Property Laws of Toddlers: How To Survive the Rules

You may have already heard of the “Property Laws of Toddlers.” We learn life’s parenting lessons one Cheerio/Lego/SOCK/day at a time. It started so innocently as the new year rolled in and we carefully chose our “words for 2017” to be Abundance and Acceptance. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer that our children are sometimes better teachers to us than we are to them. Please allow me to introduce you to SockGate 2017.

First, a refresher course on the Property Laws of Toddlers:

  • If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
  • If I saw it first, it’s mine.
  • And my personal favorite …
  • If it’s broken, it’s yours!

We are always looking for ways to trick the kids (I mean,  a system). Connor picks out his clothes for the week on Sunday evenings, therefore, creating less opportunity for emotional, mental and/or physical breakdowns before 7 a.m.  

This is the corner display shelf that perfectly houses his wardrobe i.e. “property” including his tops, pants, underwear and SOCKS! As you can see, it’s the perfect toddler height. (It’s also the perfect height for 20-month-old sister Jordyn, as well, but more on that in a minute.) It feels SO good to work smarter, not harder. In the mornings (especially before coffee), the victories may be small, but they are glorious!

Property Laws in Action: SockGate 2017

Monday morning, 6:47 a.m. So late out of bed, I’ll toss my hair in a messy bun for work (again) and take on the world.  

Monday morning, 6:49 a.m. Blood curdling screams erupt from Connor’s bedroom. The screams are SO loud and terrible you might think Sister lit Connor’s Power Rangers on fire. The two of them race into our family bathroom. Sister arrives first with a handful of this week’s socks and Connor is right on her tail wailing, “MINE, MINE, MINE!”  

By Property Law definition, Sister is the official owner/winner! Possession is nine-tenths of the law, meaning ownership is easier to maintain if one has possession of something or difficult to enforce if one does not. Jordyn is in possession of said “property” and is beaming with pride. However, the two of them are now in a fierce tug of war!  

Like most mothers, I am typically quick on my feet. More often than not, they may think they’ve won, but that’s only because I’m letting them think so! With that said, on this Monday morning, Daddy Joe and I just stand there … staring at each other … in THE FOG OF DEFEAT!   

I’m no victim. Yet, it feels a bit like my brilliant idea of planning ahead is totally backfiring. How is that? I even gave him ample choices for all five school days so he was sure to feel empowered. You know, like it was HIS idea to begin with!

Finally, we were able to pry the socks from the Vulcan Death Grips of our children and you’ll never guess what? The socks he chose to wear to school THAT day were the ones he had been holding in his hand all along.   

After all, the true lesson here is that as moms, we can plan ahead all we want. We can have the best of intentions, but these precious creatures hold all the cards. On the other hand, when I’m lucky enough to come up with a wild card to play that keeps us moving forward and out the door ON TIME with smiles on our faces and songs in our hearts, everybody wins!

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