spoil : to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
2. And now for a little example.
My sister and her husband are watching my three children (the oldest being 5) along with her two (oldest being 4) for an entire week at the end of the month. So that equals 5 children ages 5 and under for an entire week. Did I mention that she is the greatest sister ever?
Well, she agreed to watch them and then we had this little conversation about how much she was allowed to spoil them. I said she could spoil them as much as she wanted if she was really willing to watch them for the week. Now, I can say this because I know that she won't be letting my children do anything that her children won't be doing. We parent very much the same. (Except that she has boys and I have girls, so we are a little, well, cleaner. And by that I mean her boys actually get dirty and then she cleans them. Mine just don't typically get dirty in the first place, thus no need to clean them as often.)
Back to the real issue at hand. By spoiling, I thought maybe a little ice cream here, a trip to the video store there, a visit to the park here, going to the store there. Apparently we have a different definition of spoil, thus the need to set the record straight. By the above definition I don't believe she is out to impair, damage, or harm my children's character, however, excessive indulgence just might fit. Here's the email I received from her yesterday, and I quote. (Just so you know, we have a non-spoken agreement that anything we learned in English growing up does not apply, thus no capitalization and random punctuation and many a run-on sentence will be involved. You've been warned!)
Sister to me: "oh, by the way, would you like to see what we just purchased? for the girls to play with while they are here? not the boys, just the girls? nothing like spoiling the children??.. okay, we lost our heads for a moment in the excitement of ebay shopping. you ready for this?....
oh. my. word... we're nuts."
Here's my response: "Oh. my. stinkin. heck. You. did. not? Miss A saw that exact thing advertised earlier in the year (you know the commercial girls, Lelly Kellys ringing a bell?). Anyway, she was ecstatic about the thing just seeing it on TV. And then there was Miss C, all "Oh Mom you won't believe what we just saw, it's this big slide thing, and you can climb on it, and there is a tunnel, and it's wet, and you get wet, and it looks like so much fun! Can we get one?" And I'm all like, "Oh, I bet it was really cool and I bet it IS EVEN BIGGER THAN OUR ENTIRE BACKYARD!"
Good thing you were a lifeguard for like 6 years and your children have recently learned to swim because you will be killing yourself trying to keep my three children alive on that thing!
Oh, I kid. I am just jealous that I won't be there to play with them. If there is any appropriate time to spoil them it is when they will be away from their parents for more than 2 days for the first time ever and will need some distraction.
So, spoil away. By the way, I am totally not telling them about this. It will be one ginormous surprise! And then, after a week of that, I will have a hard time convincing them that the little blowup pool and sprinkler in our backyard are still fun.
At least they will be known as the coolest Aunt and Uncle EVER. Though, they may want to return it so that my kids don't ask to spend a week at their house EVERY SUMMER for the rest of their childhood. Come to think of it, keep the darn thing. I don't mind my children going to your house for a week every summer!
DISCLAIMER: That is not the price they paid for the thing, they didn't like spend their entire gov'ment rebate or anything. Just a little bargain ebay shopping to provide such a prime tool for spoiling.