Long ago, my son received a blue toy mouse as a gift. It disappeared and was forgotten. Recently, my mom saw the same mouse on sale and thought it would make a nice gift for my daughter. She bought a red one for her, and a blue one for a friend’s son.
Naturally, the kids fought over the red mouse, but my son was told that this was his sister’s mouse and he needed to respect that. (Not in those words, but you get the idea.) A few days later, I found the blue mouse in his closet. Problem solved! Now they each had one.
Wishful thinking. The house exploded into battle over the following week. Both kids wanted the blue mouse; they both tried to shove the red mouse at each other. Well actually, my son tried to give his sister the red mouse, and she would promptly throw it aside while screeching for the blue one. My parents felt that my son should give in since he’s older.
But in all fairness, the blue one was his, and my daughter was old enough to hear “No” every now and then.
There was a lot of crying that week. My son would say that he didn’t want to share. My husband and I said that was fine, but then his sister would be sad and she may not want to share her toys with him. As the week went on, my dad wanted to just give her the extra blue mouse. I told him that she needed to understand what “No” means and that the whole thing would blow over soon enough anyway. And then it happened. They started to fight over the blue mouse again when suddenly my daughter said, “Here, it’s yours,” and she handed it over.
They still continued to fight, but with less intensity. Occasionally, my son would let his sister play with the blue mouse. I thought things were getting better… until I found a second blue mouse. My dad couldn’t bear the crying, and he did his grandfatherly duty by giving his granddaughter her own blue mouse to have. Which she promptly threw aside as she returned to the battle for the original blue mouse with vigor. How the kids knew which blue mouse was the original, we will never know. But it is safe to say that the mice are now collecting dust, the kids are finding new things to fight over, and the journey of sharing and getting along continues.