Have you ever taken a step back and tried to understand your toddlers understanding of the world? If not take a minute sometime to just observe. You might be surprised by what you find.
From time to time I am home alone with the boys for an hour or two on the weekends. It’s not often, but it happens and when it does I do my best to hide from them observe them from afar to see what I can learn about what they know. Here are a few of my conclusions.
- You don’t at all have to teach a child to hate – To the contrary. They come to it quite organically. That said, they have nary a care to your race, creed, sexual orientation or income bracket. Their sole determining factor between love and hate is whether or not you are giving them what they want when they want it. Furthermore, as toddlers, this may still result in them hating you. Granted, they have only the most vague sense of ‘hate’ and likely mean something more like, ‘I’m mad at you’, but still they are perhaps the demographic least afraid to hate. Granted, it’s usually balanced with cuddles but still.
- They are intuitively aware that posession is 9/10ths of the law – At least when they posess a thing. When someone else is in possession of something, and really it can be anything, that to falls under the category of things that are rightfully theres because at one point they were holding it. Our four year old likes to say it was his ‘from when I was a baby.’
- Sharing is not a virtue, it’s a liability – This is mostly in regard to toys. My son told me yesterday that he wanted to play a game in which the only rules he could articulate were that ‘..all the toys in the world are mine.’ I’m not paraphrasing. He was so proud of himself for inventing this game. He thought he’d cracked a code or something.
- They have a sense of natural law – You use what you got. In our case we have two boys, 4 and 2. The big one is huge and he uses his hugeness to approprate property of the younger one, be it land or durable goods. The little one, he’s crazy. It’s like he’s in prison and he knows he has to act insane from time to time to keep the bigger one a little off balance and afraid to come after him. Its an intricate dance, but one that’s mostly entertaining and remarkably effective.
- They are aware of how adorable they are – Seriously, they know. They know that eventually we’ll break, whether its a laugh or a cuddle or all out crying, they on some level know that we are powerless over them in the end. Thankfully they tend to go about their days happy and grant us the illusion that we are in charge. I think they pity us.
Their is a good deal more to learn, but for now, I’m just going to hide in watch from the other room and hope they don’t hear me. Besides if they see me gorging on these Skittles I’ll have to share.