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Good Lord - FUMING!

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 

Hi moms - I am hoping you can offer me some perspective here.


My son is a bit over 4 months old, and of course we are exclusively nursing.  He is starting to be really interactive and it is so neat to watch.  Unfortunately, my family is not very supportive and it is really hurting me.  I am just not sure how to handle this.  I don't want to be an overprotective "first time mom."  But I also really want to stand my ground and do what's best for my baby.


First of all, it all started out when my parents disapproved that I was going to UP/UC.  They kept asking me if I was really sure that's what I wanted to do, and said they were worried about the safety of my choices.  It was like I was 7 again and they didn't trust me.  Then, once my son was born, they asked to come over to see him during the first week.  We were babymooning for a month and they were very upset that they could not see him for - wow! 30 whole days! eyesroll.gif  They kept telling me that they just wanted a picture and just wanted to see their grandson, which I understand, but it's like they could not understand that we needed our privacy to bond.


Now, I have asked everyone only to bring our son wooden, metal and organic cloth toys.  I really want them to choose things that will last and offer open-ended play opportunities, and that were made with sustainable materials.  I just don't feel comfortable with him touching a bunch of neon plastic stuff that lights up and makes noise!  I also am so afraid of the lead present in cheap toys from the orient.  No matter how much I've said this (I even put it in our birth announcements) I keep getting teddy bears made of synthetic materials, plastic rattles, and outfits made of commercial cotton...even poly blends.  Last week my MIL even brought an ELMO-THEMED MELAMINE DINING SET!


How can I get these people to understand that we're not raising a kid on commercials and soda pop?  How can I stop the influx of cheap, cheesy JUNK!?  I don't want to be ungrateful, but I have really had it with the Babies R Us stuff.

post #2 of 96

It's not going to stop.  Either return it or donate it and move on.  Some people just don't get it and never will.  Definitely suggest and sign them up for catalogs with natural toys, etc...but that's all you can really do.  It's also easier to nix characters before plastic.

post #3 of 96

I'm going to try to say this as gently and with as much support as possible, but I think you need to relax. You will find that most people here generally agree with you about how we feel about the quality of materials we want our children using. The reality in most families is that it just creates too much stress and tension to get so upset about gifts. If someone gives you something you absolutely are never going to use, just return/exchange it or donate it. I know you came to a supportive place to vent, so vent away! I do hope that you aren't speaking to your family with the same tone you seem to be using in your written words, though. Remember that not everyone can afford organic, sustainably created baby items. This is an opportunity for you to educate your family. Or if that isn't going to go anywhere, this is an opportunity for you to learn a lot about what your priorities are not just as a mother, but as a daughter, sister, friend, etc. I know this is difficult. You'll find the balance between standing your ground and being kind to your family too, it just will take some practice and patience!

post #4 of 96
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

I'm going to try to say this as gently and with as much support as possible, but I think you need to relax. You will find that most people here generally agree with you about how we feel about the quality of materials we want our children using. The reality in most families is that it just creates too much stress and tension to get so upset about gifts. If someone gives you something you absolutely are never going to use, just return/exchange it or donate it. I know you came to a supportive place to vent, so vent away! I do hope that you aren't speaking to your family with the same tone you seem to be using in your written words, though. Remember that not everyone can afford organic, sustainably created baby items. This is an opportunity for you to educate your family. Or if that isn't going to go anywhere, this is an opportunity for you to learn a lot about what your priorities are not just as a mother, but as a daughter, sister, friend, etc. I know this is difficult. You'll find the balance between standing your ground and being kind to your family too, it just will take some practice and patience!

I couldn't have said it any better! I was trying to find a gentle way to say the same thing. Beautiful! I especially love the part about learning what your priorities are as a member of your family, not just as a parent.

post #5 of 96

I'm going to try to be gentle, but I really do think you need to ease up on all this. I can really understand your family being upset by being kept from the baby for a month. Don't get me wrong, I am all for bonding, and I myself refused to have family at the births of my children. However, we were open for visits from the start. You can bond with a baby just as well if the occasional family member comes in to coo at him. After all, these are people who love you and your child, and will be a very important part of his life.


I think you need to think about your role as sister, daughter, friend, etc, and see things from an alternative perspective. Much as I love natural toys, I"d be taken aback at something in a birth announcement about such an issue. Birth announcements are to spread the joy about the new baby, not to make statements about your preferences.


As for the toys, smile, take them, and return those that you can, or donate them. I did that with gifts from people who just wouldn't know. For people that visited us and would be hurt, I kept those items aside and made sure they were out occasionally when they came.


There are things more important than principles over toys when we raise children. Their relationships - and ours - with family and friends who love us, will sustain us throughout our lives. Put the melamine Elmo plates in the cupboard, and forget about them. Let grandma feed him off the plate occasionally when she comes. The beauty of her relationship with your son will far outweigh the revulsion that you (quite rightly, imo) feel for the Elmo plate. But grandma is expressing her love, and really, I think that you need to allow her to do it. The last thing you want is a difficult, uncomfortable relationship between your child and his family. Let them love him, and try to see the gifts as tokens of love, not as undesirable items, however hard that might be. ;)

post #6 of 96

imo i think you are pverreacting  30+ years ago when i was  a  baby there  was no such thing as  all that stuff  i think you should be thankful they care enough about your baby to give him gifts just in my opinion

post #7 of 96

I would look at this way:


You can't control them, you can only control yourself and how you react.

And of course, you get to make the choices for your baby and your home.


So, do they have the choice to buy the newest off-gassing plastic gadget for your baby? Unfortunately, yes.

Really, you cannot stop them and will only stress yourself out and take time out of your life.


But at the other side of that is- You in *no way* have to accept it or keep it. You have the total right not to allow it in your home, and not to allow your baby to have it. Does that make sense? But trying to control their actions is going to end with you banging your head against the wall a lot, IMHO.


There is a book that I always hesitate to recommend because here it is "Christian," but it explains it really well. It is called "Boundaries" by Cloud & Townsend. It kind of lays out exactly what you can control (your choices), what you can't control (other people's choices), and lays out what works.


Really, your parents have a choice. They can buy your baby loud plastic toys all they want, if they like to see you refuse them or drop them at GoodWill on the way home. OR they can make the choice to buy your baby simple wooden toys and see you gratefully give them to your baby. If you can just emotionally disengage/detatch and let it be that *simple.*


It's really all in how *you* say it, how calm and matter-of-fact you are, etc. You don't even have to remind them anymore. If they come over and ask "Wheer is that light-up flashy obnoxious thingy that was made in China with lead-based paint?" You can just look at them calmly and say, "Oh, I thought I told you we don't allow those for our Baby. So, would you like to see the latest pictures of her or hold her while I get a snack?" and smile. Change the subject just like that.


The thing that really pushed me over the edge on this and caused me to learn about boundaries and how they work, was my mom. She would take DS and his carseat (which we would install for her in her car) and then not put him in it, and let him ride on her lap. So we said she couldn't take him in a car anymore, after going around on this and her lying and getting caught. So she went and got a carseat and put it in a prominent place in her home, basicly saying that she knew we would 'give in' now that she had a carseat herself. (It was totally irrevelant, because the point in the first place was *not* that she she didn't have access to a carseat, it was that she would take it and then lie and refuse to use it.)

So anyway, it drove me nuts to see it sitting there. Then one day it occurred to me, you know what? She could buy 100 carseats, and have my DS's name engraved on them, and tell everyone in the world what she had done, and even buy stock in carseats. But because she wouldn't use it and we knew that (her choice), she still wasn't taking our DS (our choice). That was our boundary. We calmly enforced it. We didn't need to get upset because the control was ours. We just had to be consistent and firm, and not apologize or over-explain or try to win them over... We just had to smile nicely and say, "No, we have a carseat rule, so he can't ride with anyone who won't follow it. So are you doing this weekend? I heard you were invited to......."

Once we actually had to call the police on her to keep the boundary, because she has mental issues, but for most people it doesn't escalate that far!


And really, be sure and pick your battles. It is pretty easy to drop off some plastic junk at GoodWill for otherwise awesome grandparents, as opposed to them feeding your baby Pepsi when you turn your back, or something, yk? Also, really try to see things from their point of view. I am sure I will be nervous when my baby is having a baby someday, no matter where she chooses to give birth! And honestly, I am sure I will want to see my grandchild before 30 days (regardless of whether I get to or not). Not saying you have to do anything you don't want to do, but if they are otherwise loving and good family, I would really try and overlook some things and try and imagine how they must feel.

post #8 of 96

Honestly, and I mean this gently also, I don't think it is too surprising for grandparents to want to see their grandchild in the first week of life. A whole 30 days *is* a long time. Especially the first 30 days. They change so much, so quickly! I actually feel really sad for your parents that they missed those early days.

post #9 of 96
I agree with Katelove they do change a lot in that first 30 days. About the toys I agree with what everyone else has said you need to let it go so that you can find peace.
post #10 of 96

I agree with the previous posters. Life is too short to get fuming over plastic toys. Let it go. And I hope the grandparents got to see some really good pics/videos of their grandbaby. 30 days is a long time with newborns. I feel rather sorry for them for completely missing out.

post #11 of 96
None of our family "got it," either. I found I had to choose my battles. I went to bat for the things that were critically important to me. I mostly chose health-and-safety issues. Like carseats-- my mom would use them, if I installed it for her, but she was very casual about making sure they were in in correctly, and once I found she'd moved a seat to stepdad's car, and the seat was so loose it moved a foot back and forth when I wiggled it. That was major, so I confronted her, and made SURE she understood exactly what I expected.

I did the same with people smoking around my kids. To me, that was non-negotiable.

But I don't think that it's worth making a huge deal about every issue. As for birthing choices, and choices about feeding, sleep, etc.-- everybody's got an opinion, and I can't stop them expressing it, but I don't have to agree. I listen politely, and say, thank you for your advice but we've made up our minds.

And the toys-- this is the easy time. If you don't like it, donate it. If they'll get offended, keep a box in the basement and stick the stuff in there, so if they ask about it, you can be all oh, it's downstairs. (what I did) The real hard part starts when the kiddos are older, and feel a sense of ownership about their gifts, and feel justifiably angry if they can't keep them. That's when I really found myself re-evaluating what's most important to me.

Grandparents are so important to kids. Those relationships are so valuable, and special, and building and nourishing them means that we have to learn to let a lot of stuff go. I have jangly plastic baby toys as much as anybody here, but I see how much joy my kids and their grandparents take in each other, and it makes me realize that a few talking Elmo toys weren't the end of the world.
post #12 of 96

yeahthat.gif  everything is already said.


Think about how you are acting to your well intentioned family.

No need for one to take the high road, because they choose to live naturally.

I thank the moon and stars everyday that I have people in my life who even care. 

post #13 of 96


 We were baby mooning for a month and they were very upset that they could not see him for - wow! 30 whole days!


Wow this made me sad. 30 days is a long time. We believe in having time to bond as a new family as well, but there are 24 hrs in a day. Having aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents in a child's life is so important. I would have (and did) make sure that family bonding included my close family members as well.


People like buying things for new babies. You can control what is given to your baby now, but as Llyra mentioned, once your baby gets older he is going to have his own opinions about what kinds of toys HE likes. And it may be the cheap plastic Elmo doll from Babies R Us.


My son is a toddler now so I have a bit more perspective on this kind of stuff. But, as my relationship with my son and his extended family has grown and matured, I have found that trying to enforce rigid rules about what people can and can't give him result in hurt feelings. It is more important to me to have family who love my son and enjoy being with him then spending time grading them on how organic and open ended the toys they purchase for him are.


In the end, truly sustainable living for me means shopping at resale and second hand stores anyways, not new organic clothing and toys-and I encourage my family members to do the same. It is cheap and I feel good that toys and clothing gets a second (and third) use.



post #14 of 96

I agree with everyone else.  30 days is a LONG LONG time to not let the grandparents see the baby.  Letting them visit him would not have hurt your bonding.


Life is not perfect, nor will your son's life be, nor will everything he comes into contact with.  It is futile to try to make it perfect, and in the attempt you could cause unintentional harm to his relationships with others.  I would definitely ease way up.  I know and understand the desire to create perfection - I've so been there - but you're really just trading a different imperfection.  Better the imperfect life that includes lots of love and bonding with grandparents.  You will get presents made of plastic, and he will love them.  It's just life.

post #15 of 96


Maybe this isn't the feedback you were expecting to get, but I have to agree with the other replies.

As for your baby moon, I do get it. We asked my overly-eager in laws to wait 2 weeks before visiting. It was mildly offensive to them, but I had to protect our sacred space. As it turns out the birth was traumatic, ended in cesarean, and boy am I glad I had those 2 weeks to recover without having to deal with them! Having said that, I find 30 days to be pretty long, and what were you thinking not even sending them a picture!? That's just excessive if you ask me.

Also, do you not get why people who love you might be concerned about the UC? I have a friend planning one in April, and while I support her choice, I can't say I'm not at all concerned, after seeing my own birth where the baby or I could well have died had we not been in a hospital. Maybe its not about their trust in you, maybe they had just never heard of it before or are, like most people, overly dependent on the medical establishment when it comes to their view of birth. We had planned a home birth with a midwife, and my father was definitely concerned. I just listened to him and assured him this was an educated decision, and left it at that. I knew it wasn't personal, it was just what his background had told him about birth, that's all.

As for the toys,I also find it a tad pushy to put that on the birth announcement. When my family asked what we wanted for Christmas, we mentioned wood toys and I sent some links to places they could order the stuff we wanted online. Well, we did get some good stuff, but we also got plenty of Made in China wood toys with who knows what kind of paint that is already peeling off (!!) Im not sure which is worse- US approved plastic stuff or Chinese wood toys? Anyway, as already mentioned, just donate that stuff, there are way too many kids whose parents can't afford to buy them toys.

I can relate to some of your post- my thing is more with food and pesticides and household products, but I do know where you're coming from. However, there is a point at which it's just easier on everybody to relax a bit and not be so strict. I am still learning this myself. I think both of our kids will be fine with the odd plastic toy or conventionally-grown strawberry ingested, kwim?
post #16 of 96

I agree with P.J. here. I, too, wanted a nice babymoon. I was aiming for 2 weeks. I didn't get it, and there are parts of me that are still sad over that. But 30 days is a long time, and they are family as well-- the baby is related to them, too. I also agree that I would be supportive, but for sure concerned, over an UP, especially for a first baby. And yes, it's a bit pushy for the birth announcement to include your toy preference. That's what registries are for, if you ask me, and you can always donate or return the things you don't want. On that subject though, I wanted to add an anecdote: I, too, only wanted wooden, sustainable, organic toys. However, my inlaws gave my daughter a (used) plastic Leapfrog music table when she was 5 months old. The first time she heard the music that it played, and then when she put together that her interactions with it made the music play, her joy was palpable, it was so great. She clearly adores it, and now at nearly 10 months, she crawls to it, pulls herself up, and plays with it for half an hour. That's a huge amount of time for a baby that age. Had I been very strict about what toys she got to play with, I would have never seen her sheer pleasure in playing with something that interacts with her like that. Let's face it-- there are no wooden music tables out there that play music at the touch of a button or spin of a rattle, etc. And that is something my girlie loves.

post #17 of 96

Balance...With all relationships especially family is important.  I agree with the choose your battle comments. Did you have Grandparents that were involved in your life? Grandparents are very special!  I may not agree with my in-laws and parents over everything....but I give them space to develop their own relationship with my daughter.  They know my core beliefs and seem to respect them.  I have a few things I stand firm on and I have made it clear to them.  I bite my tongue often....you can not control all relationships your son has this will only bring you stress. Enjoy your family! Its good practice when they are teenagers orngbiggrin.gif

post #18 of 96

Yes, you definitely have to pick and choose your battles. For example, I didn't really want clothes that had big animal face on them, I prefer plain clothes without labels or pcitures or things like that. But you know what, people bought me Carters sleepers with giant creepy teddy bears all over it. Big deal. I threw them in the diaper bag and boy was I thankful to have them when I had a blowout incident.


Stick to things which are a REALLY BIG DEAL and don't dwell on the things that aren't. Stick to your guns about breastfeeding and don't let them push you around about that. If you cosleep or choose not to CIO or whatever other general parenting philosophies you have, stick to them. The stuff about only organic cotton clothes, or only safe wooden toys... I'd be flexible. I bought my son some very expensive and lovable wooden toys... that he scoffs at with disdain. Daniel loves cloth toys like cloth books, the Whoosit, or stuffed toys which are much easier to come by (and less expensive) than wood toys. They aren't organic, but if you're worried about plastic that's a good direction to go in. Frankly, kids don't die from occasional use of a plastic toy.


We all compromise as parents. I feel like its part of the deal. I wanted to use only glass bottles, but alas, Daniel has reflux and can only tolerate Dr. Browns. Oh well! The most important thing at the end of the day is to raise a well adjusted child who has compassion and a gentle nature towards others. The KIND of parenting you do is so, so, so much more important than the toys you give him. What kind of example are you showing him about how to deal with people who don't make the same choices if you're fuming over petty things like elmo plates?

post #19 of 96

I get why you hate Elmo - we don't even watch Sesame Street and I hate him (although if you haven't listened to his appearance on "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me," you should).  But I see "Grandma sent a melamine Elmo dining set," and I hear "Grandma was thinking about her grandbaby's age, and wanted to get you some unbreakable dishes in time for them to be useful when you start solids."  If Grandma is completely off-base regarding the timing of introducing solid food, Grandma needs more frequent updates.


Last time MIL visited, she showed up with a car full of plastic crap.  No joke, her first question when she got in the door was did we have a shopping cart we could use to bring all this stuff in.  It was insane.  We thanked her, removed the batteries from the most obnoxious offerings, and let the kids have a good time.  I'm glad we did. I never would have thought I could stand to have a talking, singing, electronic activity table in the house, but I plunked it down in the kitchen, and now I can bake bread without a toddler clinging to my knees.  Also, these things have really helped DD and DS feel connected to her.  She has a hard time traveling and can't visit very often, so this is her way of being in her grandchildren's lives, and it's obviously working.  DD is too young to notice yet, but DS is very aware of which toys came from his daddy's mama, and he treasures them differently because of that.


IMO, a little BRU crap is a small price to pay for the comfort of a loving extended family.

post #20 of 96

Hi Mama,


I can very much empathize with you. After two devastating losses I did everything within my power to have as healthful and natural a pregnancy as possible. After my beautiful girl was born I wanted to continue to make sure she was surrounded only by the best and most natural of baby things. I spent hours upon hours researching everything that came anywhere near her, from her socks and swaddles to her shampoo and diaper cream. I gave clear, emphatic instructions to all friends and family about BPAs, lead, synthetic fabrics and the like. I gave away garbage bags full of barely used hand-me-down clothes and toys because they didn't meet the strict standards I had set and spent a small (my husband would argue not so small) fortune on safe, natural things.


And then one day my SIL and nephew came to visit. My nephew is a dear, little boy with a genetic disorder called Noonan's Syndrome that has some physical characteristics that make him feel a bit shy and self-conscious. He has a deep affinity for babies because they don't see his differences. He was so excited about meeting DD and instantly fell in love with her. A few minutes after they first met, he disappeared into the guest room where he'd left his things and returned with a giant, stuffed dog covered with synthetic fur and looking out at us with big, plastic eyes. My first reaction was one of horror. Immediately I began wondering how quickly I could dispose of the thing and then my nephew explained that he had seen the dog at a store and had been saving up for weeks to buy it for DD. Instantly that ugly thing was transformed in my eyes from a cheap piece of crap to a shining gift of love delivered straight from the heart of a sweet child.


I still do my best to keep the majority of DD's things safe and natural but mingled among her organic cotton onesies you will now find some cute hand-me-downs from dear friends and family and some brightly colored, "My Grandma Loves Me!" t-shirts. Sprinkled among her wood and cloth toys is a plastic ride-on airplane and inflatable penguin that never fails to amuse and in a place of honor, up on the bed she has yet to sleep in (we co-sleep) is that big, old stuffed dog that I keep to remind me that sometimes love comes covered in synthetic fur.

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