MIL purchased plastic toy - Wrong on so many levels! - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-09-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
I hope this doesn't come across as morbid, but I wish someone had pointed this out to me when my kids were babies...

My MIL totally ignored my requests for wooden, creative, beautiful toys or experiences for our kids. she sent plastic, commercialized junk that the kids LOVED but then forgot about fairly quickly. I fretted every holiday, every time she visited with gifts (she lived far away) and every time she spoiled the heck out of my kids with her inconsiderate (towards me and my wishes) generosity (towards them) it drove me a little bit crazy.

My parents, on the other hand, quickly caught on that they had to be pretty careful in navigating my rules about gifts, so as not to annoy me. they started sending cash (or nothing at all, that happened a few times) and the whole gift-giving thing was kind of awkward with them. now they always only send cash, which is very practical, and the kids (8 and 10) are into it, but it isn't exactly thoughtful or memory-inducing...

MIL passed away a little over a year ago, and my children treasure every barbie, every spiderman, every little piece of plastic junk she ever gave them, because she gave it with so much love and affection -- she gave them things that she knew would light up their little faces, and as their grandma she had every right to do that. she fed them M&M's and root beer for snacks when we visited, and introduced my plain yogurt eating child to the glory of pink yogurt!!! she didn't get to see them very often, and I wish I had stayed out of it when she seized the opportunity to spoil them rotten!!

I don't know if you're blessed with an in-law as loving as my MIL was, but I miss her dearly, and would give anything for the kids to get to experience one more of her commercial crap shopping sprees -- yes, she was harming the environment, yes she was using commercialized crap to get closer to her grandkids, but it was really quite beautiful, once I was able to step back and remove my baggage from the equation.

just my .02...
I dont think I could have said this better myself.

My mother is HUGE on buying crap for my kids every time she is out. But is so excited to give it to them, and they just melt all over it. Not only does it make her life sweeter, but thiers too.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
In this case, I would just return it. If she asks, let her know that it was totally inappropriate for a 6 month old, so you got him --blahblahblah-- and how much he loves it.

If you weren't opposed to plastic, I would de-battery it and give it to the girls for pretend play of a construction shop/landscaping business (DD has seen dead trees taken down, and contractors at work, Could be a tool for good.) If questioned, I would say how DS was clearly not old enough for it yet!
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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I think she was meaning it as a gender role toy. Which I could totally see happening. Anything that involves dolls or cleaning = girls. Anything that involves adventuring or intense action (chainsaw, etc) = for boys.
Now I have to chime in. My 2 year old son has his own broom, hand broom, dust pan, is about to get his own vaccum cleaner for his birthday, and his own shopping cart, complete with grocery boxes. (guess I just blew myself in as one of the evil plastic toy mothers) He also has toy trucks, lawn mower, weed wacker, and a couple "babies". My point is, maybe they are intended by the manufactuerers to be gender specific, but not everyone uses them that way.
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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I was ready for a showdown with your level of extreme Krunchiness
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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KweenKrunch, I just wanted to say that you have handled yourself so well throughout this thread. Lots of other people (me included) would have been very defensive by now, kuddos to you.
Especially in light of some of the responses the OP has received, which IMO have been far more judgmental and reactionary than even the initial post. It surprises me that there is such a level of hostility in these issues - why is it that any post that says something contrary to one's beliefs (toys, sleep, birth, pregnancy, etc) illicit responses from folks as if it's a personal affront/judgment on the responder's beliefs? Why does it always have to be so personal on discussion forums and the like? I'm a bit surprised that a bit more grace isn't extended, especially given that the OP was likely both looking for advice and venting a bit.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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I did not read all the posts but if this is the worst thing your MIL has done then you sure have a fabulous one. I think you need to chill out.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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I think it's odd that someone would buy a 6 mo old this type of toy. The website says for ages 3 and up. At least with a child that age you can make a toy like this disappear. Atleast that's what I would do.
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Originally Posted by KweenKrunch View Post
Third of all, we try to be ecologically sensitive in this household, and a chainsaw is not exactly our idea of a "green" toy - not only because it's made of plastic but because it represents deforestation and the destruction of non-renewable resources and loss of animal habitat.
chainsaws aren't always used to get rid of trees. They are used to trim trees and make them safer when they get too many branches on them and become unsafe to property.

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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Haven't read the replies.

I'd let it go. If you hate it, give it away, but I wouldn't make an issue out of it. Plastic/battery toys fall into the annoying but harmless category, IMO.

I know you see it as undermining your parenting, but I doubt your MIL sees it this way. She probably just sees and it and thinks it's cute. (BTW - my kids would probably love that toy!)

For as long as I can remember, my (ex) stepmother gave jewelry to me and my sister for practically every present. My stepmother LOVES jewelry. She's kind of obsessed by it. It has rarely ever been my taste, but I just say thank you and stick it in a drawer. My sister has told her over and over that she doesn't wear jewelry, but still every year it was the same gift. My sister kept getting really angry about it - "Why doesn't she listen to me? Why does she keep giving me a gift she knows I don't want?" etc. But the reality it, people like to give the things that they like. A gift is a gift - you don't get to choose a gift. Say thank you and do what you will with it.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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It surprises me that there is such a level of hostility in these issues - why is it that any post that says something contrary to one's beliefs (toys, sleep, birth, pregnancy, etc) illicit responses from folks as if it's a personal affront/judgment on the responder's beliefs?
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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My sister got the same toy for her ex's kids birthday. She doesn't like him and enjoys irritating him in passive aggressive ways, like buying toys that make loud obnoxious sounds or toys he opposes on some sort of moral ground. HTH
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Maybe a little over-reaction? You did ask our opinion .

Um I totaly get that your angry, I hate when my views are over looked....it happened just today with my husband's family. But at the same time......I am grateful my children are remembered in these little ways. I also try to think about other peoples feelings before I get all offended when they try to make a nice gesture. It's a toy, you know, try not to make it too big of a deal. You don't have to put batteries in it, and you don't even have to tell him it's a chainsaw..let him use his imagination and figure out for himself what he wants it to be....

My kids have gotten lots of gifts in the past that I have been like....ummmmm NO!

An aunt of my husband gave my daughter a Barbie I totally did not want her to have..I kept it hidden away. She eventually found it . I didn't take it away from her. She never knew what it represented to me because I didn't make a big deal out of it. She gradually used her own imagination about it and never once caught on about the whole "Barbie movement". It eventually ended up as toy box fodder like all the other toys that end up being forgotten about. Go figure. I didn't even have to fight her over it. It was just one of things...I guess what I mean is I kind of learned to pick my battles.

 

 

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Old 09-10-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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I understand your concerns about plastics and batteries, etc. But I also agree with the poster who cautioned of cherishing everything your parents and inlaws do for our LOs. We never know when today will be the last. I'd let it go, perhaps mentioning in passing that it wasn't something you'd ideally buy, and he won't be able to use it until he's much older... and then either return it or something. I'm sure in 2-3 years they'll have forgotten all about it
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:28 AM
 
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This is still very raw for me, so I might be totally over reacting myself. But it triggers me that some people are bringing up cherishing parents and IL's gifts not matter what they are. I recently lost my mother very unexpectedly and I do mourn her not being able to give my son toys. But more than that I mourn my son not having his grandmother as a figure in his life.

I do cherish the few toys she was able to give him, and that they are handmade and made with her love makes them even more special to me. I don't know what they will mean to DS when he is older.

I don't even know what bothers me about letting grandparents buy whatever they like because one day they won't be with your child and at least your child will have the gifts they gave them. I guess for me I would prefer the human relationship over the toy - and there are other ways of expressing love other than buying toys.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I am sure there are families who have lost grandparens who do cherish the gifts no matter what they were.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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to the PP. The mosaic of human relationships are made up of many elements. For many, gifts form a part of those elements. They may be handmade, they may be plastic, store-bought. In (usually) close relationships, such as that of a grandparent and grandchild, they come to represent the love, thought and feelings of the giver. When, you (meant in the general sense), as a parent create friction over such gifts/presents, you create tension in these valued human relationships. Especially, as in the OP's situation, the grandparent is 78 years old. It calls for a certain sensitivity to handle these matters and focus on the larger picture.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:40 AM
 
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Although I agree that the OP is overreacting, it does remind me of my ds' second birthday. My former (thank goodness) SIL gave my 2 year old child a remote control Hummer, meant for 12 years old +, that was bigger than he was. When we picked up the remote control for it and accidently pressed the button, the Hummer ran over a few Christmas boxes and into the tree, knocking the entire thing down, then ran over that before we could figure out how to stop it.

We took it out to my parent's farm, where a vehicle that could run as fast as a real vehicle and strong enough to climb was actually more fun and appropriate. The guys still drag the thing outside and run it around during a lot of family gatherings, but my son still can't drive it well. (but at least it isn't dangerous).

The funniest thing?....it took 8 hours to charge it for 30 minutes of play time. So Hummer like. lol

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Old 09-10-2009, 06:37 AM
 
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I would tell her how much your girls are enjoying playing with it

I don't think it's a problem to give "gender role" toys. I just think it's important that both "genders" are represented in the child's toy box, regardless of which genitalia the child possesses.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:35 AM
 
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This is still very raw for me, so I might be totally over reacting myself. But it triggers me that some people are bringing up cherishing parents and IL's gifts not matter what they are. I recently lost my mother very unexpectedly and I do mourn her not being able to give my son toys. But more than that I mourn my son not having his grandmother as a figure in his life.

I do cherish the few toys she was able to give him, and that they are handmade and made with her love makes them even more special to me. I don't know what they will mean to DS when he is older.

I don't even know what bothers me about letting grandparents buy whatever they like because one day they won't be with your child and at least your child will have the gifts they gave them. I guess for me I would prefer the human relationship over the toy - and there are other ways of expressing love other than buying toys.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I am sure there are families who have lost grandparens who do cherish the gifts no matter what they were.
I'm sorry for your loss. I know where you are coming from. My MIL passed away a couple months ago and while she used to get my kids some pretty stupid/crappy gifts over the years, I will miss the fact that she will no longer be able to attend their birthdays and holidays and just come over and eat with us and spend time with our children and our next child will never get to meet her. All those years of her getting on my nerves about just about anything and everything just vanished after watching her suffer in the weeks leading up to her death. And this is a woman that I rarely got along with until the last few years of her life. I miss her for my children's sake.

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Old 09-10-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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This is still very raw for me, so I might be totally over reacting myself. But it triggers me that some people are bringing up cherishing parents and IL's gifts not matter what they are. I recently lost my mother very unexpectedly and I do mourn her not being able to give my son toys. But more than that I mourn my son not having his grandmother as a figure in his life.

I do cherish the few toys she was able to give him, and that they are handmade and made with her love makes them even more special to me. I don't know what they will mean to DS when he is older.

I don't even know what bothers me about letting grandparents buy whatever they like because one day they won't be with your child and at least your child will have the gifts they gave them. I guess for me I would prefer the human relationship over the toy - and there are other ways of expressing love other than buying toys.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I am sure there are families who have lost grandparens who do cherish the gifts no matter what they were.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think that here it's useful to think of the different love languages, not that I've read the book, but for some people, the giving of gifts is how they show love. Certainly there are other ways of showing love but I think that when a person gets to a certain age, indulging their learned or innately preferred love-language is better than trying to improve that person or the relationship. That's really all people are saying.

I think most of us would prefer a grandparent that showed love by taking baby to a nature preserve, for example, and talking to her, or whatever. By reading a story. But those things can be hard for some people for whatever reason.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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This does seem like a weird gift for a 6 month old since it says 3 and up. But of course, I'm sure your MIL thinks all her grandchildren are so advanced that your 6 month old could be out there felling trees.

Maybe this has been suggested somewhere, but if you feel like you can't return it, could you somehow leave it at Grandma's as a special "Grandma's house" plaything?
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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KweenKrunch, I just wanted to say that you have handled yourself so well throughout this thread. Lots of other people (me included) would have been very defensive by now, kuddos to you.
I agree! I have to admit that you have come across as a bit judgmental in some other threads, but after the way you have kept your cool throughout this thread, I see you in a different light and really respect your ability to not get defensive when you obviously feel very passionately about this!

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Old 09-10-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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Based on your OP alone, yes, I think you overreacted. I am guessing, though, that there is probably some history behind your post of which we are unaware.

Honestly? I would donate the toy to a shelter. I think the age inappropriateness strikes me as odd more than anything else.

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Old 09-10-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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OK, if it were me, I'd take the batteries out and give it to my girls to play with!

As for the values represented by the toy: It's a tool. Like all tools, it can be used in ways that are sustainable or ways that are not. Arborists use them and they are helping keep trees disease free. You can harvest trees sustainably or you can clear cut forests. The tool doesn't change what the people wielding it decide to do.

I don't think it's a bad idea for your kids to understand where wood comes from. If your kids play with wood toys, that wood came from a tree. If you live in a house in the US, have wood furniture, wood toys or use paper of any sort, you use wood. Maybe I'm biased because of where we live (major timber industry here), but I want my kids to understand where wood/paper comes from so we can talk about why it's important to reuse and recycle paper.

OK end of digression. I get that it's gendered. That it's plastic. That it's battery powered. That it's not something you want your kids to play. But, it was most likely given from the heart. If you hate it, smile sweetly, say thank you and give it away at the first opportunity. If you take every gift your MIL gives as undermining your parenting, it's going to be a long parenting journey. My MIL buys cheap junk too. It has nothing to do with me or my values. She buys it because 'it was a good deal'. I smile sweetly and put it in the pile of things to donate to the next rummage sale at church.
: I completely agree with this PP who said it all very well and so have several others!

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Old 09-10-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Second of all, we don't do plastic OR batteries - MIL has been told this before and usually respects our wishes, so I have no idea where this came from.

Third of all, we try to be ecologically sensitive in this household, and a chainsaw is not exactly our idea of a "green" toy - not only because it's made of plastic but because it represents deforestation and the destruction of non-renewable resources and loss of animal habitat.
Forgive me but I have the words "Isn't it ironic" running through my mind. I assume that if you don't do plastic or batteries then you do allow wooden toys? You live in a house? You have furniture? You let the kids read books? But at the same time you don't approve of a chainsaw because it represents cutting down trees/loss of animal habitat/etc?

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Old 09-10-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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I would probably just ask them to return it and buy something age appropriate.

Unless this happens frequently, and you have specifically told them no plastic toys, I highly doubt your MIL was trying to undermind your parenting.
I agree on both parts. It's frustrating for you as the parent and I'm sure her intentions were good. If it does happen again, I think you have the right to say something to her - in a non-chalant way - without causing any conflict or awkwardness.

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Old 09-10-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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This is still very raw for me, so I might be totally over reacting myself. But it triggers me that some people are bringing up cherishing parents and IL's gifts not matter what they are. I recently lost my mother very unexpectedly and I do mourn her not being able to give my son toys. But more than that I mourn my son not having his grandmother as a figure in his life.

I do cherish the few toys she was able to give him, and that they are handmade and made with her love makes them even more special to me. I don't know what they will mean to DS when he is older.

I don't even know what bothers me about letting grandparents buy whatever they like because one day they won't be with your child and at least your child will have the gifts they gave them. I guess for me I would prefer the human relationship over the toy - and there are other ways of expressing love other than buying toys.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I am sure there are families who have lost grandparens who do cherish the gifts no matter what they were.
First I am so sorry for your loss

I want to say that in regards to things holding memories I feel this is less true for the adults who had time to spend, grow with and know the person and more for the children who might be much younger. My great grandfather had brain cancer and knew he had a short time when I was about 3 years old, his only wish was for us to have some memories of him after he was gone. I have a vague memory of him taking us with him bowling (my Mom confirmed this memory), but I also have two large stuffed toys that he bought for me, made by a local woman. I have held onto those toys until now, and soon they will go to my DS with stories about my great grandfather. It is a great connection to a man I lost when I was so young who meant a lot to my Mom.

While I am lucky to have nice handmade quality pieces to hand down to my son, sometimes if all a child has is a cheap trinkes it still does not make the connection to the person who passed less tangible. It's not the things, but that connection to the person and how much they cared for you, and using those items to tell stories about the person to pass on their legacy to children who might other wise not remember them.

NAK

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Old 09-10-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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This is still very raw for me, so I might be totally over reacting myself. But it triggers me that some people are bringing up cherishing parents and IL's gifts not matter what they are. I recently lost my mother very unexpectedly and I do mourn her not being able to give my son toys. But more than that I mourn my son not having his grandmother as a figure in his life.

I do cherish the few toys she was able to give him, and that they are handmade and made with her love makes them even more special to me. I don't know what they will mean to DS when he is older.

I don't even know what bothers me about letting grandparents buy whatever they like because one day they won't be with your child and at least your child will have the gifts they gave them. I guess for me I would prefer the human relationship over the toy - and there are other ways of expressing love other than buying toys.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. I am sure there are families who have lost grandparens who do cherish the gifts no matter what they were.
I agree with this. I wish my Mom and Dad were here to give my children any kind of gift no matter how "wrong" I thought it was.

*~Kelly~*
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:46 AM
 
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I am still thinking about this thread, now for a different reason. My 2nd MIL (not the plastic fan) has just been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. And immediatly the last little toy that she gave DS took on a huge new significance. Of course, she is still alive, but yes, the objects can be very important. DS has no concept of this or any other toy being representative of anything from anyone - it's just something else he plays with. In his future he will know which toys were given to him by which people, if that is something he is interested in knowing.

I really do not have any clear thoughts on this - it is so complex. I am trying to sort through it here, so please bear with me.

As a 5 year old I recieved a stuffed lion from a geat aunt dying of cancer. (We were about to move to South Africa, and she thought a lion would be fitting). My mother never would have given me such a toy (synthetic etc) - and yet I loved this little toy as I knew that it was important to this woman to give it to me and it represented feeling special and loved. And my mother did not conviscate it.

So yes, gifts from elderly terminal relatives are important and it is obviously not a parents place to take the gift away from the giver or the receiver.

With my MIL (the plastic fan) I have stuck my head out. I have demanded that my wishes be respected. She is not terminally ill, she is not elderly and she is a large part of our lives. I cannot accept her gifts (which would be never ending) and then just get rid of them - she would see that they are not in use and not even present. That route just would not have been possible for me, and would have resulted in much money being wasted. In my relationship with her it was important to take plastic out of the equation and just make it about respecting my wishes and not attacking my choices - just like I do not attack her food choices, despite being gravely concerned by artificial sweetners and diet products in general.

The choice of playthings for little children is such a controversial thing. When a family chooses something way out of the norm, it being outside the norm (everyone has plastic and it is virtually impossible to avoid plastic 100%) does not make the choice irrelevant. Once again it comes down to so many parametres and individual families.

I can see when a toy might be loved and appreciated regardless of what it is made out of. And in some instances it would be entirely inappropriate to raise the issues. And in other situations it is entirely within the parents domain to raise concern if toy choices are not in line with how they have chosen to raise their family.

The little pull along donkey that was given to DS by my now ill MIL will be cherished. I hope it lasts for a long time - at least longer than the plastic trolley he was given that is already falling apart.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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