Originally Posted by WC_hapamama
IMO, it is incredibly rude to complain about a gift. Even if it's not an appropriate gift, it's rude to do what you did.
From a very young age, I was taught not to complain about gifts, ever. You thank the giver graciously, and then worry about what you're going to do with it later, not complain, rant, whine or make a scene.
That said, I think it's perfectly acceptable that you don't want your kids to have one of those. In your shoes, I would have quietly thanked your in-laws, and sold the things on craigslist a couple of weeks later.
My FIL and his latest wife ( come to think of it, all of Dh's family!) buy gifts for every holiday and birthday that are not what we would choose. However, the kids love opening the gifts, we all say thank you and the innapropriate ones simply go away, are regifted, donated, or put away in the "rainy day closet" (for when I am about to go crazy and need to pull a rabbit out of my hat). I am gracious to them as an example to my children and also out of respect for my husband.
I could care less if someone else buys my kids gifts, more gifts than me, or a gift I myself was going to purchase for my kids. I'm always the mommy - nothing trumps that!
Your MIL sounds like my mom at times....I think she seriously means well, but seems to have a selective memory about what I approve of and what I don't. I think she gets so wrapped up in what she wants to give her only 2 grandchildren that all else flies out of her brain. Honestly, I don't think she's malicious. Since your DH doesn't say anything, perhaps your MIL doesn't realize how serious you are about what you find appropriate? My parents and inlaws are much different as grandparents then they were as parents. YKWIM?
As for your DH - he needs to handle his mother.
ETA: As for the actual gift itself: Over my dead body would I let my kids have one of those toys. It would be sold or donated....