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Opinions please

Some of you have probably encountered a similar situation so I’m hoping I can get a little feedback.  Tomorrow is the BBQ/baby shower for daughter A’s new baby due in August.  It’s also a graduation party for her husband D.  A has a 4 year old son from her first marriage.  The invitations to this shindig, from the Ex (dun Dun DUN!) and my SIL include a note that if the guest is bringing a shower gift they might consider bringing a little something for big brother.  Okay, I’ve seen that done before, especially with really young kids who don’t understand the whys of gift giving and receiving.  While no one ever practiced this in my family when I was a kid, I wasn’t against the idea in principle.  However, when I raised it with Hubs he disagreed. 

He’s a few years older than SIL and when they were growing up his family did practice this.  When it was SIL’s birthday, Hubs would also get gifts.  And vice versa.  He explained that it was confusing to him when he was a kid.  It sent a mixed message because when he received gifts on his sister’s birthday he didn’t understand that it was her special day, nor why she got all the attention (i.e., cake, candles).  And when she got gifts on his birthday he felt like his special day wasn’t really special because he had to share it. 

I haven’t given a lot of thought to the details of bringing gifts for siblings when there’s a new baby, but it occurs to me that you wouldn’t normally bring gifts for all the children ad infinitum.  Why would anyone keep gifting the non-birthday child past an age where the child can understand that everyone has their own special day?  Well, unless you have money to burn.  Or maybe you’ve figured out a way to take it as a tax write-off.  Hubs made a good point because apparently in his family they did, at least for awhile. 

So.  If we bring a gift tomorrow for the four year old are we setting a precedent for what will be expected in the future?  On our new little granddaughter’s first birthday, will we be requested to bring a gift for big brother?  When will it end? 

I’ve come to the conclusion that Hubs is right (don’t tell him ‘k?); we won’t be taking a gift for N.  Our grandson is a fairly mature four.  I think he is probably old enough to “get it” that tomorrow is not about him.  In addition, the gifts his mom will be opening “for little sister” aren’t likely to be things he’ll be that interested in:  diapers, baby wipes, onesies, receiving blankets, bibs, “girly” clothes, etc.  I suppose there might be some toys that would catch his attention briefly, but I doubt that would last more than a few moments.  Plus?  He’s going to clean up in the gift department.  His maternal grandma (the Ex) will load him up.  SIL will shower him.  Even my bestest friend is going to bring him something.  I don’t think he’s going home empty handed.

My preference is to wait for his next birthday and make sure he knows it’s HIS SPECIAL DAY.  Thank goodness little sister will only be a few months old because I’m not about to take her a gift on HIS day. 

What say you peeps?  Do you have an opinion on this?  Have you been in a similar pickle?  How’d you handle it?

8 thoughts on “Opinions please

  1. Mum and dad did that for me and my sister when we were little. She got a gift on my day and I got a gift on hers. I never really understood it, but it was always fun. Now that we’re older, obviously, those rules don’t apply anymore. I think you and Hubs are right, kids should have their special day and not have to share it. There’s fair, and then there’s fair.

  2. Bubbe, I have to agree with your hubby.

    Anymore things are out of hand. When I was a kid we got gifts ON our birthday (well, sometimes I didn’t even get that but that’s a story for another time!). For my boys, I didn’t expect anyone to bring my older son anything when my younger one came along and my older one was told “it’s your brother’s day just like on YOUR birthday, your brother won’t get anything” or something to that effect.

    Personally, I think we need to get back to basics. But then again that’s just me. I was the Mom who stopped giving “treat bags” at my kids’ birthday parties. WTH? I was already giving a darn party!

    Do what YOU feel is best and stick to it. I find that is the best way to handle just about any situation.

    Good luck!

  3. I also agree with your Hubs, there are ways to show the other sibs some attention and love when it’s not their “special day” like maybe a HUG accompanied by saying something like “Its going to be so much fun when you have YOUR special day!”…Let the kids bask in the limelight of their Birthday, don’t diminish it by making them share it.

    I also agree with you, if you set this precedent now, where will it end?? At 4, he’s old enough to understand things when they are explained to him properly, and lets face it, a stick of gum would probably make him just as happy as another toy. Give him some gum and a hug and call it a day. And if the SIL gives you any grief over it, tell her to take it up with her big Brother! If the EX (dun Dun DUN!) gives you any grief, ask someone to pass you a fork!!! :p

  4. I mostly agree with the hubby. I mean, I think the kid could get one or two things and that would be nice, because he’s going to be a big brother. (I heard its fairly common that when you first go to meet a baby, if you’re bringing a baby gift get something for the siblings too). But an entire SHOWER full of presents for him too? Um, no. And once the baby is born, I don’t think it should continue for bdays or anything.

    • I think you’re right Gia. Once I thought about it I realized that I’ve heard of taking a little something for an older sibling when you go to see the baby for the first time, not at the shower. Under those circumstances – a one off gift – I think it would be okay but otherwise, pfft. Not happening. 🙂

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