My brother came home this weekend from his business trip to the annual Snap-on convention at Disney World in Orlando. He bought a "Cinder" beach towel for his 4-year-old daughter (my niece) and a Tinkerbell plate for his 1-year-old daughter (my other niece).
He said that the 4-year-old, E.Anne, felt slighted because A. got a Tinkerbell item. (E.Anne recently added Tinkerbell to her collection of Disney princesses. She even went to a fairy day camp a few weeks ago; I need a picture or two from that outing). So even though she got a Cinderella beach towel, which she is thrilled to use, she still pouted that her sister got Tinkerbell. "Big ol' bottom lip," my brother said.
My brother noted that the Tinkerbell plate was the only item he could find for A. He knew it was going to be an issue (what a perceptive dad!) but he said that was all they had for A. that wouldn't get "broke, swallowed, soiled or spoiled."
Luckily for all parties involved, Aunt Jackie is going to Disney World in three weeks for a work conference as well. I told my brother I'd find E.Anne a Tinkerbell item of her own. And something un-princesses related for A.
To this my brother noted that E.Anne is not looking forward to the party for A. this weekend (it's her first birthday on Saturday). He said it's hard for her to see her little sister get all the attention and presents, and asked if I could help out. Duh. I asked if he thought he was dealing with an Amateur Auntie. He said, "No! I know we roll with the best of the best!!!" I told him that I bought books and stickers months ago for this very special day; it's all under control.
This is about transitions through some difficult stages in a 4-year-old's life (i.e. sibling rivalry). Do I see it as spoiling the 4-year-old? No. It's about keeping some peace so the cheers for the 1-year-old's celebration can be heard. The 4-year-old will be kept in the party for the 1-year-old but with a couple $1 items to keep her hands busy so the 1-year-old can tackle her own pile without help (hopefully). Things will change as the years go by and both are able to comprehend and understand the importance of each celebration. For now, we work with the 4-year-old's level of understanding.