Thursday, September 23, 2010

When Toddlers Share

The other day I was sitting at the dining room table with Little Man, waiting (perhaps a tad impatiently) for him to finish his goldfish crackers so we could move on to the next thing.  The Storm Sprite was sleeping and I wanted to get the laundry folded before she woke up.  Some may wonder why I didn't just bring the laundry in and fold it while he was eating, or leave him to finish his crackers while I went to fold in the other room.  I have very good reasons for not doing either. 

The first option would result in him wanting to "help" fold the laundry.  This would mean that either I would get cracker crumbs all over my freshly laundered clothes, or I would have a boy in tears because I wouldn't allow him to help.  The second option would result in Little Man becoming lonely and bored in the dining room while I was somewhere else.  First he would start to play with his crackers, crushing a few, perhaps dropping some accidentally on the floor (or intentionally throwing them there), and would end with him pouring his water into the cracker bowl.  Perhaps he would then smoosh them up a bit, or perhaps he would just manage to spill it all over himself and the floor.  At this point he would come to find me (leaving behind him a trail of crumbs like Hansel and Gretel) and see that I was folding laundry. Here I refer you back to option one's outcome. 

None of those result sound particularly appealing, especially considering it would mean tears and more laundry.  And so I was sitting at the table. Waiting.  But not eating.  Little Man noticed my lack of snack and slid his bowl over to me saying, "Share with Mommy?" I wasn't really hungry, but I was pleased that he was being so considerate and initiating on his own sharing with someone else. So I made a big deal of thanking him for sharing and took a goldfish cracker.  After I had popped the cracker into my mouth and ate it, Little Man turned his big beautiful blue eyes on me and mournfully asked, "Where'd my cracker go? Mommy ATE it!" And proceeded to cry. 

Sometimes you just can't win, so you'd better learn to laugh.

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