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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


Sharing and caring

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There's a notion that because you have multiple children, they will have a magical bond of love and will want to do things like share their toys and cuddle all the time. And though there are times when the cuteness of two or more children hugging or playing together is extreme, there are many, many times where they don't want to share.

Being a triplet doesn't mean you aren't a normal child. No child wants to share. I don't care if you're a singleton, a twin a triplet or some other higher order. We've gone through enough birthdays and Christmases not to mention other holidays to prove it.

Ownership isn't a tough concept. When a toy belongs to someone, it's theirs. Sharing, on the other hand, is nuanced, complicated - and opens the doors to layers and layers of meanness. You have to establish so many things - as if establishing them helps with the kids cope with not being able to play with the toy they want.

For instance, one of our kids' recent birthday presents is a really fun pickup truck with construction guys. There was a cement mixer, a skid steer and a flatbed trailer. But only one pickup truck. This was apparently the coolest item of the lot: everyone wanted to play with it, bring it up to their own room and not let anyone else touch it. Because if they touch it May the Powers the Be help you. Even looking at it in a manner that would make them think the other might touch was grounds for a snit fit.

Most parents of young children have heard the term 'parallel play.' It refers to kids playing in the same area, but not with the same things. Someone is reading, someone is playing with blocks, someone is using the trains. Even if they are at the same activity station, in parallel play they aren't playing together, they're playing near each other. That works out well enough for our kids, but if someone's train isn't moving fast enough, or someone decides that puzzle looks interesting, the whole thing quickly devolves.

We're four years into this joy ride, and we're just starting to see the cooperative light. It has been getting better. My son will grab my daughter by the arm and re-enact scenes from 'Curious George.' Thomas and Percy from Sodor are best friends, so in order to play the roles the girls have to get along which they will now do with some prompting.

Once they are at an age where sharing is a thing, it will happen. And it's really nice when it does.


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