There’s a famous expression that is often quoted in films, that possession is nine tenths of the law. In truth, it’s just an expression and not an actual law. It’s also not something that the average toddler cares much about, especially once they enter the MINE phase.
Everything is ‘a phase’ when you have children. They don’t sleep: it’s a phase. They won’t eat: it’s a phase. They sing (some) of the words to ‘Let It Go’ over and over on repeat: it’s a phase (Dear God please let it be a phase *). But the ‘it’s mine!’ phase is one that really has the power to push your buttons.
It seems to start off slowly, all part, so I read, of normal toddler development. They are working out how they fit into the world, gaining a voice, independence, a sense of will and a desire to exercise it. They’re reluctant to share, their toys, their Mummy, whatever it may be that someone else shows an interest in. Then one day some kind of perfect storm happens, when language skills, independence and will collide, and it feels as though everything is now viewed as theirs:
“Mine! It’s my drink.” It’s Mummy’s actually baby but I’m happy to share with you if you ask nicely.
“Mine! That’s my house.” No sweetheart that’s not our house. That’s where our friends live.
“Mine! That’s my bucket.” No poppet it belongs to that little boy, he just left it here in the sand pit. Let’s give it back to him.
“Mine! This is my trolley.” It’s owned by Sainsbury’s my sweet, we just use it put the groceries in as we walk round the shop.
“Mine! It’s my slide.” Look it belongs to Southwark Council and any of these other children are entitled to climb the ladder, so please I beg of you, stop telling them it’s yours.
All day long: mine mine mine! My little Button-Pusher is starting to sound like those seagulls in Finding Nemo. It would sound funny if it wasn’t the soundtrack to our day. But, if it’s a phase, then this too shall pass. So for now, I’m working on accepting that this is all part of healthy cognitive development for a two year old. And I’m trying to view every ‘mine’ as an opportunity to teach something, about sharing with our friends, council owned parks or famous quotes from films.
Possession is nine tenths of the law, and Mummy’s the sherif in this town.