Monday, May 24, 2010

Sharing, caring, and other brotherly myths.

A few days ago I heard a rustling coming from the closet by the front door. I peered around to find Oliver, my younger son, rummaging in the umbrella stand. He looked up at me, sheepish. In the container, I found what appeared to be a stash of items he had put there - a secret treasure trove of random things he'd carefully placed for safekeeping.

Instantly, I understood: the toys in this house - the ones meant for two brothers to share - are often caught in a tug of war. And usually, the bigger person wins.

No wonder Oliver has his own secret stash.

I can't blame Matthew for trying to label everything his - he's still in that phase of discovering what sharing means. And he was once the only child in this house, after all - the one to whom all the toys belonged.

While Matthew is slowly adjusting to the idea that he has to share with his brother, Oliver is only just learning that sharing is even an issue.

Often in these situations, I hastily jump to Oliver's defense, imploring Matthew to please share, to not snatch, to be kind, suggesting he find a toy to give his brother because that would be a nice thing to do.

And Oliver, the little brother, already somewhat adept at getting even, knows exactly the right sad face to pull, and just how to cry, so that I'll come running with my protective arms outstretched.

I'm a sucker for big teary eyes.

They tell me, one day they do learn to share. But I'm not holding my breath for the short term.

In the short term, all there is, is patience. And the occasional times when they play harmoniously and I run for the camera.

One of the challenges of raising two brothers close in age is teaching the art of gentleness: how to play together, how to get along, how to share, how to be kind to one another, how to be gentle.

And for me, finding a middle ground - somewhere between patiently teaching them the right way, and not flying off the handle every time someone kicks, pushes, trips, hits, or steals a toy - is an art in itself, too.

All I can do for now is steer them in the right direction.

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Chic Mama said...

Awww, that's so funny. It's amazing how young they learn isn't it.
I'm sure they will be very close and get along. My oldest two boys have the same interests and are lovely together.

Kristy said...

I only have one boy - I bet the sharing between two is tough. It's scary enough to have my child around other people's children. I cringe the whole time waiting for the shrieking Mine! and the ever-feared hit or punch.

Anonymous said...

I love their hair!!!

Hope the both learn to work it out :)

If I Could Escape . . . said...

Those are great photos. And, yes they do learn to share. Kinda! =)

Mwa said...

I'm finding that really hard, too. I find it especially tricky because I seem to be more lenient to the second child. She has so many more opportunities to lash out than the older one ever did, being on his own - I just can't interfere in every single one.

Loukia said...

Gosh, they are SO cute!

James (SeattleDad) said...

My brother was one year older and we fought over things until we left for college. But we had fun doing it.