. One Christmas I remember helping my mom clean up some of my old dolls that had been packed away. The brunette was "Molly." I can't remember what I called the blonde one. I was delighted that my sister would be playing with them... until she renamed them "Packie" (we think she was trying to say Cabbage Patch Kid) and "Palmer." Ummm, yeah, that's not their names. I soon decided to go through my boxes of old toys and set aside the things I just couldn't part with. I still have that box and have slowly started letting my daughters play with those toys.
My girls are never going to be in a position to give one another hand me downs, but they certainly have to learn the art of sharing. It has been a really difficult concept to explain in recent months. They are comprehending "mine" and "yours." There are certain things I never make them share: blankies, a special toy... But when it comes to birthdays and Christmas I'm starting to find myself in a real pinch.
Take their recent birthday, for example. When my dad and stepmom were visiting we had an early celebration. Grandma presented each girl with a big pink storage container full of clothes and other goodies. Since each of my daughters received a container, they logically presumed whatever was in that container was hers and hers alone. I have spent countless mornings consoling sobbing girls who can't understand why someone else is wearing "her" shirt. In the basket Cakes dug into, there was a pair of Disney Princess shoes. She insists they are her shoes... although she is starting to warm up to the idea of occaisionally sharing the shoes with her sisters.
Last Christmas Kohl's had a line of Curious George books and toys. I was so excited that there were four different stuffed animals. Now I'm constantly trying to remember who "picked" which animal Christmas morning so I can avoid arguments.
Hubby came up with an interesting solution. Before Christmas he wants to take each of the girls to a toy store and let them roam the aisles with us one on one. This will give us an idea of who enjoys what toy... and come Christmas morning could give each of them a real sense of "ownership."
All in all my daughters are very good about sharing. Just last week I took Sue Sue to a physical therapy appointment. When I picked up Roo, Cakes and Tortilla from our drop-in day care they came out with a snack. As soon as Roo saw Sue Sue did not have a snack she generously handed over some apple slices... without me asking! They're catching on to what it means to share... but some days they really just need to know something belongs solely to them.
(Don't forget, the deadline to enter the Name Your Tune CD giveaway is approaching!)


maryanne said...

My kids aren't multiples, but have very similar struggles in our home. They share most of their toys, but it's hard to figure out which ones really are the "special" ones.

Quadmama said...

It's almost heartbreaking when you see them fighting over a beloved toy.

Stephanie Barr said...

You have my sympathy and admiration. The easiest thing to do is make it one extreme or the other. When I was growing up, I had zero expectation that anything was "mine," and, since I was the oldest of seven, I noticed that frequently something I had considered mine would become someone else's at the drop of a hat. My husband, the oldest of four, lived in a household where everything had one (and only one) owner. It makes for some interesting dynamics since I don't "own" food items and Lee does. It's been a challenge to work out a system.

And that's the problem with an extreme system (though it's easier to manage) - your kids grow up unprepared for the real world and/or develop character traits that aren't necessarily healthy.

Having some things unequivocally yours is healthy for a sense of self. Having to share many things is good so you don't become a grasping materialistic jerk. You have a relatively unique set of challenges, and I think you're doing a fine job. It's tough, but your children will be better people because of the efforts you take.

Quadmama said...

Thanks, Stephanie. That's basically been my philosophy. They need to have some things be theirs, but, out of necessity most things are going to need to be shared.

Marilynne said...

Your girls are good at sharing. They are having trouble understanding what's theirs and what isn't. I can see how they'd have difficulty with that.

You might look at training the grandparents a little. (grin)

Quadmama said...


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