Birthdays Are Tough

Ever been a kid’s birthday party? Ever notice what happens when it’s time to open the presents?

Everyone wants to help. They swarm around the gift opener like a starving wrestling team around a hot pizza.

It’s no different when you’re the birthday boy with a nearly nine year old brother. I had a discussion at bedtime with him the night before, but it brought no relief for him. I knew his little brother was going to be receiving copious amounts of attention for his birthday. I also know that jealousy can be ugly beast when you want what someone else has. I know when DW is opening her birthday gifts or Mother’s Day gifts, I wish it was me opening them.

But I know it’s their turn in the spotlight. An eight year old with impulse issues struggles with giving up the spotlight, especially to his little brother. Then his little brother gets to open gifts and all you can do is sit there and watch and pretend to be happy for him when in actuality you’re wishing those gifts were yours. Especially if it’s a remote controlled El Toro Loco monster truck.

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“Will you share it with bub?” is completely innocent question. Except the toy in question hadn’t even been removed from the box yet and already he was asking his little brother to share it. I know what that feels like dude. I was like that the day his mom got a new tablet. The first thought that went through my head was certainly not, “Oh, you’ll love that tablet. It has a 10″ screen and a detachable keyboard.” It was more along the lines of, “Man, that’s not fair. I want a big tablet with a keyboard, too! Wanna trade tablets?” I knew better than to voice that thought because it’s not nice. It’s greedy. It’s selfish. It’s rude. And I have a birthday coming up. Winking Face on Microsoft Windows 10

He has a birthday coming, too. It is literally 17 days after his little brother’s. He lives in the here and now, though, not in the 17 days following. The difference is that the filter between his brain and his mouth is more like a fishing net than a filter. It doesn’t stop him from saying nearly as much as it should.

So, yes, birthdays can be tough. Especially when they’re not yours and the birthday boy is getting gifts you’d like to have for yourself. However, he still gets to reap a couple of the birthday boy’s rewards. Cake and ice cream!

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48 thoughts on “Birthdays Are Tough

  1. I was going to give the same suggestion – a small treasure for the non-birthday child, given on the DL. Doesn’t ease the pain entirely, but makes it a little more manageable. We always had a rule, too, that the first day a gift is received is purely for the birthday child. We won’t require sharing, although sharing would be really nice (emphasis on nice). After the first day, sharing is highly encouraged, as long as there’s respect for the toy in question (ie, don’t crash your brother”s brand new remote control truck into the giant rock in the backyard).

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  2. My kids have been pretty good about the sharing part…even the baby, who has the excuse of not having developed much empathy yet, as he’s only 2. Somehow I’ve never had much of a problem with sharing, or waiting my turn, which is interesting, as I’m an only child, and didn’t necessarily have to practice that very often. Good luck with curbing the impulse and reinforcing the filter.

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    • To give him a bit of credit, the jealousy was only at home, not at the party with all the other kids. There isn’t any fighting over normal toys (they know I’ll take the toy away if they fight over it). It’s just the new birthday toys that get fought over 🙂

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  3. My girls have been good as siblings letting each other have their day. The problem comes with younger party guests who help with the opening, or just get their heads in the way of pictures. I have plenty of birthday shots composed mainly by the back of a kid’s head that isn’t mine! They should stay on parents’ laps, if you ask me. They’ll have their days.

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    • I must say big brother was good to stay out of the way of present opening at the party. It was at home that the jealousy set in. I hear ya about the pictures of kids getting in the way. Lil buggers.

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  4. Oh that made me giggle as we just had our daughter’s party last weekend. Thankfully my son is old enough to not have an issue anymore. Our problem though was that I ended up not knowing anymore who gave her what which makes saying thank you a bit difficult…

    Love the quote at the end 🙂

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  5. Never had that problem… Dude couldn’t have cared any less how many Barbie dolls Princess got for her birthday. And visa versa. Not that Dude got Barbie dolls for his birthday. He got Superhero figurines…and Superhero games…and Superhero t-shirts… Because I’m his Dad.

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  6. 17 days! You can combine birthdays and celebrate them on the same day and they both will get to open their presents together. It’s also the part where you can eye their toys and use them to your advantage with, “If you don’t do abc, then I’ll take away xyz.” :p

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    • They’re just far enough apart to not combine them. Plus I like the idea of each of them getting their own day. They’ll just have to learn to suck it up and deal with it. We totally take xyz away whe they don’t do abc. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.

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  7. Ah yes. The sharing of the birthdays. My Oldest Younger Brother Scott is less than two years my junior. My mother, in order to avoid a huge battle, made me my own cake on the occasion of Scott’s first birthday so that I wouldn’t hog his.

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  8. This is indeed a difficult situation. What if the older brother helped plan the party by coming up with a theme and decorations? Giving that sort of responsibility to him will make him feel super special and will hopefully distract him from the importance of his little brother’s presents! You could continue commenting throughout the party that everything looks really great and he did such an amazing day making his little brother’s day so special. He’ll love that.

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  9. Reblogged this on 12 Dollar Birthday and commented:
    I bet this has happened to you if you have a big family! Try tackling it by helping the other (non-birthday) sibling feel super special on his brother or sister’s big day by letting them pick out the theme of the party and offer their suggestions. Comment throughout the party that they helped create a wonderful party for their sibling. This will hopefully distract them from the importance of their siblings presents and instead feel incredible proud and loved.

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  10. My daughter recently celebrated her 5th birthday and all the children definitely started swarming around to hand her gifts and to open them lol. I had to tell them to back off lol. My daughters respectfully allow each other their shine in their day which is amazing! They never try to take the spotlight from each other. It’s the guests that I have to often redirect.
    http://www.vergoparties.com/

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    • That’s awesome they allow each other the spotlight. My boys have trouble with that when it’s each other (they’re okay if it’s I or their mom, though). They get jealous seeing their brother getting the gifts and praise. Happy 5th birthday to your daughter!

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