got a new stuffed dog on Saturday at a Garage sale. For three dollars we scored a gently-warn plush pile of toddler happiness, and it was money well spent. For weeks now we have noticed the Monkey eying his older brother's collection of stuffed animals, gazing longingly at the menagerie of cotton-filled friends piled on his brother's bed, apparently awakening to the inequity represented by his own, lone stuffed monkey, draped limply over the crib rail, moldering in the dark shadow cast by the mountain of stuffed animals on Mr. Baseball's side of the room.
More than once, when Mr. Baseball wasn't around, I found the Monkey apparently hording the animals, trying to hold, not one or two, but four, or five stuffed animals in his arms all at once; and even when Mr. Baseball was around, the monkey often resorted to grabbing, hitting, and screaming in an attempt to get "doggy" (Mr Baseball's first and favorite) to himself. But all of that is old news. The monkey has his own "doggy" now, and if the half-hour of giggling we did on Saturday morning playing with the new doggy is any indication, our stuffed animal problems may be solved, at least temporarily.
The bigger issue here, of course, is that of equity. The days are already gone when we could get by with just one balloon at the grocery store, or one sticker, or one cup of water, or one baseball bat, or one piece of candy, or one piggyback ride, or one bedtime story, or one bathroom stool. Everything comes in pairs--one for the Monkey, who is just beginning to understand his own independent existence, and one for Mr. Baseball, whose reign as heir-apparent has come crashing to an end.
I think back to afternoons at my brother's house playing with his two kids. I remember smiling at the pairs of everything in their house--two razor scooters in the front yard (one with a Spider Man logo, the other pink with princesses), two bikes in the driveway (same character themes), two banana chairs in the basement, two swings, two drink bottles, two bottles of bubbles, two night lights, two of everything that they might fight over. I used to think it was a matter of needing to learn to share. Now, faced with my own pair of competing children, Its not difficult to imagine myself at, say, the bakery counter, one boy on each pant leg, asking the clerk, "Um, you don't by chance have two of these frosted donuts with the basketball decoration on it, do you?"