Um, I'm sorry....did I bump my head and end up on babycenter or something???? I am absolutely shocked by some of the responses on this thread.
Who the hell here has a right to tell the OP that her desire to keep her kids faces out of screens is stupid?? Because that's basically what you people are saying. "It's stupid, not a hill to die on, let it go" - are you people feeling okay?
I'm sorry, a FIVE YEAR OLD does not need a laptop...and thankyouverymuch but "all the cool games" it comes pre-loaded with, for her to "learn with"...that's like, half the reason I wouldn't want this stupid piece of crap in my house in the first place. My kids are learning with tools, their hands and with guidance from their mama....they do not suckle at the teat of electronic knowledge...they are WAY too young for that. Five is WAY to young for that. It messes with kids visually and is not stimulating their brains in healthy ways for them to be sucked into these computer games....oh, and the glorious part of it...is the ads WITHIN the games that keep pushing "The Next Most Awesome Game" that your kid just HAS to have....it's gross. I've looked into these "learning games" and almost EVERY single one of them contains themes in the way the characters are modeled and the dialogue and voices that they use that I find offensive or inappropriate for my kids.
I don't care if the OP is currently using screen time occasionally -picking a couple of shows that SHE thinks are OK- to try and get through a rough patch...she is the damn MAMA in this situation and she has a right to deviate from her "ideal" from time to time when she's in a difficult place...the fact that she's doing so doesn't mean that it's open season for any and everyone to come in and trash her chosen mode of being with her kids.
These toys are made specifically to suck young kids into the trap of consumerism. The flashy games, catchy tunes and cartoon characters with cult followings are mass marketed for ONE purpose...and that purpose is to hook your kids into the feeding frenzy machine of modern day consumerism. That's it. That's the damn point of it. NONE of these jingly, plastic electronic noise machines are made for your kids true enjoyment!! Do you think big wig executives are sitting up in their offices all rosy cheeked and feeling warm inside because they brought ENJOYMENT to your children? No, they are specifically designing, creating and mass marketing for the PURE purpose of driving profits....they want your kid to love Hello Kitty so that they will go bananas for ALL HK stuff. Geez louise. They are not creating ENJOYMENT.....they are trying to create OBSESSION. There is a difference. One is fun and good for children...the other is very bad for them.
Many, many parents (myself included) try and limit the amount of gifts that are given because it's OUT OF CONTROL how much shit people will load up into their cars and drop off at your house. I
I am MORALLY, philosophically and spiritually opposed to the mindless consumerism, the practical enslavement of the masses of people in other places who have to MAKE this crap and the idea that children need a whole house full of plastic crap to keep them happy.
My kids don't listen to weird electronic music from plastic toys for fun....they hang out with their chickens...make things in the woods...cook things in the kitchen with me. That's not to say I never deviate. If we're sick, David the Gnome is probably coming on. There are some FINE movies and even a few shows out there that I don't mind them watching on a rainy day, after they come in from playing in it and want to get dry drink some cocoa.
But a hunk of plastic, made by desperately poor people in third world living conditions that comes preloaded with offensive, culturally sick games that are meant to "teach" my kids....yeah, HELL NO am I cool with that coming into my house.
This, to me, is not about Hello Kitty. This is not about her ILs wanting to give something to DD that they know will make her happy. They have repeatedly and actively sought to make known their disapproval of the lifestyle the OP and her spouse have chosen for their family. ORDERING CABLE for them?? Are you serious? The OP is not in a war with her ILs....the ILs are JERKS.
1. Thank them for the gift, then tell them it can be the special toy that DD plays with at their house.
2. After Christmas sometime, mention casually to your mother in law that while you appreciate the thought a lot and absolutely adore her for loving your kids so much....it's really important to you that certain gifts not be given to them because they just don't fit with the lifestyle you are trying to lead with the kids right now and the electronic toys just get them too jazzed up and it's tough, especially for her son, to get them quieted and calm after exposure to such toys.
You have a RIGHT to make decisions for your family. The decisions you are trying to make and the things you are trying to create limited exposure too are not weird...they are very understandable and actually based on pretty good science.
Look.....many of you who have known me for a while around here know that I'm often the first person to stand up and say "Humor your childrens grandparents and respect the relationship they form with them" - because I BELIEVE that grandparent relationships are special and that grandparents should enjoy their grandkids....but constantly pushing the issue and bending rules and boundaries that the parents are trying to enforce is not cool.
If this were a skateboard.....a doll, a book that the OP doesn't like...any number of other things, I would say "let it go, she'll grow out of it" - but this specific kind of gift is PARTICULARLY disrespectful, given the nature of the toy and I would have no problem saying it.
For the record, it is well known that my preference is that my children are given only a few small, meaningful or fun gifts. No one on either side of our family has a problem with this and actually, after discussing the whole thing and why we feel the way they do, they applaud our choices and have more fun picking gifts because they are only looking for one, maybe two, special things and aren't breaking the bank every Christmas. On both sides of the family everyone "gets" what we're trying to do and is very cool with it and our kids, as a result, have ended up with some REALLY stellar, awesome toys that they treat well and will be able to pass on to other little children when they grow out of them. Kids don't need much!! Around our house, there are few toys that my kids (3 and 2) actually take care of and cherish, because it's not one thing on a heaping pile of plastic. My three year old could tell you what toys she has...she could actually name them...because she doesn't have too many. She plays with things that actively engage her imagination...and that's not to say she has no plastic toys. There are a couple here and there that are just TOO awesome for playing pretend to pass up. Everyone gets them something that is good for them and age appropriate and then the MAIN focus of the holiday is feasting and being together. My kids have more fun and get more wrapped up in anticipation at the thought of being with everyone and eating all the food and baked good and seeing all of their family than they do with "gift anticipation".
I'm allowed to think consumerism sucks. I'm allowed to want to keep the cancer of needing new flashy things that make obnoxious sounds away from my small children. Five is too young to get them started on that kind of crap. Until my kids are old enough to have an actual, intelligent conversation and decide for themselves if they feel comfortable supporting what basically amounts to the modern day Slaving Industry....they are not going to have this crap around.
I don't like giving toxic toys to my kids, that are made by people who have no choices, no upward mobility and no way to provide their own children with basic medical care and proper nutrition. I'm all set with the blood, sweat and tears of mind bogglingly poor people in far away places tainting my childrens own little spirits and I have a RIGHT to feel that way.
Sorry for the novel and the ranting, but I am surpised, given the way these ILs have repeatedly mocked and challenged the OPs parenting choices, that you people would be all "get over it". Plus, it's not like she's saying "I don't want ANY ORANGE toys...NO ORANGE NO ORANGE" - like some sort of crazy person. She's objecting to something that MANY of the mamas on this site claim to be actively trying to keep away from their young children.
We're not talking about a 13 year old here, we're talking about a five year old. This is a ridiculous situation.