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No, I am not cool with a $500 Christmas present (LONG and x-posted) - Page 2

post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
I dont' know if this would fit the bill, but we saw a zipline in a toy catalog and thought it looked really neat-do you or somebody near you have land you could use to put one one? They were still in the $100 range, but that is much cheaper than 500, lol, and your older boy could probably try it too. I am picturing your dsd with bird wings zipping down the line....!!!
This would be *perfect* of we had a yard! We live in an apartment building at the moment. But if we do move into a duplex anytime soon (we may move before (if) I start pharmacy school), this will be on the list for the next birthday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemommaof4 View Post
8 is of course old enough to say thank you, but lets not forget the fact that the child did thank the dad (even though he may not have been the one to make the item) and I think thats worthy of mentioning.
Let me clarify (if it matters) - She told DH that she liked it. No thank you involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I sometimes kind of wonder if 50/50 is good in your situation. I know her mom is flighty and often unavailable so it might be the only solution but it seems like she really wants her home base to be with her mom and not divided evenly. She could be venting her displeasure on you for this or she could just be a kid without a fabulous personality.
DH has a complex theory on this one. Because her mom is so wrapped up in her own personal life and unavailable, she is more desirable. DSD is always yearning for that attention. DH is pretty much available whenever at our house, so DSD's needs are met. Her sister told me last weekend (her sister spends a decent amount of time with us and has even hyphenated her last name on FB to include ours) that DSD is like two different people at her different houses. She said that she is much more expressive and emotional here. Granted, it might be because the dynamic is different - she is the baby and pretty much always gets her way there, she is the oldest and the expectations are higher on most things here. But it was interesting to here that, especially because it was completely out of the blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bebe's Mom View Post
I have to chime in here, because I think that it sounds like the 8 yo DSD is probably conflicted about her feelings toward you, the stepmother..maybe because of things she hears from her mother? Maybe she finds it hard to be grateful to you because in a way she is being disloyal to her mother and her mother's feelings?

Besides, what if they got there and she was too scared to go up in the balloon?
She might be. Her mom has referred to me as "Little Miss Goody Two Shoes" before, and has felt threatened by myself or our family. So that might be the original cause of this. I think that things have changed a fair amount recently - amongst parents we are comfortable in our roles - I think. The fact that DSD's mom is now in a combination of my position and DH's position (she moved in with her BF and his kids) a few years back has given her perspective. But the subtle nuances of this might be lost on a kid - when she heard her mom was annoyed with me years ago for something long-forgotten, it may have stuck.

Scared of the balloon after dropping $500 on it? My biggest fear.

It is helpful to hear that most people feel that an 8 yo should be at the point where she thanks people for things. DH makes me think I am crazy. The 3 yo? I'll prompt him. But I get a genuine response. It is different with DSD.
post #22 of 30

Seems like there are two issues worth separating here.  The first is the level of appreciation and its relationship to what gifts we get.  I'm of the unconditional parenting/unconditional love school of thought. Therefore, I try REALLY HARD (though of course I'm not always successful as I'm human) to separate what I give to my kids and partner from the level of appreciation I receive from them for it. I try to do and give things out of my own sense of love and desire to provide something meaningful for them. And if they don't express appreciation the way I want, I try to explain why I want appreciation, the effort I put in and the desire to have it recognized and talk honestly about my feelings. But I try not to change what I do for them and I definitely do not force thanks or anything else that either the other person doesn't feel or doesn't know how to express. I do want my daughter to appreciate what others do for her - and at 11 I still think this is a weak area for her.  I tend to think that it's not that she doesn't appreciate it, but is shy and awkward about knowing how to express it, in particular with people who she has a harder time sorting out the nature of her relationship with (e.g., stepdad, extended step relatives). I try to strike a balance between explaining to her the level of care and work they put into things for her and why she should show or tell them how she feels about what they've done or given; but I try not to force thanks.  I DO spend a lot of time communicating/translating thanks myself to these relatives - e.g., I will tell step-grandma what my daughter thought of the book or how she wore a particular shirt to school, etc.  Just because a kid doesn't express thanks doesn't mean they don't feel it either.  For ex., my daughter is frustrating in her inability/unwillingness to be appreciative, but I've heard her say many times things like "stepgrandma gets me the best clothes because she always picks out x" or whatever.  I think it's a process.

 

So that's a long way of saying that I wouldn't stop giving gifts because you don't get the feedback you want.  I'd focus on figuring out what you want to give and giving from the heart. I imagine it was really nice to see her trick or treat in a cool bird costume knowing how much she loves them.  Kids learn by example and you may see her someday give back more than you could imagine now.  BUT, I think $500 on a half-hour or hour hot air balloon ride is insane! There's no way, unless I were rich, that I'd spend that kind of money on something that's over and done with in an hour.  Especially at an age where it's unlikely to stick with her as this amazing experience.   I like the idea of thinking about alternatives: for ex., where I am there is an adventure course with a zip line - which feels way more like flying than a hot air balloon ride.  But I'd also think of other ideas related to birds.  Maybe a book about airplanes that talks about how humans learned flight and what the mechanics are.  I'm not sure, but I think you have to talk your husband down on this one.  

post #23 of 30

I wanted to add that you may want to point out to your dh that many kids (and it sounds like your dsd is probably one of them) do not really *get* the idea of getting an experience as a gift.  She may be really dissapointed to not really have anything else to open on Christmas morning besides a gift certificate for a balloon ride or other experience rather than a tangible gift. Just thought this might be another argument you could use to talk some sense into dh smile.gif

post #24 of 30

I read you post and just had to comment some things that came to mind. 

 

I think the idea of a hot air balloon ride is not only extravagant, but riding a hot air balloon in the middle of winter? You could of course bundle up. But I see that you have a one year old who you probably don't feel comfortable with going and I personally wouldn't be comfortable with the three year old going either... So it would just be you, DH, and DSD. Not very fair to the other to kiddos. I remember weather really impacting my mood at that age as well. Hot air balloon rides are definitely a summer thing in my mind and I see you live in St. Paul, MN? Eh... I think you have more risk of her hating it than loving it.

 

Why not bring up the idea of taking her to say, Space Camp in Birmingham, AL next summer to DH? I know that there must be a lot of options that I can't think of right now. But most of those that involve flying would need to wait for warmer weather.

 

Also, the fact that she is unappreciative to begin with I think has you upset enough. And after the Halloween costume, why indulge her so much? And if DH really wants to make this special for her, have him take her skiing for a day while you do something special with the other two?

 

I hope that was somewhat helpful! hug.gif

post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemommaof4 View Post

8 is of course old enough to say thank you, but lets not forget the fact that the child did thank the dad (even though he may not have been the one to make the item) and I think thats worthy of mentioning. I dont think it's appropriate to force the issue or the child to directly tell her step mother thank you because in the childs mind the thank you could have been at her comfort level and directed at them both. I think that shouldn't be something a parent or step parent should hold hard feelings over though or be resentful about especially at only 8 years old. I think her behavior is pretty appropriate age wise from what it sounds like from raising my own child at that age.[/quot

I guess, from my pov, the "problem" is the dad, not so much the 8 yo. As you say, she did thank *someone*. And that is the time where dad can say "o, so glad you like it! But yk? I didn't make it, SM did. Remember all your instructions and how she followed them exactly? (O, that part may be overkill, but I would say it to my 7.5 yo ds in a similar situation. Bc I know there is no way that 8 yo really thought her dad made the cosumee. But I'm kinda pushy that way lol). Let's go right noww and tell SM thanks, she'll be so glad to hear how much you like it!" And then dad marches DWsD right over to tell the appropriate person thank you. This is an area where dad needs to step up and enforce manners and consideration, and not take credit for someone elses hard work, lol!


As far as the $500 present? Insa nity. Ridiculousness. Come back and talk to me about presents when you are ready to be serious, is what I would say (uh, I feel like I should emphasize that I am divorced lol. So probs not the person to get marital advice from!)
post #26 of 30
Ok, and I have no idea how I managed to get that all in the quotes. But I'm posting from my phone so there is no chance of me fixing it lol! Smart phones. Need to come with some sort of upgrade for the operator lol
post #27 of 30
Thread Starter 

Well, we solved the problem.  I had this thread going in two places and forgot to update it!  One of the posters on the other thread suggested flying trapeze lessons, I suggested that to DH, and he thought it was a way better idea than a balloon ride. Lessons are still spendy, but they take place over a span of time, so the cost doesn't seem so bad.  The only activity she does right now is Girl Scouts, so it isn't like we are already dropping a lot of money on extracurriculars.   Plus I am pretty sure that we can get family to chip in for something like this.

 

I think she will be okay with getting an experience, because she doesn't get all that excited about things.  The school has a great reputation, and it sounds like the lessons start at a really beginner level.  Maybe she'll even decide that this is an activity that she really likes!

 

I am going to try to mentally cut her some slack this Christmas because it sounds like things at her other house are going downhill fast - apparently her mom is pricing apartments because the relationship with the current guy is not going all that well (they moved in with him six months ago).  I doubt she'll move before spring (people tend to put it off because it really stinks to move in the snow), but things might be a little tense over there, especially over the holiday.

post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post Especially at an age where it's unlikely to stick with her as this amazing experience. 


I took a trip with my grandmother at age 7 and it stuck with me as an amazing experience. What didn't stick with me was the fact it was a one time special thing. Until I was like 16 I thought it was going to happen again and was faintly disappointed that it kept not happening.

 

Which is yet another reason NOT to do a big thing for an 8 year old.

post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post Especially at an age where it's unlikely to stick with her as this amazing experience. 


I took a trip with my grandmother at age 7 and it stuck with me as an amazing experience. What didn't stick with me was the fact it was a one time special thing. Until I was like 16 I thought it was going to happen again and was faintly disappointed that it kept not happening.

 

Which is yet another reason NOT to do a big thing for an 8 year old.


Forum crashing but the lesson I get from your experience is to explain that it is a one time special thing, not that you shouldn't do one time special things with 8 year olds. In a way I lost my mom at the age of 9 (she became very ill and never recovered) and I still remember going to the Nutcracker ballet with her at 7. You never know where you will be in life in 3 years so as long as it is age appropriate and feasible now, do it now. That said, $500 is a lot. The lessons sound like a blast.

post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post Especially at an age where it's unlikely to stick with her as this amazing experience. 


I took a trip with my grandmother at age 7 and it stuck with me as an amazing experience. What didn't stick with me was the fact it was a one time special thing. Until I was like 16 I thought it was going to happen again and was faintly disappointed that it kept not happening.

 

Which is yet another reason NOT to do a big thing for an 8 year old.


Forum crashing but the lesson I get from your experience is to explain that it is a one time special thing, not that you shouldn't do one time special things with 8 year olds. In a way I lost my mom at the age of 9 (she became very ill and never recovered) and I still remember going to the Nutcracker ballet with her at 7. You never know where you will be in life in 3 years so as long as it is age appropriate and feasible now, do it now. That said, $500 is a lot. The lessons sound like a blast.


Oddly, the trip to the ballet at age 6, I did view as a one time thing (we had "box" seats practically on stage!) Yeah, come to think of it, the reason the trip felt like it would be repeated is that we saw relatives all over the country, and I thought we'd see them again some day. (Ironically, I now live only two states away from where most of them were, but I don't know if they're still there at all.)

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