It was only a matter of time before my sweet son turned into a demanding and temperamental toddler whose favorite two words are: mine! and NO! More often than not, these two words appear together with a booming, “NO! MINE!”
We don’t like these words very much, I reckon we dislike them as much as our son likes them. But he’s two! And he plays with other children a lot and so this comes with the territory.
I realized just how prevalent and common these words are for toddlers while hanging out with six of his classmates. We were at the playground together. Almost all of them at one point in time began yelling, “NO! MINE! MIIIIIIIINNNEE!”
And sometimes it’s not even about a toy. Sometimes they claim ownership of a stationary object like the slide or boulder. So on the day where six of his playmates were together at the playground, my son stood defiantly at the top of the slide and as one of his friends walked up to use it as well. He yelled, “NO!! MINE!”
“That slide is not yours,” I said. “Do you pay taxes? No, you don’t pay taxes. Daddy and mommy pay taxes, therefore that slide is more ours than yours and I say Jules can use the slide.”
Most of the time other kids get it because they do it too. The toddlers on top one minute, are at the bottom the next and vice versa. This is what it’s like living with a two-year-old.
Murray, however, doesn’t yet understand this new phase. You see, Murray loves to play and whenever Em is playing, and Murray isn’t napping, licking himself, eating or destroying something of mine, he joins Em. It’s like watching the Discovery Channel, only instead of us standing around in awe of the giant cats and their strange ways, it’s my house cat watching my toddler do the strangest things. And they do strange things. Have you ever watched a toddler play? They are strange, awesomely strange, but strange nonetheless.
Now, I have mentioned before that should Toby Joe and I have another child, it’s going to be Murray’s fault. Emory and Murray’s relationship has always been pretty amazing. I mean, the proof is in this video:
Look at my sweet baby!
Of course babies grow up and become toddlers and toddlers start to socialize and sometimes they get into heated brawls over whose toy is whose. I see them as greedy little settlers: if it’s in their hands, it’s theirs. It’s that simple. They saw it first, grabbed it, it is theirs. And sometimes even if they did not see said item first, but were able strong-arm said toy from another settler, that item is theirs. Toddlers are audacious as well as a little arrogant.
Murray is growing alongside Em and as their relationship changes, Toby Joe and I discover new forms of amusement. Take the other day, for example.
You’ve heard of Stuff Theory, right? Stuff Theory is when any item that suddenly appears a cat – no matter where he or she sits – and no matter how many other times he or she came into contact with the item previously, he or she will sit on the item. You see, cats are settlers too. They spot something, want it, and claim it as their own.
So, the other day whenever I draped the coffee table in a pristine white piece of paper and grabbed the markers and crayons for Em to draw with, Murray claimed it by firmly planted his gigantic furry body directly on top of the white sheet of paper. Emory was NOT OK with that.
“NO! MINE!!! MIINNNNEE! GET DOWN MURRAY! GET DOWN!”
Murray did not budge, nor did Emory’s parents.
“MINE!” Emory yelled again. “NO! MINE! GET DOWN! MURRAY! GET DOWN!”
Murray looked at Emory bored and stretched out even more.
Frustrated, Em began pushing on Murray’s giant belly. Murray did not budge. All the while, Emory’s parents fought back laughter. “I think this is really funny.” Toby Joe said to me underneath his breath.
“Emory, why don’t you share with Murray?” I suggested.
Eventually, Murray got down. And Emory was able to continue with his masterpiece. And I sat back and was reminded yet again (thanks to Murray) that one day I do want Emory to be a big brother to someone someday even if his or her name becomes No Mine!