"It is impossible to treat a child too well. Children are spoiled by being ignored too much or by harshness, not by kindness. " -Sloan Wilson
The hard part about having just one kid is preventing yourself from spoiling them. I was watching a couple on TV last night that had just one kid, and they had clearly completely spoiled him - and themselves, I noticed. The whole family had a major self-control issue. But the child's room was literally full of toys, many of them still-unopened.
I don't worry we'll buy Maeve too many toys, although the stuffed animals keep multiplying somehow. I worry more that she'll end up believing that she is the Sun around which the rest of us orbit. I mean, that's her natural belief now, but that's a toddler thing. I just don't want it to last.
I know the most natural solution is to make more babies, so that she sees how your time and energy belong to all the kids, not just her, but as that's not in the plans right now, how else do you kindly, gently show your child that they are not the beginning and the end of your life? I do spend time outside the home with my friends, and Maeve knows I'm gone and doing something else. Also, I regularly do things at home that don't involve her, like scrapbooking or reading- sometimes while she's awake.
I'm not so much afraid of giving her too many objects and I am I'll end up giving her too much of myself, so that her expectations are unreasonably high for the rest of the world. She will have to learn that her teacher has twenty kids to look after, not just her little needy self. At least, eventually she will. For right now, she gets to enjoy almost all my attention, because it seems like that's how it should be.