I have two girls, ages 2 and 9. Just because of their ages, they have different needs. The younger one needs more physical attention, and the older one has more needs as far as material things and lessons, etc., go.
My sister told me she thinks I favor my 9-year-old and that it's unfair to the 2-year-old. I don't favor either kid and I asked her why she thinks that, and she said it's because the older one takes lessons that are expensive and gets more money spent on her. She's 9! She just has greater expenses. I can't help that everything she does costs money, and it would be ridiculous to throw money around due to some ridiculous idea that I have to spend as much on each. The 2-year-old doesn't show any signs of feeling slighted, and doesn't understand finances yet obviously. She gets all of my time and attention while the older one is in school and is very happy and cheerful. She has everything she needs.
So the problem is that my sister has started showering the 2-year-old with gifts in an attempt to make up for this, and she does it in front of the 9-year-old, and the 9-year-old feels bad.
My kids have not had any real rivalry, I assume because of the age difference, but I feel like my sister is creating some rivalry and now the older one gets jealous.
I have told my sister to stop buying stuff for the 2-year-old, and she says that I told her that because I like the older one better and I'm a bad mom and unfair to the little one, etc. I told her that I'm going to have to limit her access to the kids if she keeps creating this competition thing between them. I don't want to have to take things that far over something that doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but she's creating problems and I feel like she's being very disrespectful of me.
Am I making a bigger deal out of this than I should? Is there a better way to communicate to her what the problem is? What would you do?