Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toddler Property Laws

My friend who recently got married is in the midst of some serious spring cleaning and came across some information sheets from when her two teenage daughters were toddlers and she passed them on to me.  Although I'm sure I've seen this before, I don't remember where or when, but the truth of it made me smile.
Toddler Property Laws:
If I like it, it's mine.
It it's in my hand, it's mine.
If I can take it from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
It it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
If I saw it first, it's mine.
If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
If it's broken, it's yours.
I think these sorts of anecdotes are supposed to make us feel better when our toddler's act possessive with their toys and belongings.  I suppose that ownership in and of itself is a fairly new concept for a 2 year old, its part of their realization of self.

Sometimes I worry that I take for granted the understanding that we are individual entities, with our own thoughts, feelings and opinions?  As a parent, I try to keep things in perspective; to the boy the world must feel so big and overwhelming sometimes.  But with his ever increasing vocabulary, and sometimes boldly defiant behaviour, it can become so easy to forget.

Is there a way for parents to effectively keep our expectations in check with our children's development, at least most of the time?    Last week the boy said 'I'm hungry' for the first time and in the moment I didn't even realize the magnitude of growth and understanding associated with saying 'I'm hungry' rather than just 'hungry'.  Granted he hasn't said it again, but when I realized that he had made a connection between what he was feeling with himself as an individual, my heart swelled with pride.   

I know I'll never realistically be able to consider the boys mental and emotional development in every moment and every action, but I try and relish in the little accomplishments because I already see that with children in tow, time flies by in the blink of an eye.