It’s Not Your Happy Birthday

When you have more than one child you know sibling rivalry and jealousy play a big part in growing up. Being an only child, this whole dynamic is a learning process for me, but I’m quickly getting the hang of it. Child “A” gets doll, child “B” sees doll and wants doll. Child “A” does not want to give up doll so child “B” rips it out of her hands and across the floor. End Act 1, Scene 1. As you know, the rest of the show plays out the same way.

Well, now that my children are getting old enough to express wants and so-called “needs”, I’m noticing jealousy roots its green, ugly head in a big way around birthdays. This week my oldest daughter turns five. God bless her little heart she’s been talking about her birthday since around Christmas. It’s safe to say she is very, very excited. With that said, my two-year-old is hopping on the Happy Birthday train. The only problem is she’s not the conductor for this ride, and she’s quickly realizing that.

As we shop for decorations and talk about her sister’s party, little sis chimes in with “and my Happy Birthday”. She proceeds to tell me she’s going to have a Sofia…no Dora…no “Go”(that’s what she calls “Frozen” because of the song)…when it is her birthday… in three months. When my older daughter talks about presents, you can hear an “and me” echo in the background. Lord help me!

Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for my younger daughter. But, girlfriend, it’s not your Happy Birthday! I’m trying to tell her when its her special day she will get special things, until then take a chill pill. It’s not like we’re going to ignore her on that day. But she’s not going to get her own cake, presents, etc. It may sound insensitive, but I don’t want her to get into the habit of thinking it is her birthday every time it is her sister’s. That’s called Christmas.

My older daughter has agreed to let her little sister help her blow out her candles and open some presents because that’s just the type of person she is. Hopefully tiny tyke will understand that she has the supporting role in this Happy Birthday film, not the lead.

I’m hoping this birthday thing is just another phase, but something is telling me it’s not. Perhaps having twins wouldn’t have been so bad. At least then it really is both of their birthdays!

Do any of you deal with this issue? How do you deal with it?


19 Comments It’s Not Your Happy Birthday

  1. Brittany

    I don’t have 2 kids yet, however, I do have 2 nieces and at their birthdays I always bring 2-3 gifts for the guest of honor, and 1 gift for my other niece, so she feels thought of and not left out, sometimes its even just a few things from The One Spot at Target, but it goes a long way in keeping them occupied and feeling special!

  2. Ashley

    We deal with that some. Little sister just wants to do everything that big brother does. We try to remind him that it’s because she adores him and loves to do things with him and like him. This helps him when he becomes frustrated with her wanting to always tag along. She’s still young, so we are working on her learning to respect older brother to an extent. How she can’t ALWAYS do exactly what she does, but that there will be a time for her to join in on the fun. She wants to get trophies for sports like brother. And we are now at an age where she can start playing sports. So we have tried the whole “soon you’ll be big enough to try sports and you’ll have to do your very best like brother to get a trophy”, stuff like that. It gives her something to look forward to, it helps him understand that his sister adores him and that he should adore her.

    If any of that makes sense?! 🙂

  3. Natasha

    I like how you keep it about the birthday girl! I’d try to keep the little ones occupied with being “good little helpers”! Have fun with the birthday parties!!!

  4. Keisha

    My daughter is four, and had no problem with her brother’s second birthday party being all about him. She was thrilled to just help him and made sure everyone know he was king for a day like it was a serious mission.

    Make sure the other child knows they get to have cake and help their sibling celebrate, but it’s not all about them. That’s an important thing to learn. My nana and our parents all seem to bring a small token gift for the unbirthday child, though, which helps. LOL

  5. Terri

    I had two siblings grown up and it was just like that, well if you buy that for A, then I want it too etc.. I am glad I only had the one kiddo

  6. Meredith@MommyAtoZ

    I hear you! My son is just getting old enough to get in on the act. I’m an only child too, so this is all new ground. I think you’re handling it exactly right, though. I love your comment “That’s called Christmas.” I hope everything works out great and your daughter has a wonderful birthday 🙂

  7. normaleverydaylife

    Two of mine are twins and they still find reasons to fight over birthdays. They want their OWN birthday and don’t like always sharing their special day. 🙂 I don’t know if you can ever win, but kids do learn that it’s not about them eventually. It will probably be much better for you even next year! #shinebloghop

  8. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    We haven’t encountered this… yet. I think we make such a big fuss over birthdays that the girls know their birthday is special and to just enjoy the other siblings’ birthday.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  9. Drama Queen's Momma

    I have four kids. We make a big deal for EACH of their birthdays. They all know that they will get a turn to have the spotlight. I guess I have been blessed in the fact that they haven’t made too much of a fuss about it! I think you handled it very well!

  10. Debbie

    I think Birthday envy is a common and to a degree a natural thing between siblings and it’s how you handle it that makes the difference.

    And by the sounds of things you have it under control. You have made it clear that it’s not little ones birthday this week, but it won’t be too long until it’s her birthday and when it is she will have her turn to make her birthday choices.

    It is a tricky one, but handled carefully it will work out just fine. It’s also a big life lesson when you are only two years old….I hope the birthday girl has a great day and that your little one has an equally as great a day when her time comes.

    Popped over from the #SHINEbloghop.


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