Birthday Drama… Can You Help This Mama?

My daughters, Sierra and Brooke are like two peas in a pod, despite being two years apart in age. They pretty go everywhere together, and do everything together:

This also means they share the same circle of girlfriends on our street. They have one friend in particular who is the oldest of the group (there are a total of 6 of them who hang out together every weekend, and in the evenings when the weather is nice). This little girl is 1 year older than Sierra, and THREE years older than Brooke. Anyways, this little girl is having a birthday party in a week from now (and we all know how much little girls LOVE parties, right?):

Well this upcoming birthday party is causing a bit of drama in ze old princess castle. You see, only Sierra got invited, and to say that Brooke is disappointed, hurt and feeling left out because she wasn’t invited is putting it mildly. Oh the drama!!! Brooke does play with this little girl quite often, in fact she used to call on her to come over to play when Sierra was at hockey on Sunday’s because she was lonely with out her sister home every week. Unfortunately it was made VERY clear that Brooke wasn’t invited (trust me on this) and it happened right in front of Brooke.

I’m rather confused about how I should handle this situation. I understand that Brooke needs to learn that sometimes Sierra gets invited to parties and she doesn’t, and sometimes Brooke gets invited to parties that Sierra doesn’t get to go to. Now those situations are easy to explain when it’s a classroom friend, but it’s MUCH harder in this situation. Young egos are very fragile as well…

My question to you dear internets is this: – what do I do? Do I send Sierra to the party, and keep Brooke home? Do I do something special with Sierra and Brooke, send a gift, and have neither girl go to the party? (This option would greatly upset Sierra). Or do I talk to the mom and ask if Brooke can come?

What would you do?

Update: the party situation resolved itself when Miss Brooke got invited to another party – same day, same time! Yay!

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  1. Kevin says

    I’m a 36-year old, child-free (but happily married) man, so take my opinion for what it’s worth, but if it were me, I’d send Sierra to the party, and spend the afternoon doing something special with Brooke, just mommy-and-daughter style.

    The girl clearly relates better to Sierra than Brooke, and that’s nobody’s fault, that’s simply a reflection of the age difference. She shouldn’t be required to invite someone to her party just to avoid hurting their feelings – it’s HER party. Likewise, it’s not Sierra’s fault that there’s such a big age difference, and if she gets along well with the other girl, she shouldn’t have to miss out on a party when she didn’t do anything wrong.

    The “problem” (for lack of a better word here) is simply that Brooke is just a little bit too young. It’s nobody’s fault really, but it’s a reality of life, and a learning opportunity for Brooke. Yes, she’ll be hurt and disappointed, but it’s important for her to experience these feelings and learn how to deal with them without lashing out and hurting others in the process.

    Explain it to her, then spend the afternoon doing each others’ hair and then going out for ice cream sundaes, or something.

    • says

      Excellent points, and I totally agree with you. I think I’ll give Brooke the option of who she prefers a special date with – mommy or daddy? She has a younger sister too so a one-on-one date is very valuable to her as well. In other words, I’m gonna take you up on your advice – thank you!

  2. says

    I agree with Kevin. I’m childless as well … but I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if I was Brooke. I’d love to spend an afternoon with my mom – if she could take my mind off of it, I think it would save a lot of grief :) have a wonderful weekend!

    ps – I took that coffee snapshot ;)
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  3. LisaE says

    We have had similar situations at our house, and I have always just let the invited person go, especially when there’s an age difference. My friend, who has twin girls in 1st grade, says that they even go on separate play dates and to separate parties! They’re in different classes in school, so naturally they have some different friends, and it helps them each to establish their own identity. That’s important for siblings, too. It’s wonderful that they play so well together, but they do need opportunities to feel independent. Taking Brooke to do something special would be a great way to make that day fun for her, as well. Good luck!

  4. says

    What Kevin said! It’s a shame that Brooke was made to feel left out – kids can be so cruel without meaning to be. I think a day of pampering getting a pedi would really make her day. Then, when Brooke goes to a party without Sierra, you can do the same with her. I know how much Brooke enjoys shopping so maybe a trip to the mall or to Indigo would please her as well.
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  5. says

    I foresee this in my future :( My younger two are just under 2 yrs apart and in another few years when the youngest is more aware, I know these things will happen. My advice would be the same as the first commenter…do something special with Sierra. I’ve never been one who wanted everything to be equal for my kids–unlike my mother-in-law who has to spend the same amount on each grandkid and give them the same number of gifts at Christmas etc. But, just because “life isn’t fair” or equal, doesn’t mean you can’t have a different kind of fun! I bet Brooke may even be jealous of whatever Sierra gets to do :)

  6. says

    Not speaking as a parent, since I don’t have kids, but speaking from an older sibling perspective. Growing up I was often invited to things my younger sister was not because I was closer in age to the other kids. My Mom would always do something special for my sister to help her “not feel left out” this continued for many years. Including buying her gifts on my bday because “she was too young to understand why didn’t get gifts” or letting her open some of my gifts to be included. For a LONG time I resented my sister for getting special treats when I was simply expected to accept as the older sibling. I say if you’re going to do things like that be careful how much special treatment you give and for how long. Not saying the same thing will happen, but I would hate if it did. And I really hope I don’t sound like a brat. That was my 6-10 YO perspective talking…haven’t looked at things that way for a long time, but still recall how hurt I was.
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    • says

      Thanks for the tips Julie! You’re right, about this. I was considering just taking Brooke to lunch next to the party spot because there isn’t sufficient time to go home, and back to pick Sierra up. Sierra has expressed her desire to go to lunch with me the next time Brooke is invited to a party, and I’ll definitely keep that promise to her.
      Janice´s last post ..Enjoying My Morning Coffee