What’s Yours is Mine

I smile while I watch them playing in the park. Asmaa doing exactly what her older sister does, as if she’s her shadow. Nusayba comes down the slide, and there she is, right behind her. Nusayba runs to the only swing left and before she can even get to it, Asmaa is crying because she wants a swing too. At times it’s cute, like when Asmaa wakes up at 8:30 in the morning and doesn’t find her sister in the bunk above her, she runs out of the room and cries, “Where’s Nusayba?”.

At times it can be very frustrating to say the least. Poor Nusayba can’t enjoy any toy without worrying that someone (Asmaa) will take it away from her and this fear seems to be following her everywhere she goes. She’ll be playing with play dough at her preschool and will need the bathroom, but won’t go because “someone might take it”–although there’s enough dough on the table for all the kids in the class, plus some!

The thing that gets me the most is how my younger daughter doesn’t seem to realize that what’s in her sisters’ hands isn’t hers! She’ll grab what ever it is and if Nusayba puts up a fight and refuses to give in, Asmaa will throw a fit and start wailing—you’d think someone not only took her toy, but smacked her too.

Part of it is Nusayba’s fault. Alhamdulillah, most of the time she is motherly and doesn’t like to hear her sister cry, but some times when she starts to put up a fight and I come to her rescue and remove the object from Asmaa’s hand, Nusayba will then turn to me and say “it’s OK, she can have it”.

I keep telling her that if she keeps doing that her sister will never learn to share and more importantly to stop taking things out of people’s hands.

I used to think that the second child would automatically develop this concept of sharing since as soon as she opens her eyes there’s another being waiting for her—turns out, the second child is born with the notion of survival of the fetus!

Kariman Elmuradi

Kariman Elmuradi lives in California with her husband and three children.

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  • fatima

    definitely sounds like my girls. it must be second child syndrome…

    i remember parents all around me (including my parents) telling the older child, ‘you’re older, just let her have it for a few minutes’. so i try to avoid saying that to my older dd, but sometimes i fall into that too…

  • Um Lubayah

    Oh, I don’t think it’s a second child syndrome. One of my twins does that all the time. If the other has something, she really does think it’s hers, and goes right ahead and grabs it out of her hand. If the other puts up a fight, she’ll throw a fit, as if she’s being denied what is her right. I’ve tried teaching them to share (not working), signing “please” before taking (not working), and giving something else before taking (sort of working). Sigh…

  • Maha

    That is really sweet of Nusayba though. It’s probably teaching her to be veeeerrrrrry patient with her sister.

    But yeah, I see the need to work on Asmaa too and to teach her that her older sister needs her space and needs to play unbothered sometimes!


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