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"Grampy, he's looking at me! Make him stop."

"Kit!" I replied with all the gravity it deserved, "Avert your eyes lest you burn a hole through your brother and rent him in twain!"
Of course, neither of them know who got the upper hand with that response.

You gotta love it, though. I remember it when I was a kid, too. "Stop looking at me." "Don't copy me." and the perennial favorite: "Stop touching my stuff."

That one is the worst. The abolute green skinned possessiveness to guard your things to the point of stupidity gets under my skin. One will be playing with something and having a good time but as soon as they notice another putting a finger on their CD reading a book that is theirs, they give up on what they're doing and start making trouble. They all do that. It gets so bad that while sitting at the table or in the car, just putting an extended finger, or accidentally touching the other guy's 'stuff' starts world war 3.

It finally got so bad that I told them yesterday I was going to get rid of everyone's personal possessions and everything they had would be community property. That would include music, toys, books, pens and paper, pictures and anything that comes into the house. As for clothes, Tish told them about making all of Sugar and Buddy's clothes when they were small and she'd have no problem starting to make identical clothing for all three of these kids, too.

"I'd like to be on the bus the first day you climb aboard wearing matching homemade clothes," I said. "We can all pick a common color that everyone can wear. How does that sound?"

It didn't sound good, I can tell you that. Doc's jaw dropped, Kit kept asking ”Really? Really?" and a bunch of questions about how and when it would work. Tio simply acted like it was a joke, but we could see he knew we are willing to do what it takes. And maybe we are.

I know communal living is terribly "un-American" but it has it's benefits. The concept of growing up without ownership of possessions has an appeal. John Lennon's song "Imagine" comes to mind: a world where there is no need for war and hate because no one covets. It is a grand idea but not easy to achieve considering human nature and our innate desire to hoard.

I guess the best we can hope for is to teach them to share. Not an easy sell.