Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Learning to Share

So, here’s an issue I’ve been dealing with concerning Lily lately…she’s not much of a sharer. Many people have told me she’s still very young and that she will learn to share eventually, and to just keep teaching her when the appropriate moment arises. Yet, others seem to think this could be an issue and that I should be firmer in teaching her this valuable skill. Case in point:

Monday I took Lily to one of our local parks and we had a few sharing “incidents.” First, she has gotten into the habit of carrying her beloved Bert and Ernie dolls with her wherever she goes now, and her travel companions caught the eye of another toddler playing at the park named, Nora. Nora pointed right at the dolls and started to head right for them, but her mom stopped her as soon as Lily started to tense up and cry. It’s really that easy to set her over the edge- one only needs to imply that they may want to check out the toy she’s holding or even simply looking at

Running around at the park with her best buddies
  Little Nora went on and on about Bert and Ernie, but her dear mom did a good job of keeping her cub away from Little Miss Crankypants Lily. Lily went about her business, but then another little girl who was probably around 2 ½ came over to us and started throwing a green ball around. It seemed that she was definitely trying to get Lily’s attention so they could play. Lily, on the other hand, was interested in nothing but getting that ball from the little girl. The little girl would throw the ball, then Lily would go after it, and then the little girl would go after it too, always getting to the ball first. This upset Lily, although it was clear to me the tot was merely trying to play a game with her.

She went back over to her mom in a confused state, and her mom in turn coaxed her into trying to play with Lily again by rolling the ball to her to she could roll it back. What a sweet lady, such good intentions…too bad she doesn’t know my daughter. Lily instead only wanted to obtain the ball for herself and run away with it, but the little girl’s mom persisted in trying to get them to play together, so I decided to use this time as a learning experience for Lily. It took about ten tried before I finally got Lily to let go of the ball for the little girl to chase and then return to Lily again, and it looked as if Lily was finally starting to understand the simple game of catch and toss. It was pure bliss for me, the Worrisome Mom, when that moment came where Lily looked at the ball in her hand, then looked at the little girl waiting for her to send it back, then let go of the ball and let it roll over to her without crying. I cheered her on and so did the little girl and her mom. What a breakthrough! We had forgotten about little Nora at this time…

It was when the little girl had sent the ball back to Lily again that Nora came out of nowhere exclaiming, “Ball!” and ran right up to Lily and snatched the ball from her hands. This resulted in an eruption of tears from both the ball players, Nora’s mom scurrying up to her telling her “No!” and each little crying girl running to their mother’s arms.

Nora’s mom looked so embarrassed, as I had when Lily kept trying to take the ball for herself. She got Nora to return the ball without much fuss and things quieted back down, but not for Lily. She appeared to be more confused than ever, so I tried to get her to go on the swings with the little girl she’d been playing with, but she was just too upset and indicated to me she wanted to leave. So, leave we did, but not before I said goodbye to the fellow moms and thanked the ball-owner’s mom for the encouragement. Unfortunately, I did not catch her or her darling daughter’s name, so I hope to see them playing at the park again sometime.

This is just a particularly amusing example of Lily’s sharing trials and tribulations; there have been many more where she just screamed and cried and one time she even poked the poor little girl admiring the same pumpkin in the patch as she right in the eye! (The little girl was fine, thank goodness!). So, now, Dear Readers, I am once again asking for fellow moms with toddlers- or with kids who once were toddlers -to weigh in on this and offer up any advice they may have. Is this “normal”? Is Lily still too young to really understand sharing? Should I continue to be patient and just let things evolve? Is there a helpful way you taught yours how to share?

Thanks a lot, and check back Friday for another yummy cookie recipe!

Bonus cutie :)

1 comment:

  1. Totally, totally normal as you saw with both girls at the park. You are right to let her know the social rules as was the other mom, but they are babies. The best way to handle these play dates is to have more than one of the good stuff. I would bring an extra ball, or an extra snack, or extra sand toys, or bubbles. This helped, it also let them know a nice way to share. But expect babies and little children to want to play with other's toys and if your little one goes on an official play date don't let them bring their beloved toy, it just makes it easier! You are both doing great!!


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