Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter

Alright, this one is for people with more than one child (and those who had siblings):

Have you ever had a problem with jealousy? It's been a recurring issue in our house. Here's the latest story:

For Easter, of course I fixed Easter baskets for both children. I tried to make them as even as possible. I got them identical baskets and matching candy. Both got peeps, she got yellow chicks, he got green bunnies. Both got four Cadbury eggs, he got all regular eggs, she got two regular and two caramel. Both got Lindt chocolate bunnies, he got a white chocolate bunny, she got milk chocolate (with a red ribbon, her favorite color). (The Lindt bunnies were on sale, I happened to be at the mall, that's the only reason the bunnies were extravagant.) Anyway, you get the idea, I really knocked myself out trying to make nice, evenly divided Easter baskets for them. Then, Rock and I decided to give Supergirl a few "extras" in her Easter basket. So we added the first Shrek movie and a book (things we had bought earlier but hadn't given to her). I figured it was fine since she was older and Wildman is too little to know the difference. Yesterday morning, both kids were happy, ooh'ing and ahh'ing and happily munching on candy. But by noon, there was trouble in paradise. Supergirl was worried that Wildman had more in his Easter basket and wanted to count. People, she seriously wanted to take out all the items in each basket and count each piece of candy to find out who had more. Never mind that she had a book and a movie and he had only candy. So I let her. She emptied out her whole Easter basket on the table and counted each item, down to the individually wrapped chocolate eggs. (Thank God I hadn't dumped the jelly beans out! We'd have been there counting all day!) Then, she counted every item in Wildman's Easter basket. When hers outnumbered his, she was satisfied. Until I told her to pack her Easter basket back up, including the book and movie, because I was taking it all away. And the Easter egg hunt, which we were planning for yesterday afternoon, was cancelled.

What am I supposed to do with that child?

11 comments:

Alice said...

i was TOTALLY like that with my little sister... very concerned that everything be PERFECTLY FAIR (or to my advantage). i have no idea how my parents beat that out of me, though :-(

Shelly said...

Alice - Thanks. If your parents have any suggestions, I'd be all ears. I don't mind her having a few advantages because she's older, but if she's going to count everything we give her, I'm going to kill her!

Pickles & Dimes said...

I remember my mom being very careful to make things the same. I don't know how old I was when she finally stopped getting my brother & I the same number of presents, but I do remember her telling me that things weren't always going to be the same, and instead, she was going to spend the same amount of money, but that we would have a different number of presents.

It worked, having an explanation.

Shelly said...

Shauna, I think I'll just kill myself *now* and save the effort. This is going to kill me. Why in the hell didn't I have just one child?!

The Hotfessional said...

My stepchildren were like that (they outgrew it eventually, I think). It didn't matter that the dollar amount was even. If one got one package more at Christmas than the other, there was a fight.

Age and wisdom and understanding finances. I think that's the only thing that helps. Sorry, I know that's probably not what you wanted to hear. ;-)

JMC said...

My oldest one is the most like that. Luckily, she is quite a bit older than the others, so her having different things is fine. The middle two are the closest in age, but so far it hasn't been much of an issue. The youngest one is too young to care right now, but God help you if you pick up something that she knows is hers - she runs across the room with her little finger pointed at it, screaming.

Shelly said...

Thanks Hot, While it's not much comfort *now* at least it ends. That is definitely some comfort.

Shelly said...

jmc - Thanks! Your little one running across the room shrieking is such a great mental image! I'm sure it's not nearly as fun in reality.

Jess said...

I am the younger child and in a lot of ways used to think that everything was unfair. Really the thing was that my sister was a lot more like my mom than I am and so they got along more easily and I never understood that until I was older.

But the counting thing... it just didn't happen. My parents did a good job of balancing things out, but the comparisons like that just weren't allowed. My parents always told us that things might not always be perfectly even but that they balanced out eventually. If I felt that I had gotten the short end of the stick over something, my parents would point out a time that I had gotten more of something than my sister had. And we were always encouraged to be fair ourselves. When my sister was in charge of splitting a piece of cake between the two of us and chose the much larger piece for herself, my parents let her do it because they had trusted her with the task, but they let her know that by dividing things so unfairly, she had disappointed them.

I don't know if that helps? It isn't practical advice per se. But I think you did the right thing both in the taking away of the candy to show her that it's not about exact comparisons, and in the later rewarding of good behavior.

Shelly said...

Jess - *THANK YOU*! That is exactly the kind of perspective I was looking for! The clear examples, and the results. I love that your parents didn't allow the counting and explained that while things aren't always perfectly even, they balance out. And letting your sister take the larger slice but letting her know they were disappointed sounds perfect! That is *just exactly* the tone I want to set. I *HATE* this attitude of wanting to count everything and I want to nip it in the bud and not ever allow it again, and I think your parents example is brilliant! Yes, the lesson I was trying to teach in taking away the Easter basket was that if you demand an accounting of gifts, the whole gift can be taken away. But I'm not totally heartless, so good behavior can win you back some of the treats you lost. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Michele said...

My husband is one of four, and his mother served soda (a weekly treat) to them in measuring cups so there were no arugments about who got more. Regarding splitting things, my mother once let me split the candy bar, with the stipulation that my sister got to pick which piece she wanted first. I practically used a scale to make sure they were perfectly even.