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September 7, 2011

What's Yours is Mine: A Twin Question

When I was pregnant, I remember talking to a gentleman on a plane who had four-year old twin boys. “Buy two of everything,” he advised. His rationale was that his boys had to share so much already, he may as well indulge them with two Buzz Lightyears.

In looking at our assortment of toys, we have our share of duplication, but we have a lot of complementary toys as well…a piano and a tambourine, a camera and a phone.

Sometimes the girls will both play with their purses (duplicate toys); other times they’ll be running in opposite directions, one playing with blocks and the other looking at books. I rarely see skirmishes over toys.

Someone asked me the other day if our girls had their “own” things.

Sure, the camera was given to one of them, and the phone to the other. Some books are inscribed to Baby A, and others to B. But at least at this age, the girls haven’t laid claim to any particular toys.

There are only two exceptions, one being the girls’ baby dolls.

Abby, in the pink outfit, belongs to Baby A; and Lily, in blue, belongs to Baby B. I have no idea how they decided this, but they are 100% clear on it, 100% of the time.

That’s not to say that B never tends to Abby, for example. I guess the girls may switch up babysitting for a little bit now and again. But the girls will now even say, “Abby is my baby. Lily belongs to Sissy.” It’s some kind of unspoken (at least to me) agreement.

The other exception is two little shopping baskets that came with some of the girls’ play food. One is red, which Baby A has claimed, while Baby B’s is green. There again, I don’t know how this was decided, but the girls are very consistent about it. B never picks up the red basket, and A leaves the green one alone, too.

I’m guessing that this idea of possession may become more important as the girls get older…that they may want their own things, to have control of their own belongings.

For now I’m just following the girls’ lead, and being thankful that toys – duplicate or not – aren’t a bigger source of contention.

How do things work in your house? Do your kiddos share most of their things? Is there a case in which you would encourage the idea of possession?


. said...

My girls are the same way. While they're just now understanding that they have a desire to own everything for themselves, there are still things that one wants more than the other. There were little things that we owned two of; boppy pillows and jumpers being examples, but other than that they shared and still share everything. It's too expensive.

Deanna said...

Our situation is very similar. There aren't any toys that specifically belong to either A or M, save one teddy bear that A picked up at a yard sale and named "Addison". : ) They have received different toys at birthdays, etc., or certain things are bought with one or the other in mind...but they wind up being shared just like everything else.

I have no problem giving them possession of a few items of their own as they get a little bigger and start to understand the concept. I don't think they should have to share absolutely everything. I am sure books, clothes, etc. will begin to gain specific owners one day...but for now, I will enjoy the ease of the community closet and toy chest!

Interesting topic...can't wait to see what others have to say.

Liz said...

We haven't really bought two of everything except for the boys toy laptop computers. Recently one of the laptops stopped working so now the boys are back to taking turns and sharing. It's not always something that comes easy for them but they are slowly learning.
I like that they are learning to share.

Mandy said...

I honestly loathe duplicates and every year since their shower, for every holiday and family gathering, my aunt has gotten them duplicate gifts. Even if it's a large gift holiday like a birthday, there will be two duplicate gifts with the same paper and bows. I usually either give one away or sent it to my mother's house. We have a few things that are the same but different colors( like our magna doodles-you're a genius, thanks!) but other than that I will not tolerate duplicates and fighting over whose is whose.

I think in my mind I've built it up as avoiding quarrels and forcing the sharing issue. The reality of the matter is that I can't stand the clutter and if I heard them arguing over who had what, I'd lose it!

So to wrap up this long comment, I'm not ready to embrace the idea of individual ownership. They have things that they naturally gravitate towards and I don't mess with the flow of nature there, but I refuse to indulge duplicates for the sake of having their own. For the foreseeable future they will share a room and everything in it. I'm itching at the fact that Em is starting to inch ahead of Claire in size and I might have to separate their clothes!

Jill said...

Sounds similar to our home: baby dolls, early on, belonged to a specific mother. And just the other day, Baby B asked A to "take good care of her baby" while I brushed B's teeth. It was really cute! One thing I think is odd that I make them share is underwear. Shouldn't one have his/her underwear?!? But it's just so much easier, and until it bothers them, I'm not sorting the panties!

Andrea said...

I actually like the way the gentleman on the plane put it...they share enough, so let them have their own things! That is position we have taken!

btw- you girls are so super sweet with their baby dolls!! My little miss is not into baby dolls. Hoping she will be one day!

MultipleMum said...

I struggle with this with all of my kids. They share everything. When it is their birthdays/christmas etc. they are given stuff and they get exclusive rights for about a month, but after that it is fair game. Some things are known to belong to one child, but mostly they have hand-me-downs and shared toys. I am not sure if that is the 'right' thing to do, but it seems to be the only way for us with such a big family, close together in age and living in a small house! Thanks for raising this. I will think more about it (might even do a post! Will link of course :-) xx

Helene said...

My kids all have such different interests so we rarely have to buy doubles of things. The only thing that we did buy for each of them was a Leapster. Well, the little twins have Leapsters and Cole and Bella have DS's.

But other than that, we've been very lucky about the toy issue!

Olusola said...

right now, my girls are getting into the territorial stage. Really cute to watch. I don't know how it's going to play out when they become big girls

Barbara Manatee said...

"Mine" wasn't a big issue until my 2 started really discovering their own likes and interests - mostly in the way of stereotypical things (i.e. trains and dolls, etc). I do feel bad sometimes that they don't have a lot of things that are "just his" or "just hers" but for the most part, its not an issue.

As we get older and having 3 kids, especially both genders, the 2 of everything drives me crazy. We have sooo many toys and its mostly due to everyone getting their own thing each time. Which is thoughtful...but overwhelming sometimes!

Julia said...

Our girls each have their own dolls too. And they each have their own shoes. Everything else is "community" toys/books/clothes.

On occasion our girls have had the opportunity to pick out a toy (the dump trucks we got at the toy store), and they've chosen something different, but each can play with the other, without exerting ownership or having a squabble about it.

What I love is that there just seems to be a natural give and take between the girls most of the time. It's something they had to learn from the beginning, because they are always around one another.

We've had family and friends give Brynne a gift and Hadley a gift, but they've been different gifts, and they share them. In fact, in most cases, I'm not sure who got what to begin with anyway.

There are some instances, where I think it's important to give each her own. For example, Brad's parents gave Brynne and Hadley both two books with their voices recorded--reading the story. One book is Grandma, the other is Grandpa. I think this bothers me, because those things are special. One day, the girls will leave home, and someone will take Grandma's voice and someone will take Grandpa's voice.

I wish they'd done one book for Hadley with both of them reading, and one book for Brynne with both of them reading. Of course, I have no idea what the life expectancy is on those books. Maybe they putter out after a few years, but that was the best example I could think of :)

reanbean said...

Our kids share almost everything. They definitely have toys that they prefer, but even once they've claimed something as their own, it's not uncommon for them to switch or trade just a few days later.

They do have their own cuddle, and we enforce a no trading rule with those. And they have their own baby dolls. I've never really seen either one try to parent a doll that wasn't his/hers.

Aside from that, they really do share or are expected to share all the other toys. For the most part, they do a really great job.