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Child-free aunt refuses to make 'golden child' niece a doll to match her sister's, 'I hung up.' AITA?

Child-free aunt refuses to make 'golden child' niece a doll to match her sister's, 'I hung up.' AITA?


"AITA for refusing to make my niece a doll like her sister's?"

I (26, F) have no kids. But my oldest brother has two daughters. Oldest is now 7, younger just turned 5. I love both of them a lot, but I'm not blind. As someone who grew up with siblings, it's very clear that oldest daughter (ON) is the golden child. She gets whatever she wants, no matter how expensive, and is always showered with praise for her pageants and singing.

My younger niece (YN) is very shy, but she is still very sweet and enjoys things like reading and animals. Recently, my YN has been feeling bad about herself. I asked why, and she told me it was because she didn't like her hair color.

She's got auburn curls. She was sad because everyone always said how pretty ON's hair was, which was a very light blonde and straight. It got so bad that she'd apparently tried to cut it off, which her mom had just laughed off as childhood mishap.

When I was over at brother's house, I noticed that the two were playing with dolls. ON had a very nice Barbie doll, while YN had what looked like a short, cheap Walmart knockoff. I asked why, and mom said it was because she couldn't find a doll with red hair. This made me upset, because:

1. The doll's hair is bright red, which is not her hair color, and 2. It was extremely different quality. I said nothing, but when it was YN birthday, I acted. For months I researched doll making and restoring. I took a Barbie, and replaced her hair with some that matched hers and painted the eyes. I then hand sewed several custom outfits, and gave each a blue whale theme (her favorite animal). As a cosplayer, this wasn't that hard.

On her birthday, YN was ecstatic. But her sister was obviously not. I didn't pay attention to her, instead focusing on making sure YN liked her gifts. But only a few days later, her parents called me, telling me that I needed to make ON a doll as well. I said I'd get her one on her next birthday.

They said no, she needed it immediately because she'd been upset that her sister's doll was customized unlike her store bought ones, and was mad that YN wouldn't share. I told them again that it was a project, and I'd make her one next year. They both accused me of not caring about ON's feelings.

I got mad, saying that neither of them cared about being fair when YN was playing with a troll doll that was supposed to "look like her'.'" This was a gift meant to make YN feel special, and I wasn't going to cheapen it because ON was pouting. I hung up, but started to wonder: AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Hopeful-Material4123 said:

NTA...more kids should have aunts like you, OP. It warmed my heart as a now adult who often was overlooked in childhood when it came to my perfect blond cousin to see you notice this and act.

You made YN feel special, as she deserves to feel. It is not like you will never do anything like that for ON but time and place. ON needs to learn life does not turn on her axis when she wants something. ON could use a lesson in not being center of attention. Anyway, you are a beautiful person.

freerange_chicken said:

NTA, this is an incredibly sweet thing for you to do for your niece! Good on you for stepping up for your niece when her parents are obviously not. I’m glad she has an adult in her life that sees her. Up to you whether you decide to make one for ON, but I might not. You could always turn it into a special thing that you do for and maybe eventually with your YN, if she’s interested!

madman54218374125 said:

Definitely NTA and don't make her that doll. They are raising a very entitled child and you do not need to play into that.

Own_Lack_4526 said:

NTA. Don't make the doll next year for the older girl's birthday. It's not her fault that her parents treat the two of them so differently, but your younger niece is going to need someone on her side to help her feel special and loved. Bless you for being that person for her.

theworldisonfire8377 said:

NTA, but your sister is. My heart goes out to the younger niece. All she's going to remember when she's older is how everyone favored her sister over her. Please don't stop going out of your way to make her feel special, she needs someone in her corner!

LyraPancakes said:

NTA at all. YN needed to feel special and ON needed to see that not everything is about her. I wouldn't put it past the parents/ ON to mess up the doll tho. Please keep being an awesome aunt to YN. She needs it.

Everyone was unanimously on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

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