One of my twins (16) bought himself an iPod Touch with money he earned last summer. All the kids love it; they're under $200 now; and DSS's 13th birthday is in a week and a half, so DH and I planned to buy him one. We knew he'd be excited about it and were really looking forward to giving it to him.
Earlier this week, DSS told DH he wanted a Touch for his birthday. DH says he acknowledged it, but told DSS he wasn't going to tell him for sure what we were getting for him. We generally make gifts a surprise. I know this is a marked difference from what DSS was used to with his mom. Even now, she may send him photos of unwrapped gifts weeks in advance, to make sure he's excited about visiting her and receiving them. But he has lived with us for 4 and a half years now, so it's not news to him that, A) We keep gifts a surprise, but B) We still usually get the kids what they ask for, if they tell us they want a particular, affordable thing. Last year, he was dying for a Kindle. We didn't definitively tell him in advance that we'd give him one, but that is what we gave him. He was surprised and thrilled.
DSS says he took DH's statement to mean we would not get him a Touch for his birthday. That was not a very reasonable way to take it. But I do understand that he's a kid and he's really excited about this. So I would have understood it, if he'd also told his mom he wanted a Touch, to double his chances of somebody giving him one.
Instead...a while ago, his mom gave him a debit card so when he wants things (last time it was $150 sneakers), she can put money on his card and he can go online and order them for himself without having to involve DH or me in any way. Yesterday morning, DH and I found out he had ordered himself a Touch and had been bragging about it to the twins and the neighborhood kids for a few days, but didn't tell us. To be clear, this is not a birthday gift from his mom. This is simply another expensive impulse buy he made for himself, facilitated by Mom. A week and a half before his birthday.
I feel really upset about this and am struggling to sort out why. How would you react to this?