I am not selfish. This is going to sound selfish.
We are working with the boy on sharing. Sometimes he allows his sisters to play with him, sometimes he doesn’t. He’s two. It’s a crap shoot. As I kept repeating, “You need to share” I realized just how hard this is, not just for toddlers, but for adults sometimes. OK, it’s hard for me. I’m talking about me. I’m talking about me and food and the non-shareage of it.
When food is bought, it’s with the assumption that everyone “might” want some. Yet, there are some things I buy that are specifically for me and I’d rather that be respected. Maybe it’s just a particular brand or flavor of yogurt or ice cream, but when someone eats the last of it, I get irritated. When I’m eating and a random child shows up, usually a child who has already been fed, and asks for some, yes I comply (OK, usually!), but I also might roll my eyes. I don’t want to be selfish, but this typically happens after they’ve already eaten. If it’s something they’ve never had before, then sure, taste away. But if it’s just that you need a snack, your snack is not on my plate. Find a granola bar.
I’ve been known to hide the last strawberry shortcake in an empty Brussels sprouts bag. I just wanted ONE!
Told you it’d sound selfish.
My husband and I have been together since the early 90s. This year we celebrated 10 years of marriage. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s not as hard as people seem to want to believe either. My parents divorced around the time I was my oldest duaghter’s age –11. One of my father’s common sayings is “There is no I in Our.” I hear him say this every time he’s visiting and someone refers to something as “mine.” He believes everything in the house should be referred to as ours. On this we disagree. I share with my family (OK, yes, still talking about food), but there are some things that are simply for me only.
I’ve been thinking about this because as we were shopping for school supplies, I grabbed an extra box of crayons.
“Oh, Mommy, we already have a box. You can put that one back.”
“That one’s for me.”
Suddenly the cart stopped moving. The girls looked at each other and laughed loudly at the absurdity. Silly mommy. One of them put the crayons back on the shelf. I slowly walked around them, picked up the crayons and placed them back into the cart. I said to them, looking each in the eye, “These are mine.”
As a child, I used to color incessantly. It was a form of therapy. Bad day at school? Color. Fight with a friend? Color.
As a teenager, it continued. Bad day at school? Color. Fight with a friend? Color. Fight with my mother? Color. Lost a date two weeks before prom? Color. Then write his name 75 times in the diary preceded by the word die.
I never thought this coloring habit was odd until I had children. Kids like to color too, except they suck at it. In my analness, I am unable to disregard their utter lack of hand/eye coordination. I don’t care whether a kid colors sloppily. I just don’t want it done in the same coloring book as my perfection. So, I started to buy a separate book to color in, one just for me. That never lasted long. My children are thieves. I’d sit the book somewhere and the next thing I knew the sun was purple, the grass was fuchsia, and the animals were all an amazing shade of green. Eventually, I stopped coloring altogether but the desire to color never left me. The last time I colored just for me was 2010. I was having a bad day at work and walked to CVS on my lunch break. I found myself in front of the crayons, snatched up a box, and filled the final minutes of my break on a park bench in busy downtown coloring Care Bears.
See that? That is a plastic bin that has had its drawer removed. Someone, I’m not naming any names (cough — that boy), emptied the boxes of writing implements into this. Who does that? Who mixes all of the crayons, markers, pens, and pencils in ONE box, then leaves them as though it’s acceptable? A two-year-old who doesn’t care about the fact that his mother wants to color again, and color with sharpened “colors” as he calls them, not ones broken in half with torn wrappers. This is why it’s hard to share.
So while I will try to make my father happy and keep my family from the perils of divorce by not uttering the divisive word “mine”, the new box of colors is decidedly MINE. It’s also hidden. Now I need to find a coloring book that is neither Barney nor Bratz.
I know; I’ll let them have the strawberry shortcakes and pretend that they must have fallen behind the long forgotten, ice-covered rolls from last Thanksgiving. Look what I found! Pleasedon’ttouchmycolors.