Background: Ex, who's non-custodial, sees DD about twice a month. He hasn't given her any birthday or Christmas presents ever, although he has asked me to tell him specifically what to get her (when I gave him a non-specific answer, he just didn't get anything). His new wife gave DD a little present once, when Ex started visitation, though.
The issue: DD turned 2 today, and yesterday he sent her a very short email, just two sentences, excluding the greeting and sign-off (note: it wasn't an ecard). I'm pretty angry about this: DD is just 2, and she can't understand the idea of an email or read it, and he didn't even take the time and effort to buy a birthday card from the grocery store.
I'm thinking of letting him know in a gentle way that a physical card would be more valuable to her. Would that be butting in? Or overly officious? Or come across as snotty? Either way, I'll be printing out the card and reading it to her, so that she'll get at least a little bit out of it.
What do you think about saying anything about the email?
Definitely let him know that a physical card would mean more to her. Be as gentle as you can, but YES, to a child that age, a physical object means a lot. Even if the physical object is a card that he picked out, wrote two words on, and stuffed in an envelope.
I probably wouldn't make a big deal of it. I'd read and show it to dd and then let it go. I'd thank x. Nothing more.
However, next time he asks what she would like, I'd probably just pick the most expensive thing you know she would like (that you can't afford otherwise, but want dd to have) and tell him that! And suggest he get her a card with cats on it (or whatever interests her). And keep all emails where he asks for ideas (because then it can be used to show that he didn't know her well enough to come up with his own ideas....if in the future he tries to claim in front of a judge that he is super dad because he got dd that pony castle (or whatever she wanted)!
And be sure to have dd give him a card or something like that on x's birthday and father's day too (if you don't already) - and scan a copy, send it by fed-ex (trackable). Then if he tries to claim parental alienation in the future, you can demonstrate that you tried to foster the relationship too.