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Share? No Way.

Maddie’s hit a rough patch
developmentally, where she has no desire to share ANYTHING. Couple
that with her new mastery and understanding of the word,
“Mine!” and you’ve got a cauldron of trouble.

We’ve been working with her on sharing for several months, of
course, and she’s been pretty amiable about it up until
recently. In the beginning, to be sure, she didn’t mind
sharing because she didn’t realize anything was actually
hers. As time went on she became less enthusiastic about sharing
but still didn’t pitch too much of a fuss. On the swings, for
example, we’d make her get off before she really wanted to if
there was a line of people waiting for the full swings. She’d
look unhappy, and we’d talk about the importance of sharing
and how she was sharing the swing with another little girl and
making that little girl happy. She seemed to get it and was ok with
it, even though every day walking to the park she’d say,
“Maddie no share swing please!” “Hopefully you
won’t have to, but if it’s crowded you’ll need to
share.” And thus it went.

A couple weeks ago, though, Maddie became
fiercely possessive of EVERYTHING of hers and is now coveting toys
that don’t even belong to her. We used to have play dates
where I’d search the house beforehand, picking up those
special toys that Maddie was too attached to so as to head off a
meltdown. Now if I did that, the room would be bare. And if her
friend Naomi brings anything to the park, Maddie immediately claims
it as her own and screams when told differently. Having learned our
lesson, Ingrid and I often give identical small gifts to the girls:
Maddie and Naomi both got duckie purses for Easter, and Naomi gave
Maddie a stuffed duck identical to her own that Maddie had been
lusting after – er, admiring.

Yesterday, though, was the worst example of such behavior, from
what I hear: Brian was on Maddie duty while I worked, and when
Naomi met them in the park proudly pushing a new dolly stroller,
things quickly went downhill. Both girls had been eyeing the dolly
strollers being pushed around by other girls for a few weeks and
were clearly enamored with the idea. Ingrid and I had discussed
getting a dolly stroller for each of the girls and Brian and I were
in fact planning on giving one to Maddie for her birthday in June.

When Maddie saw that stroller all talk of friendship and sharing
went out the window. She had eyes for nothing – no swing, no
slide, no Naomi – as long as she was allowed to push the
stroller around. This, mind you, while Naomi cried at having her
stroller taken away. When Maddie had to “share”
Naomi’s own stroller with her, the screaming got so bad that
the stroller was sent night-night for the rest of the play time.

How do I know all of this if I was not there? Maddie told me all
about it. Several times. She couldn’t stop talking about how
she cried having to share Naomi’s stroller. So we’re
going to try to hang in there and not give her the toy stroller
we’d just ordered before her birthday, but we’ll see
how long we hold out.

Meanwhile, all we can do is try to ride this newest wave and hold
firm. She clearly understands that not everything is hers, because
she can talk about it for days afterwards. But in the midst of the
crisis there’s no consoling her and with one eye on not
spoiling the child we’re holding firm and not giving in,
though it breaks our heart to see hers so truly broken.

If anyone has any suggestions, we’d love to hear them.


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