Losing. My. Mind.

I never wanted to be one of those parents who had to buy three of everything so that each of my children would have all the same stuff. “They need to learn to share!” I figured. “Realizing life isn’t the same for everyone will be character building!” I thought.

Of course, that was before my kids were old enough to fight. It’s easy to say the things you’d “never do” before you’ve actually lived through a situation. Like, back before I had kids and I’d say stuff like, “I’ll never take my kids to McDonalds.”

*pauses so I can stop laughing*


For example.

We have this thing called the Aquadoodle.

It’s basically a mat with some sort of white fabric sewn over colored fabric. You use this special pen that you fill with water, or a brush you dip into water, to color on it. The water–like water does–makes the white fabric see-through and the color shows from underneath. Like mess-free painting. Or something.

We gave this to my 2-year-old daughter as a birthday gift. It’s pretty cool. But we only have the one. And we only have 2 coloring utensils for it.

So this morning my kids were all gathered around the Aquadoodle and it was all sweet and wonderful and like the example of happy parenting: LOOK! This family is enjoying their time together! And you can, too!


Yeah. Take a picture of that crap because you know it only lasted about 5 1/2 seconds before sharing the brushes and taking turns turned into a cage match. To. The. Death.

So, being the “creative mom” I am, I went on the hunt for other kinds of brushes. I figured if I gave them a few choices each, there’d be no fighting.

*pauses to wait while YOU stop laughing*

I found toothbrushes, and basting brushes, and q-tips, and basically anything that would spread water across the Aquadoodle. Heck. They could have even used their fingers after dipping them in water. But once I brought out the choices, it did NOT turn into a situation of pleasant abundance. It turned into The Brawl for the Orange Toothbrush.


I really just couldn’t win. It made me wish for three Aquadoodles.

So I took a breath and thought, “This is the Universe telling me I should have just stuck to my guns and made them take turns to begin with.” I did a few rounds of, “Now you get the brush. Good. Good. Now pass it to your sister. YAY! Good sharing!!”

And after less than 2 minutes they were over the Aquadoodling and onto other things and I wanted to crawl back into bed but it was only 9am.

This parenting thing is exhausting. Huh?


14 thoughts on “Losing. My. Mind.

  1. I’m right there with you! Thanks for sharing this! I always buy two of everything and almost instantly get out my sharpie to label it with the boys’ names.
    But that doesn’t eliminate the fighting. just this morning my kids were arguing about who was going to push the elevator button when we were leaving for school.
    I’m exhausted, I haven’t showered, had my coffee, and I just want some silence, so I appealed to my 5-yr old, with a little too much pleading in my voice, “Please, Z, please, PLEASE, just let J push the button so he will be quiet.” Luckily the 5 year old relented and we were able to leave the building in silence. The things I will do for silence sometimes leave me speechless! (ha)

  2. These moments are character-building, Erin! Just not for your kids . . . for you. You as the parent get to learn patience, restraint, and how to go to your “happy place” in your mind when home has become Thunderdome. 🙂

  3. For a while, we did buy two of everything, for the twins. Now that the items in question are video games or other expensive “toys”, we get ONE.

    The funny (read nerve-wracking) part, when they were younger, was what to do when there IS only one of a thing/design. I have since given up trying to figure out what the preferred item of two will be – i.e. we think they’ll be devastated that the store only had one “skateboarding” t-shirt, and the person with the “hiking” t-shirt will never get over it. Of course not. Now they both want a shirt with a hiker on it– of which the store had about 200.

    I’ve gone so far as to flat out tell them, “Will, skateboarding is COOLER”
    and “Evan, you know you’re a better hiker than your brother.”…..they won’t need therapy at all – hah!

  4. Give them each a 99 cent foam paintbrush and a cup of water and set them loose in the driveway. I loved our Aquadoodle mat but we too had just one. As long as its not raining the foam brushes outside was hours of entertainment for ours.

  5. LOL! I’m amazed you even got them to wait long enough for it to dry to “take turns”. My boys color it all blue and then get pissy because they have to wait o make it blue all over again!

  6. I feel for you. I only have one daughter, but whenever she’s around her cousins she wants whatever they have. It takes a lot of patience and wait-your-turn’s. Sometimes, she manages to sneak the item away before we can say anything. One time she even grabbed a pilates ball right out from under her cousin who was about to sit on it. At least we had a laugh over that one.

    Maybe someday they’ll get better at sharing. One can hope, right? 🙂

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