"Share!" the toddler said

"Share!" the toddler said

“Share!” she says, signing it for good measure to make sure I understand. “Share!”

But it doesn’t mean what she thinks it means. To her, it’s similar to the very common “MINE!”

She says “Share!” when the dog sits on her blankie without permission.

“Share!” when he is sitting on her brand new toddler bed, well away from where she is, and yet it’s too close to her and she wants him OFF.

“Share!” when the dog is sitting next to me, because all of sudden she wants to sit next to me too despite playing happily for ages with some toy.

“Share!” if a cat is sitting on something that is hers and she doesn’t want them touching it.

My god, I only have one child and I still have sibling rivalry.

Dear little one, it does not mean what you think it means.

When you are using “SHARE!” you are asserting your boundaries. Especially when you also say, “NO!” which is probably what you really mean. I think.

It’s something that I’ll be parenting for years, shaping it along the best I can.

It’s okay to tell people NO if they get too close. NO, when the cats keep creeping closer and closer to your stuff.  It’s okay to yell SHARE! when all you really want is personal space because dogs and cats don’t really understand personal space.

Because it means you are practicing saying NO to people who might try to get too close to you. People who push boundaries and invade your personal space. God forbid, against people like Donald Trump.

You are practicing with your pets, with the other children at the museum or at daycare, with your mommy and daddy.

Of course, sometimes mommy and daddy and daycare has to remind you to be the one to share–that ball? It’s meant to be tossed around. There’s only one. You all have to share it. You have to share the art easel. The cars in the Vroom Room. But that’s part of your learning process. Your childhood development.

When you yell SHARE! and NO! I know you will grow confident in understanding where your boundaries are, and confident enough to protect them.

I was never that confident with my boundaries as a kid–smile, be polite, and quietly tolerate it, is what I grew up with. Being a child of a narcissistic parent, boundaries don’t really exist. It was never really fostered, aside from those talks about stranger danger, parts of the body, and so on.

Because it’s not always a stranger. And it’s not always someone immediately going after parts of the body. They start slow. They invade your personal space.

And you rightfully assert your space.

Good job, little one. And yes, I will share these M&Ms with you, but the dog was here first next to me. How about you share and let him sit here and sit on my lap instead?

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