Dear mum in the sandpit

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Shutterstock 

Today was a beautiful day for getting out and about, and with toddlers we often need to do that for sanity, right? The days can be long and the tantrums longer still. 

Turns out this new park is perfect. 

The play area has something for all our rugrats and offers a chance to relax - whereby relaxing means keeping your eyes on stalks at all times and not really sitting for longer than 5 seconds. 

Our wandering angels keep us on our toes (literally!) and then there's the many attempts we make to instill social etiquette into their lives. It's an ongoing battle and one we're unlikely to win when they're still very young.

Waiting your turn to go on the slide, to sit in the boat and to steer the car's wheel is never too popular. For a busy toddler, waiting's overrated and when you want something, you want it NOW!

It's much the same when it comes to wanting other toddlers' toys. The sandpit here's the perfect example.

Most mums have come prepared with an array of toys. Buckets, diggers, spades and rakes. For the lesser organised amongst us (read; me) empty coffee cups are just as good. 

The multitude of toys provides endless choice for toddlers, even if the toy's not theirs. In fact, if it's not their toy it's even more appealing and you expect that at such a young age. 

Toddlers don't understand ownership yet. They just want what they see. So, if you bring toys to the sandpit and your child's playing elsewhere, then surely, it's ok to share?

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That's why your behaviour had me a little bit shocked. 

Pulling 56 (may be slight exaggeration) sand toys from your bag, you surrounded your son by them all. It was an impressive collection I'll give you that. But, your son only has one pair of hands and can only play with one thing at once. 

It wasn't long before other children started moving in. At the same time, you did too. 

A child reached for a digger and you scowled and moved it away. Another headed for a bucket and you quickly shoved it back in your bag. 

"No these are his special toys," you said. "He doesn't have to share them at all."

Of course, toddlers are delightful things, but not known for their fantastic listening skills, right? So, surprisingly enough they weren't put off. They simply headed for another of his 'special' toys, homing in on what they wanted next. 

"No, no, no," you insisted as you drew the toys closer, alternating between shoving them in your son's hands and hiding them in your bag.

I rolled my eyes behind my sunnies and distracted my son with a stick. Yes, I'm an ill prepared for the sandpit mum! 

Your ridiculous behaviour continued until I couldn't take it anymore. Using the age-old bribe of chocolate, I tempted my son out of the sand and wandered back to the car. 

I was quite surprised at what I'd seen. I think perhaps it's you that needs some lessons in social etiquette, and not so much your son. 

 So, here's just a few tips for future visits to the sand; 

  • DON'T bring 'special' toys and place them in a toddler filled place
  • If you do bring 56 toys, be prepared that it's a free for all – sure, your son shouldn't have to give up those he's playing with, but he can only play with so much at once
  • Bring limited toys if you don't want to share
  • And, above all else, chill the hell out!! Just enjoy some peace while your son's entertained – who knows when you'll get some more