Monday, February 2, 2009

It's All in a Name

I was driving Owen and Joel to the playground today, and I hear my firstborn say out loud, "Sharing is NOT my middle name!" He certainly hit that one on the head.

For quite some time, I was secretly smug about Owen and sharing. He was very good about it. If another child snatched a toy out of his hands, he would shrug and find something else to play with. Parents would apologize for their son or daughter's behavior, and I would say, "It's no big deal, really." And it wasn't.

All has changed. Owen now paces around his toys, snarling. Any child that enters our home enters a gladiator arena. Two toddlers enter; only one leaves. I have to be vigilant, watchful. I just don't know when my child is going to ruthlessly rip a toy from an unsuspecting friend's hands. So far, this behavior has not erupted into fisticuffs. So far.

In Owen's world, everything is his. As we were leaving the park, we were parked next to a friend, who was also leaving. Owen tells Gavin, "This is my car seat, and you better not get in it." Gavin looks at Owen like he's certifiable. Why would he want to sit in Owen's car seat? On this same trip to the playground, Owen told me that Miss Joanne was welcome to play with him at the park, but her son, Zachary, better stay away from his slide.

I am really struggling with this. I know it will get better, and I know that it's my job to teach him how to share. But it's just difficult to see your sweet-natured boy pacing the perimeter of a playground like a rabid pit bull.

Owen's real middle name is Kenneth, which means "born of fire." That kind of makes sense. Fires often start as small embers, grow into flames, then become ashes and dust. I just have to trust that the Not Sharing phase is in its inferno phase, and that someday, his need to hoard his toys will fade away, scattering like ashes in the wind.

If that doesn't happen, we'll just legally change his name to Owen Sharing Campbell. Take that!

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