This weekend was devoted to cleaning up the girls rooms. With the holidays coming, it was time to go through the almost threes toys and remove the ones that were destroyed, not used and generally past her play level. This is not always an easy thing to do, especially with said two year old helping.
Whilst going through Coras toys I found a couple items that i thought could be happier with another child. One was a childs xylophone. The other was a set of plastic dominos. Remembering what she played with recently, I reluctantly put back the xylophone and put the dominos in the donate bin. At this time, Cora came to check on my progress. Seeing her dominos her eyes lit with excitement. "My dominos!"
"No honey, you don't play with those, we are going to give those to another child."
"NOOOO mommy! MY dominos." She grasps the bucket they are in with both small hands and hugs it to her chest possessively.
Pete steps in, "Cora come here!" I know precisely where this is going. My wonderful husband is backing up my decision. Cora WILL do as I say, and he is enforcing it. However, I have a brilliantly silly idea.
"Okay honey, if you want to keep the dominos you need to choose a different toy that you don't want to keep." I scan the pile of iffy toys that I've stacked next to the donation box. The xylophone hits my eyes. "How about this?" I ask. "Do you want to keep the dominos or this?"
She looks at the two items, and taps her lips with one finger in her classic thinking pose. "Okay." she says, turning back to the dominos.
"You want to give away the xylophone not the dominos?" I ask in surprise.
"Yeah Mom." she says vaguely.
She watched me put it in the car. I asked her again. "We're going to give it away right?"
"For another kid." she told me.
The second conversation occurred over the bin of toys I designated for Nyobi. She reached for one and said "Mine!"
"Yes." I said. "But you are too big for those toys. Why don't we give them to Nyobi? You can teach Nyobi how to play with them."
The silence that greated this comment worried me a bit. "I'll put them here on your shelf and you can give them to Nyobi to play with when she's ready." I finished. This plan, I was certain, would fail.
Which is why I was delighted this morning, when Cora reached over and grabbed the shape and color matching bucket and handed it to her sister. Then she helped me talk to Nyobi about colors and put the shapes in the right spaces. Nyobi loved it, and both girls played together.
For every "mine" incident, and hardbitten possessive incident in Coras child hood, I will always remember the ease with which she chose the dominos over the xylophone, and the joy she had showing Nyobi how to play with her old toys. It takes a special child to give like that.
Maybe some adults could take lessons from her. I know I can some days. Objects slowly creap up on me and start owning me instead of vice versa. Its time to reverse the rolls, and really decide what is important.
Anyone want an exceptionally selfless two year old who is currently trying to "cook" with my coffee creamer?
Just joking. I wouldn't trade her for the world. Especially not until after she's cleaned up the mess she just made.