A good friend recently commented on an acquaintance of hers who had children so unruly that they had to purchase two of everything, to keep the peace. I’ve been thinking about that comment for a few weeks, now, because we have two of a great many toys.
I think understanding child development might help with this a bit. If you watch toddlers play, even well behaved ones, they don’t really play together most of the time. They play beside one another (the technical term is “parallel play” if you remember from your child psych class long ago). The older children grow, the better they actually interact with others.
So having two of something is a good way of helping a child play together with another child. Maybe it’s a stepping stone for teaching a child to play together, the same way teaching a child to take turns is a stepping stone for sharing. Yes, it helps keep the peace for a few popular toys (I’ve had several challenges with single strollers at other families’ houses). But there are a number of toys where playing with someone is simply more fun, like the swords and shields we got from IKEA (rubber, not plastic) or dolls, or hippety hops. When we have children come over to visit, these kinds of toys give our children something to do besides watch a movie. I like that.
Maybe there’s a line to be crossed somewhere; I don’t get two of everything. I don’t think I would be happy if I was afraid of a tantrum no matter what I brought home, or if any present had to be identical to someone else’s gift. At the same time, I do purchase two of something if I know it will be highly popular.
Maybe it just takes discernment. And that, of course, sends us back to the Bible.