This post is for Adults-Only. If balsamic vinegar has a special place in your heart, keep reading (fool).
I want to discuss something serious right now so put your phone screen-side down on the table. In parks, libraries, and play centers across the nation toddlers are being peer pressured to partake in an activity so dangerous, so disturbing that it makes thousands of us cry out the nose daily. I'm talking about sharing.
You're thinking: "Stop right there. Sharing is necessary and I won't argue with you, not while there are so many people on Facebook I could be arguing with."
I've come a long way since my days of radical anti-sharing and have new ideas to bring to the table. Prepare your mind for a revolutionary paradigm shift in toddler-philanthropy: one we can all live happily with. This is a no-tears formula.
Keep reading and don't touch your phone.
Scenario #1: You and your toddler are at the park. A friend of yours shows up with a child. You assume because these two kids are around the same height that they have common interests and require them to interact. Time for a snack. You bust out a ziplock bag full of crunchy delicious teddy grahams. They're store brand so the bears look like they've been exposed to radiation but it doesn't matter. To show off, you say something like, "Ok, but you have to share" glancing at your friend to see if they appreciate your parenting skills.
Problem: Your child knows sharing with this mini hobo is wrong but protesting could result in a devastating loss of bag holding privileges.
Solution: Pre-Qualified Gifting. Look the small freeloader in the eye. Get out the clipboard that you have and start evaluating this child with a series of simple questions.
1. Do you really like teddy grahams?
2. Why do you feel as if you deserve to partake in someone else's snack?
3. Were you born a thief or did the heart of a criminal develop in you recently?
4. How do you plan to repay the teddy grahams given to you?
5. What forms of collateral are you prepared to offer?
6. Why are you so dumb?
7. What are you doing here?
8. I hate you.
9. Go home.
The last two (three?) are not questions but will help establish feelings so please say them. Pre-Qualified Giving allows your toddler to operate like a well-oiled credit union and live life with confidence.
Scenario #2: You're at the library ripping books with your toddler. Another child approaches and because it has no class wants to pick out a Sandra Boynton classic from the same area your toddler is currently standing in.
Problem: Moving over and sharing personal space would set a bad precedent. The ripple effects of being inclusive have been known to follow toddlers their entire lives, but if she doesn't move by herself, you will probably misuse your animal-like physical strength and make her.
Solution: Visual Lending. This groundbreaking type of sharing allows hardheaded individuals to enjoy without touching. Nobody knows how eyes work but grabby toddlers can use them to share using only their face and brain. In the event that it is too much for the winning toddler to let you look at their goods, you will need to create the object in your imagination from memory. Enjoy.
Scenario #3: Two toddlers. One basket of toys. They simultaneously reach for the only Bob the Builder figurine. A tug of war ensues. Out of the corner of his eye one of the toddlers can see an adult walking briskly over to the brawl.
Problem: Both toddlers know that they have a 50/50 chance of losing. Worst case scenario, the adult takes the toy and puts it on top of the fridge next to the chocolates.
Solution: Demolition. It must be destroyed. In a split second, the smarter of the two toddlers will realize that it is more painful to risk traditional sharing than to never see the toy in working order again. Popular methods of ritual sacrifice include slamming a toy against the wall, biting off important parts, or throwing it out of an open window. No form of punishment can mitigate the satisfaction a toddler has knowing that the toy will never be enjoyed by a dear friend.
Do you see what happens when you expand your mind? Progress. Sharing is here to stay but unlike the dinners you make, it doesn't have to make anyone wish they were never born. It can be hard for adults to accept new ideas until they are shortened into one sentence philosophies, made into jpegs and Instagramed so here.