I just got back from Comic Con in San Diego. While I was there I had the chance to not only grab Jack and Allison a few great items, but also reward myself for being such a damn fine all-around human being. I bought myself toys. I like toys. Call it what you will. Infantile? Sure. Peter Panism? Oh, you betcha. Childish? Well…just one sec. Now I fully realize that the concept of an adult owning toys may be perhaps the most surface way to actually be childish. However, is it any less childish than rooting for a particular sports team that happens to be affiliated with the city you’re from? Does it really make LESS sense than being enamored with a particular author’s work? I am passionate about things that affected me from a very young age. I’m also fortunate to be a part of a generation that was able, through lack of conflict and presence of societal change, to carry these things with me into adulthood free from (most) judgement. So, in short, I am passionate about my toys.
This is a passion my son would seem to share. Even if he doesn’t know that’s what it is. He’s at the point where he is trying to affect the world on any level he can. One of those seems to be an endless enforcement of his ownership of things, even if they aren’t his. He does not own the slide at the park simply because he just went down it. He doesn’t own the springy-fire truck thing either. The things he actually does own, that potpourri of park toys lovingly crammed into a Winnie the Pooh canvas bag in the trunk, can actually cause a bit more confusion. I’m not experience enough to say I understand the politics of playing at the park, but I am both delusional and insecure enough to believe that there are politics at work. Machinations by the other mothers and fathers (mostly mothers) with the end result that THEIR kid gets out with one of Jack’s sand shovels. Diabolique!
I tend to break it down like this:
1. If Jack is NOT playing with it, it’s fair game for the other kids and “Jack, time to take turns” etiquette shall be enforced fully. Initial refusal to accept these terms on Jack’s behalf should be expected.
2. If Jack IS playing with it. Oh well. Your kid can use it if/when mine is done. The concept of sharing does not extend to me telling my son that he is done playing with something because yours wants it. This changes slightly based on how much the toys lends itself to group play, and whether or not Jack has already grabbed your child’s blue ball and run away with it. Which can, will and has happened.
3. If your child has taken one of Jack’s toys to another part of the park and you are unaware of who it actually belongs to, I have the right to believe you are horrible parent.
4. If above situation is reversed, you do not maintain the same right to think of me as a horrible parent. Everybody makes mistakes. Calm down.
5. The Park Time Over Clean Up Toy Collection is an HONOR SYSTEM event. As such, if I should walk up to you and ask for Jack’s toy back you must assume I am being honest.
Yes, those simple rules are more of a lesson in not really taking things to seriously for myself but that doesn’t make them any less important. Ya see, when I bear witness to Jack’s frustration at the sight of some one using his toys, I one hundred percent get it. I’m sure the motivations and understanding of it all are different, but I’m willing to bet that the same neural synapses are being fired. That I feel the same thing when some one comes into my living room and picks up a 1986 Super Powers Green Lantern figure, only to put it back in the wrong place. Once again….diabolique!