Toddler sharing might not follow all the rules—it’s forceful, conditional, and often gross—but it still melts my heart when my toddler places bits of saliva-coated food on my empty plate.
Toddlers are known for screaming, “mine, mine, MINE!” while grasping a toy so tightly you’d have to take their hand off just to get it back. But there is also another side to them. My toddler has actually proven to be more generous than most adults I know (which might not actually say a lot).
To make my point, here are 7 things my toddler “shares” regularly:
My toddler just shared a bowl of baby carrots with me. She took a bite off each one, making sure to thoroughly cover it in saliva, before forcing it into my mouth.
Pretty much every meal is like this with a toddler. Unless of course, it’s something you actually wouldn’t mind eating, like cake, or chocolate, or anything we reserve the word dessert for. Anything like that is clearly all theirs, even if it’s on your plate.
Note: The toddler version of sharing almost always includes an extra layer of slime and never even a single layer of chocolate.
My toddler loves to make sure I get enough liquids, every single day.
Bath water can never stay in the tub. She is sure that I am missing out and proceeds to ensure that I end up completely soaked.
And while trying to finish more than a couple of bites of my dinner, she springs up and lunges the top half of her body across the table in order to add some water to my cup… from her mouth. The glass may be half full but it’s hard to keep a positive outlook when most of it is spit.
Note: The toddler version of sharing is forceful. If they want to share something with you they do so without asking if you even want it.
“Booger!” my toddler exclaims. She always tells me what they are as she wipes them on me—not before, but the exact moment I sense sliminess on my face.
Note: The toddler version of sharing is often disgusting.
A trip to the park wouldn’t be complete without a fist-full of sand thrown in your—and any unfortunate bystander’s—general direction. Their aim may be off but they genuinely intend to make sure that as much sand ends up in your hair as theirs. To be fair.
What they don’t realize is that you already have sand in your hair from the last trip to the park since you haven’t taken a shower this week yet.
Note: The toddler version of sharing is not always intentional. Sometimes innocent by-standers are forcefully “shared” with.
5. Pet Food
My toddler likes to feed the dog. Actually, she likes to share the dog food with the dog. It’s her new obsession. Every time I turn my back she grabs a handful and proceeds to stuff at least two-thirds of it in her mouth, leaving the remainder in a pile on the floor next to the dog.
Note: The toddler version of sharing includes stealing, and then giving an unfair portion back. I guess it’s better than keeping it all to themselves.
6. Breast milk straight from the tap
She offers my breasts to stuffed animals and animate creatures alike— even the dog. While it’s sweet that she wants to share her afternoon snack, she still has a lot to learn about autonomy and consent. We’re working on it.
Note: The toddler version of sharing includes the sharing things that belong to other people.
7. Paper, Crayons, Pencils, and Other Various Art Supplies
Toddlers love it when you color for them.
In an attempt to force me to draw the letter B for the 15th time in five minutes, she shoves a piece of paper so close to my face I worry she’s going to give my eyes paper cuts. More of her crayons end up in a pile next to me than her and she dictates faster than I can draw. If I misunderstand her instructions, all the crayons get shoved on the floor as she screams in my face.
Note: The toddler version of sharing is conditional. I can use all her crayons as long as I do exactly as she says with them.
Navarre Overton is the founder of Raising Revolution. She is a stay-at-home mom, feminist, freelance writer, and student. You can reach her on Twitter, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.