Another truth known to all Israeli gananot (preschool teachers) is that younger siblings should never be brought to a party in the gan. One ganenet actually sent home a poem with a story about a boy who was so upset because instead of watching him sing and dance, the mother was occupied with the little brother. Can you say propaganda?
Now let me be perfectly clear. I have no desire to bring a small child to a gan party. Any party that lasts more than half an hour is torture for me, and much more so for a toddler. My almost 3-year-old, as much as she is insisting that she is coming along, will have to stay home with my older children. But I still remember those years of leaving an older baby or toddler at home with an unfamiliar babysitter and spending the whole party wondering what was happening at home. We don’t have grandparents around and my husband was hardly ever able to make it home in time for those afternoon functions. As for smaller babies who were happy in a sling or on my lap, I just brought them.
And who says that the older child prefers to leave the baby at home? Many preschoolers love their little brother/sister and never got the message that in order to be happy, they must have Ima all to themselves.
It bugs me that instead of just saying that small children are a distraction in a crowded gan, the ganenet tries to make the parents feel guilty for not giving the older child exclusive attention. Obviously, the ganenet’s job is to make sure that the parents notice, for once, that they have an older child and that they don’t always put the toddler first. Didn’t you know that is why gan parties were invented? That is also the justification they give for giving “homework” to the parents, as one ganenet explained: It’s so wonderful when parents actually spend some one-on-one time with their child.