Do things have to be even between siblings? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Do things need to be "fair" between siblings?
Yes 3 9.68%
No 20 64.52%
Depends on the individual child's feelings 8 25.81%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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#31 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 09:35 PM
 
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"That's true. I suppose I could say that the baby blanket is for everyone."

 

Except that it isn't. She wants to make a blanket for this baby. I would let her do that.

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#32 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Journeymom, you were a victim of favoritism. Do you think it helped you be a better adult? Because that's what the goal is, to raise healthy (physically and mentally) adults.

 

Oh golly. Are you referring to the Encyclopedia thing? Calling me a victim is a disservice to real victims of significant wrongs.  After I got over the devastating shock and disappointment of learning I was no longer the baby in the family (mind you, I was 13 years old when my nephew, the first grandchild, was born) I felt ashamed of my jealousy.  

 

The OP asked if things need to be 'fair' between our kids.  I believe absolutely yes, parents need to treat their children as fairly as possible. But people quickly pointed out that fair isn't the same as equal or 'the same'. 

 

I wasn't treated unfairly. It was my mom's prerogative to go ga-ga over her first grandchild. Yes, I got a healthy knock back on my butt.


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#33 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 05:05 AM
 
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I also think it would be okay to have an expectation in your family that the bulk of birthday/Christmas presents are going to be practical rather than toys--if everyone most of the time gets new socks and stuff, then that's just the way it's done in your family. The key would be to do it for everyone. I don't think it's fair for one kid to get socks and goggles and a new bike helmet while another gets My Little Ponies and a Barbie dream house, unless that's what everybody really wanted. (Perhaps when they're in high school/college? I loved when my mom gave me clothes for Christmas in college because she bought me stuff that suited my style and that I couldn't have afforded myself. But that's a whole 'nother story.)


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#34 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 12:39 PM
 
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I actually make a point to treat my kids differently. To let them each discover their own interests and excel at their own things, and being different I think minimizes competitiveness between the siblings. My kids rarely show jealousy towards the other, rarely try to get mom or dads attention over the other. And I think this is because they are each seen on their own. We don't buy the same things or even the same quantity or use the same amount of money. It changes all the time.

 

Kids are not the same, so they should not have the same thing. I have a 6yo DD and an 8yo DS. They have different needs, different wants, different skills, different expectations, different interests... Sometimes DS needs new underwear. Doesn't mean DD needs new underwear, or much else. I think the main thing is how it all comes out in the wash. DS was first, he got a lot of perks with that. Right now he is staying up later than DD who is in bed, because she is younger and needs more sleep. But it isn't all wonderful. Because he was the first, I made some big mistakes on him, that I didn't make on DD, because I knew better then. I still make mistakes more with DS, because he is the 1st. That can't be a bowl of cherries. Sometimes I buy stuff and DS gets 50 dollars spent on him and DD only gets 10 dollars. Next month it is the opposite. DD has probably three more clothes than DS. But DS doesn't care. DS has a billion more legos than DD. Whatever. I think they both feel confident that they are loved. Because of that, there is less measurement of who has what going on.

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#35 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 01:08 PM
 
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I think the problem is that we tend to define "fair" and "even" by objects. If each kid has a handmade blanket, then things are fair. But stuff isn't really what's important, is it? It's how they feel, how they are treated, how their relationships with others are. My mom's friend is a quilter, and made a GORGEOUS quilt for DS when he was a baby. I admit, I was so excited to see the quilt I assumed she would make for DS2, b/c her work is just stunning. Well, guess what, she didn't make him a quilt. She made him a stuffed animal. Just as neat, just as loved, just as beautiful. But I didn't see it that way at first. I worried that DS1 will have a "blankie" to keep with him, to use with his kids, etc. and DS2 is going to chuck the stuffed animal by the time he's 8 and not have a care about it. It didn't take me long to realize that it just doesn't matter. It's only stuff. And neither of them will ever really know this woman personally. A grandma, yes, OP's kids will know her, and isn't that more important than whether she made them each a blanket?

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#36 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 02:16 PM
 
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Fair is not the same as equal!

There is nothing wrong with treating your children differently, as long as it is also fairly. Different people have different interests, and while giving everyone swim goggles is equal, it is unfair to the ones who hate swimming. Is that point really so subtle that so many seem to be missing it?

Also, a grandparent who chooses to abuse one grandchild, just because she wants to, should not be allowed. It is reasonable and acceptable for the parent to set limits, called boundaries, for what is acceptable and what is not. If you know your mother shows favoritism to the firstborn, and treats the youngest like a slave, you have the obligation to prevent your children from being treated that way -- AND passing that treatment along to ANOTHER generation.
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#37 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 02:28 PM
 
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I still think that so much is in the eye of the child.  No matter what you attempt as a parent-- treating kids "differently" or treating them the same-- you often end up with a child who sees things differently.

 

AllisonR, some of what you do can influence your children, but you also probably have children who fit neatly into what you have attempted to accomplish by making these choices.

 

 And swdl2422, for some kids, the stuff really is part of what's important.

 

I can say this, because the intensity of my first daughter has really made me reevaluate and change how I approach evenness and fairness.  Now, finally, at 8yo, she can understand with some intellectual clarity that "fair" and "even" can be different from "same".  She has challenged the justice of my decisions almost constantly, and I have had to examine the reasons for why I do things.  Often, there is an argument because I simply cannot comply with her demands.  Sometimes--oftentimes-- it's not about fairness.  It is an ongoing conversation.  And on and on and on.....

 

One could argue that I wouldn't have these troubles if I gave her enough attention.  Well, that's a conclusion made by parents with children for whom giving loads of attention was enough.  For my eldest, everything I could give was never enough.  You just wind up with these kids that don't neatly fit into all these theories about "give them X and they'll respond with Y".  And so often, this paradigm isn't challenged until we are the ones with those kids.

 

How is this helpful to the OP?  Well, frankly, I don't know.  I guess that you can't set things up thinking that if you do X the same, then you won't have any troubles.  If I make things even: stuff, attention, etc. then.........

 

.....well, it doesn't work that way, so don't embark on the task of making things even with the assumption that doing that will keep things fair and prevent those hurt feeling down the road.  Because all that is in the eye of each and every child.


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#38 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses. I do agree completely that "fair" and "even" are two completely different things, especially when it comes to little things. Like the swim goggles, underwear, or even spending the same amount at xmas for all the kids. I probably didn't name the thread properly. I had such a hard time trying to figure out exactly how I feel on the subject.

 

I think it was a mixture of hormones and holding a grudge at my MIL for an earlier conversation when she said that the amount of kids DH and I want are "too many" and I should only have two or three. After thinking of this subject for a while I think I projected that conversation into my reaction to the baby blanket thinking "well, you are only going to make things for the first 2 kids because that's all you approve of."  I'm sure that's not going to be the case, and she will approve/love all my hypothetical children, but that was at the root of what I was feeling.

 

Even if that was to be the case I suppose it doesn't matter as long as my kids know on some level that I love them and stuff is really just stuff. It's completely logical to think that if I worry about material possesions between them being fair that is putting emphasis on something that in the grander scheme of things doesn't matter. It could completely back-fire and turn them into materialist people. 

 

Also I do agree that it depends on the kid's wants/needs. My nephew's only interest is minecraft. He would be happy doing nothing all day except play that game. My niece on the other hand wants to play sports, do drama, ballet, and recently asked if she can join a gymnastics team. These activities are WAAAAYYY more expensive and time consuming but that's what she wants. My sister forced my nephew to play soccer so that he would "do something not  computer related." 

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#39 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 02:55 PM
 
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Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just because there might be a bit of squabbling down the road is no reason to not try to avoid huge hurt feelings. It's like driving. No matter how much you follow the rules of the road, you may have an accident. But does that mean you should throw caution to the wind and drive on the wrong side of the road for kicks?
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#40 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 02:58 PM
 
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I grew up as an only child, so I guess I naturally grew up as a product of favoritism; however, I can see how favoring one child over the other can definitely lead to some problems growing up. Although I was an only child, my parents constantly subjected me to comparisons with my "genius" cousin. They would incentivize me with toys and games if I could keep up with my cousin, and whenever I couldn't, they would continually comment on why I couldn't do the same. It really messed with my sense of self-esteem growing up. Comparing myself with others and feeling terrible when I matched up poorly became a regular occurrence. I can see the point of using the "more successful" child as the standard for the rest of his/her siblings, just so they can have a model to look up to and emulate, but when there is continuous dialogue of comparison without praise for each child's individual strengths and gifts, major self-image problems will arise. Just make sure you are conscious to the internal dialogue you are creating in your kids' heads when you do or say things that may conjure up thoughts of inadequacy, favoritism, or comparison for your children. They want to please you and make you happy as their parent, so make sure you show them the same appreciation in return.

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#41 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by inconditus View Post

Thanks for all the responses. I do agree completely that "fair" and "even" are two completely different things, especially when it comes to little things. Like the swim goggles, underwear, or even spending the same amount at xmas for all the kids. I probably didn't name the thread properly. I had such a hard time trying to figure out exactly how I feel on the subject.

I think it was a mixture of hormones and holding a grudge at my MIL for an earlier conversation when she said that the amount of kids DH and I want are "too many" and I should only have two or three. After thinking of this subject for a while I think I projected that conversation into my reaction to the baby blanket thinking "well, you are only going to make things for the first 2 kids because that's all you approve of."  I'm sure that's not going to be the case, and she will approve/love all my hypothetical children, but that was at the root of what I was feeling.

Even if that was to be the case I suppose it doesn't matter as long as my kids know on some level that I love them and stuff is really just stuff. It's completely logical to think that if I worry about material possesions between them being fair that is putting emphasis on something that in the grander scheme of things doesn't matter. It could completely back-fire and turn them into materialist people. 

Also I do agree that it depends on the kid's wants/needs. My nephew's only interest is minecraft. He would be happy doing nothing all day except play that game. My niece on the other hand wants to play sports, do drama, ballet, and recently asked if she can join a gymnastics team. These activities are WAAAAYYY more expensive and time consuming but that's what she wants. My sister forced my nephew to play soccer so that he would "do something not  computer related." 


I think you have a good handle on this. Good luck!
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#42 of 60 Old 05-29-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

 

Honestly, while I'm disappointed, my kids don't know the difference.

 

my kids are teens and don't give a crap about any of the stuff that was made for either of them. It doesn't fit, match their current rooms, etc.

 

However, we did try to keep things equitable, and we deeply love both kids. Perhaps part of the reason my younger child isn't hung up the sweaters she wore as a baby that had originally been hand made for her older sister is because is knows that she is how much she is loved.

 

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Maybe we should make a poll and ask what everyone's experiences were. I wonder if anyone would say "I got all the attention, etc in my family"? In other words, does anyone feel there was favoritism and was the favorite?

 

yes -- my husband was the favorite in his family when he was growing up. At times he felt really awkward about it. He wanted to make sure that we were equitable for our kids not just so one wouldn't feel as loved, but to avoid putting one in the position of Being Favorite, which he found to be an icky thing.

 

 

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

 She felt like she didn't have the things--pictures, etc.  The funny thing was, when I went through my mother's things after my stepfather's death, I found that most of the favorite things she saved belonged to my middle sis.  

 

....  But also like I mentioned, oftentimes it can never be made to look "fair".

 

 

I think that when a child really isn't quite as liked, for whatever reason, it is easy to blame the "stuff."  You didn't take as many pictures of me, you didn't get me as much stuff is more concrete than "I just always had a feeling that you didn't like me quite as much."

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inconditus View Post

Thanks for all the responses. I do agree completely that "fair" and "even" are two completely different things, especially when it comes to little things.

.....

 

Also I do agree that it depends on the kid's wants/needs. My nephew's only interest is minecraft. He would be happy doing nothing all day except play that game. My niece on the other hand wants to play sports, do drama, ballet, and recently asked if she can join a gymnastics team. These activities are WAAAAYYY more expensive and time consuming but that's what she wants. My sister forced my nephew to play soccer so that he would "do something not  computer related." 

 

Now that I have teens, I see that things that are currently really important to you to keep even as being "little things." bag.gif  In order to try to even out the "handmade" items issue, I cross stitched a lovely and very detailed mermaid for my youngest when she was about 8. It's gorgeous. She loved it at the time, and for several years. It's now in a closet, and and she was very sheepish about telling me that she had outgrown it and wanted other things on her walls. She didn't want to hurt my feelings.

 

Your nephew might really enjoy a nice gaming lap top of his own, complete with a wireless headset. Programming and Game Design camp (in my city) run $500 dollars a week. There are ways to spend lots of money on what he is interested in.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#43 of 60 Old 06-02-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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I have a younger sister who constantly challenged my parents whenever I got something new, because it was only "fair" that she gets the same thing. Many times she got something that she didn't want or need just because I had something. To whatever activities or camps I was allowed to go, I had to take my sister with me. I was asked to share with her whatever she demanded.

 

And all this was because my parents went out of their way to make sure things were "equal" between us.

 

Striving to make things equal between siblings is a losing battle in my experience. And sometimes it's NOT fair.


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#44 of 60 Old 06-02-2013, 07:49 PM
 
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Striving to keep things equal IS a losing battle.
Striving to love children the same is NOT possible.
Striving to keep things identical is NOT desired.

Again, equal, identical and same are NOT the same as fair.

Fair means everyone feels loved, accepted and respected. This has less to do with how much money is spent, how many gifts there are, or those kinds of tangible things. Fair is more about intangibles like pride, support and quality of time.

If a parent wants a good adult relationship with all his/her children, that parent should strive to keep things fair. And becoming a slave to a child's wants is NOT fair to the parent. Fairness is about ALL members of the family.
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#45 of 60 Old 06-03-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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I used to drive myself a little batty trying to keep thing equal.  It was exhausting, and I eventually found (as did the kids) that people got less when everything had to be equal- not more. Less stuff, but also less of what they needed.  It also created a certain amount of keeping score around stuff and focus on stuff that I felt was unhealthy.  Take something basic like junk food.  If I had one child with me and we passed a McDonald's, we might stop.  I would be less inclined to stop  if I felt I had to buy take out for people who were not there.   I no longer strive for that, at least on a day to day basis.  I do strive for some sort of equity and fairness over time.  

 

As per the OP - I would probably just say thank you for the gift and move on.  There is a good possibility the grandparents will want to do something for any further children, and if they can't for whatever reason, it won't matter as long as the love they feel is equal.  


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#46 of 60 Old 06-03-2013, 03:30 PM
 
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I used to drive myself a little batty trying to keep thing equal.  It was exhausting, and I eventually found (as did the kids) that people got less when everything had to be fair - not more. Less stuff, but also less of what they needed.  It also created a certain amount of keeping score around stuff and focus on stuff that I felt was unhealthy.  Take something basic like junk food.  If I had one child with me and we passed a McDonald's, we might stop.  I would be less inclined to stop  if I felt I had to buy take out for people who were not there.   I no longer strive for that, at least on a day to day basis.  I do strive for some sort of equity and fairness over time.  

As per the OP - I would probably just say thank you for the gift and move on.  There is a good possibility the grandparents will want to do something for any further children, and if they can't for whatever reason, it won't matter as long as the love they feel is equal.  


Maybe this will help. Fairness over time and feeling that all are equally loved is what I mean by "fair". Trying to make every nitpicky little thing identical is what I mean by "equal", "identical", or "same". Make sense?
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#47 of 60 Old 06-03-2013, 04:51 PM
 
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Maybe this will help. Fairness over time and feeling that all are equally loved is what I mean by "fair". Trying to make every nitpicky little thing identical is what I mean by "equal", "identical", or "same". Make sense?

Sure.  

 

 

I do not think you always have to be equitable to be fair, but I do think always being inequitable can be problematic and look like or be favoritism unless there is a darn good reason for it (such as a change in income between sibling sets).  I agree that fairness over time and feeling that all are equally loved is fair - and the goal.

 

This thread brings to mind the book the 5 languages of love - some people do show and receive love through things.  I have some issues with the concept (another thread for another day) but it is worth contemplating.  

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-5-Love-Languages-Children/dp/0802403476/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y


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#48 of 60 Old 06-04-2013, 03:20 PM
 
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So... you haven't even given birth to the first child yet, and you're already arguing with your family about bedding for your subsequent children?

 

You're going to have to let this go.

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#49 of 60 Old 06-04-2013, 03:38 PM
 
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So... you haven't even given birth to the first child yet, and you're already arguing with your family about bedding for your subsequent children?

You're going to have to let this go.

That's a dictatorial response.

Some people think and plan ahead. Nothing wrong with that. And I didn't see any arguing mentioned!
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#50 of 60 Old 06-04-2013, 04:37 PM
 
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So... you haven't even given birth to the first child yet, and you're already arguing with your family about bedding for your subsequent children?

 

You're going to have to let this go.

 

Quote:
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That's a dictatorial response.

Some people think and plan ahead. Nothing wrong with that. And I didn't see any arguing mentioned!

 

 

Agreed, the OP wasn't arguing.  But isn't requiring the inlaws to give the same gift to each currently theoretical child -isn't that dictatorial?  I'm scratching my head; I don't see what's dictatorial about Michelle's advice.


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#51 of 60 Old 06-04-2013, 06:35 PM
 
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"You're going to have to let this go." is a direct order, not a suggestion.
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#52 of 60 Old 06-09-2013, 01:09 PM
 
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You dont know the future. Enjoy your first baby! If you have other children, they will get their own gifts. For a start they will have an older sibling that your first doesnt have. Is that fair? They will get the benefit of your experience that your first wont, is that fair? Maybe grandma will knit them a blanket, maybe she wont.  She has to commit to that?  Does she have to sign  a legally binding document? Its a gift-accept the gift graciously, talk about viewing the glass half empty...

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#53 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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directly addressing the blanket issue - my mom didnt even allow that discussion with us, because she kept those things herself. anything that was made before we were old enough to understand, she considered a gift to herself. I suspect she plans to pass some of it on to the first grandchild (which will be mine, as my only sibling won't be having kids), but if she doesn't, then those will just be her keepsakes. (I admit to hoping she will pass them on, there are some really nice things.) when we were toddlers, grandma made us dolls and outfits and stuff, and then another relative made us quilts when we were 12 or so. those are the keepsakes we got, and I'd be pretty upset if only one of us had them; but our family was fully formed by then, so grandmas knew what they were getting into when they decided to do a project.
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#54 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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On the subject of baby blankets I thought this was funny: My sister-in-law gave me a few garbage bags of hand-me-down baby stuff. Within the contents was a super cute baby sized quilt that I held up and showed to my mom, who was helping me go through everything. She started freaking out because it was an "herloom baby blanket" that she hand stitched when my niece was born. My mom said to just keep it and not mention it because she's never going to have time to do that stuff again since she started her own business. It ended up in the give away bag so it was given away. 

 

I don't know why but this really gave me a sense of peace and perspective. When you have 30 blankets the sentimental one might fall through the cracks, especially if your kid isn't attached to it. 

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#55 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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The heirloom issue is a whole different quilt..... orngtongue.gif

 

I just went through my parents' stuff after my dad's death, and they had kept many things, most were musty smelling.  I ended up pitching most of it, as sad as that sounds, because most things were barely held together, stained, unusable for anybody.  I have a wool quilt--a utilitarian one my grandfather won for a 25 cent raffle ticket and used on his fishing boat-- that is indeed precious, but unwashable.  No way is that musty thing going on the bed.  We use it for our "circle time" and I tell the story.  But that's the best outcome.  Keeping cloth fresh, let alone usable requires great care.  The rest (I did keep some things) just sit in a box.  I can go through it, tell stories to the girls while I sneeze until I pee my pants and that musty box of sentimental crap goes back in.  

 

Because I realized how badly cloth keeps, I also went through the collection of clothes and things I kept for my girls, and passed nearly everything on to friends' kids.  Yes, I kept the baby quilt my mother made, but it never became precious to dd1.  She never attached to a blanket.  The one dd2 attached to is a polyester fleece handmedown she keeps folded under her pillow.

 

ETA:  My mother died when dd1 was 9 months old, and so dd2 doesn't have her own blanket from her.  Life is not about fair-- it just is.


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#56 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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  Life is not about fair-- it just is.

 

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#57 of 60 Old 06-10-2013, 02:36 PM
 
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It's important to be fair and not favor one child over another but this does not mean that you need to treat them exactly the same/do all the same things with them/give them all the same things.  I wouldn't worry too much about the blanket issue.  You can still get baby number 2 a "special" blanket even if it's not hand made by the same person who made the first one.  For example:  You could take your first child to the store and let them pick out a special blanket for number to.  The two blankets wouldn't be the same and wouldn't be from the same person but they'd both have special meaning. 

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#58 of 60 Old 06-11-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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Sorry if i am repeating anything, but i agree that one should strive for fairness.. Im a believer in justice and fairness. We  have a court of law for that reason We can do our best to do the right thing, the fair thing, and the just thing. When it comes to  our children, i think its only right to aim for fairness...but that is not sameness. Two different things.

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#59 of 60 Old 06-11-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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Maybe we should make a poll and ask what everyone's experiences were. I wonder if anyone would say "I got all the attention, etc in my family"? In other words, does anyone feel there was favoritism and was the favorite? I bet my siblings would say I was spoiled and they suffered.

I think my sister was favored; she says she thinks it was equal. *shrug*. I suppose it is not so much that it seems she was favored as it seems I was picked on in a way she wasn't. I don't think she ever picked up on it. 

 

Basically, I think that all the "stuff" is just a surrogate for how much the kids are loved. If the "stuff" is more or less kinda equitable, it's not going to matter that much to kids as long as they feel they are loved. 


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#60 of 60 Old 06-12-2013, 04:46 PM
 
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I agree yes that things should be fair not even... but that those are not the same thing.

I wouldn't agree on making your MIL agree to  quilt for all of your children, but I do get where those feelings come into play. We have the only two grandchildren on either side and number 1 is favored far more than number 2 by couple people. But for various reasons that I do not want to get into it bugs me. 

However funny enough both blankets and "name keepsakes" are close to my heart. My first child was blessed with MANY beautiful hand knit blankets. The one from my mom's best friends mom (winky.gif) is the blanket that became "hers". And we never used the others. When I had my second no one really cared (or so it felt) and I was put off about the blanket situation. I had forgotten about the other blankets my first received as they were in my parents storage. 

On my last day of work before maternity leave a coworker came over and said that she had a baby gift for me before I left. This was a coworker that I talked to once in awhile and didn't know very well and we worked in different areas. She was gone when I was able to get it and I was so incredibly touched. She had knit our second a blanket, and I had never said anything about blankets at that point because I figured it was an "after baby" thing. It was the only knit blanket our second received, and it became "hers" and again LOVED.

 

Both of my children at 8 and 5 still use their baby blankets. They love them dearly!

 

We are trying for our third and we don't need much stuff but if anyone asks if they can make one I will say yes, and if no one does I have DD1's extra knit blankets as well as *my* old baby blankets that I can use instead :) But it *did* bother me at one point. 

My MIL also had my DD1's name hand lettered and framed and has never had one done for DD2... I don't even think DD1 knows about it though, she gave it to us (actually she said she'd keep it for herself if we didn't want it... yes there are boundary and favortisim issues there) and it sits in a closet. My DD2 would notice it if we put it up and she didn't have one. 


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