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#1 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had posted a while back about my parents not really going by the list that I give them as far as gifts go for DS for Christmas - they ask for a list and I provide it. I'm really trying to eliminate the amount of plastic toys that he gets, so on his list are wood puzzles, board games, a wooden tool bench set and a set of 200 wood blocks in different shapes.

Again - my mother sends me a picture of a very flimsy, plastic tool bench set made by Home Depot that she saw at TRU. It got poor reviews and was over priced. She liked it because it made a ton of sounds and lite up. While that would be great and I'm sure he'd enjoy it, I would rather find something of better quality that is going to last longer than a month! Then she told me that she got him Legos and a board for him to build on. Again, not on the list and they're plastic.

Do I just get over this and let them get what they want to get for him? I guess I'm just not understanding her reasoning behind all of this. None of this costs any more than the other thing, so money isn't an issue. I'm confused and frustrated and I guess I will do my part in making sure that what he gets is fun and educational, I'd also like to do my part in making sure it's eco-friendly as well.

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#2 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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The short answer is: Take a deep breath and get over it.

The long answer is: Your mom is excited about the things she's finding. She thinks they're cool. She wants to share her joy in these toys with her grandson. So, this isn't about you or your wishes. It's about her and her wishes. The thing about gifts is: they're a GIFT. The giver is free to give what they want.

Now, since it sounds like she's running things by you, I'd suggest that you ask questions about these things -- Start with: "What does this toy do that you think is really cool?" That will give you a sense of what attracts your mom to certain things and might help you tailor future lists. It might also help her reflect as to what kinds of toys she's looking for and why.

If you've got a specific concern, raising it as question might be better: "have you read the reviews? What do you think?" "Did we have electronic toys when we were little? What was it like to have the noises going off a lot? " ("I'm worried I'm going to go crazy with the noise." would be something I'd add, but my family KNOWS I'm sound sensitive.)

Finally, I'm going to disagree about the Legos. Yes, they're plastic, but they are a wonderful, durable, open-ended, creative toy. I'd rather have a high quality toy, regardless of material. Two of my kids' favorite things are: Playmobil (plastic) and Bruder Trucks (plastic). Both have incredible play value.

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#3 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I think you do have to get over it. I've been down this road with my own mom, and what I've found is that you just can't dictate what people give as gifts. I think the only courteous response to any gift is to politely thank the giver, no matter what you've been given. I want my kids to behave that way, when they're given something, so I have to model it.

I know how aggravating it can be, though, especially when they've ASKED you for suggestions.

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#4 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Yeah, I think you just have to get over it. Chances are it won't last for very long, and then you can get rid of it. I might point out the bad reviews, if you think she sent you an email linking it to see what you think - not to just show it to you.

I'm sure your little one will love the legos and lego table -- plastic and all. I wouldn't remind her that they weren't on your wish list b/c it's something she thinks her grandchild will love. That's good enough reason right there.

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#5 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Meh, get over it. And the micromanaging. Life is full of random experiences beyond our control, and it can lead to wonderful surprises. Some of the ickiest stuff people gave us for the kids - stuff that there's no way I would have ever chosen - ended up being their favourites for whatever reason.

Gifting is as much for the giver as for the recipient. Don't take that away from people, especially grandparents.
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#6 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:02 PM
 
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Find a picture of the one you want for your son...send it to her and say: "The one you picked out is nice, but I think this one is muchbetter because it's made of wood and it will last a long time. It might be something he can pass on to his own children someday."

I have to say this often but it always works and later after they see our child working with it, they are glad they bought it.

 

 

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#7 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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If you were really excited for him to get a cool wooden work bench that would last forever then I understand your disappointment. If this was the case I suggest that you don't give your mum any of your best ideas in the future but just try to give her suggestions for toys that you're not too invested in. That way you won't be disappointed and you may be pleasantly surprised. Give him the really cool stuff yourself!
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#8 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
Find a picture of the one you want for your son...send it to her and say: "The one you picked out is nice, but I think this one is muchbetter because it's made of wood and it will last a long time. It might be something he can pass on to his own children someday."

I have to say this often but it always works and later after they see our child working with it, they are glad they bought it.
i like this idea.
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#9 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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Some of the ickiest stuff people gave us for the kids - stuff that there's no way I would have ever chosen - ended up being their favourites for whatever reason.
Yup. I have a relative who always gives the kids stuff that makes me cringe. And, without exception, my kids love it. So, I just bite my tongue, say "thank you", and let the kids enjoy their gifts.

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#10 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:20 PM
 
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Yep, you have to get over it. She gets to choose what gifts she buys.
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#11 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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Legos, while plastic (assuming you don't want anything plastic) are a great toy. Very good for imaginative play. The Home Depot brand tools. If that is what she wants to buy, then I would ask her to make sure that it has lots of individual pieces-again for better imaginative play and each piece doesn't do one thing (like the frickin Handy Manny tool bench! ).

I think that as long as the toys she is choosing to buy allow plenty of diverse play, all is good. My new pet peeve is toys that you can only do one specific thing with...like the Handy Manny ones that K is coveting right now. I just don't see the point in something that doesn't allow many play options.

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#12 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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Meh, get over it. And the micromanaging. Life is full of random experiences beyond our control, and it can lead to wonderful surprises. Some of the ickiest stuff people gave us for the kids - stuff that there's no way I would have ever chosen - ended up being their favourites for whatever reason.

Gifting is as much for the giver as for the recipient. Don't take that away from people, especially grandparents.
This.
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#13 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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Yes, I agree with the other posters that you need to need to "get over it". I love the quote that "gifting is as much for the giver as for the recipient"

And I'd like to add another vote for the lego. It is a wonderful, creative, long lasting toy. In fact my in-laws still have a huge basket of it from when DH was a kid. The legos are over 30 years old and still going strong! And I would like to gently suggest that the OP looks at the toy and the value of it before dismissing it just because its plastic. There are some wonderful, imaginitive plastic toys out there. Just because a toy is made from wood doesn't mean that its taken from a sustainable source, is chemical free or has safe paint on it.
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#14 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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#15 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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Well, there's no harm in asking for specific things, I guess. But once you know that those guidelines are going to be interpreted broadly then frankly, yeah, you get over it. Even though you ARE the parent, you actually don't get to control everyone else around your child. If there's something totally horrible, then just get rid of it later or don't allow it in. Otherwise, shrug it off.

I think maybe what your mom seems to want as far as a "list" goes and what you have interpreted it has are way different. Looks like she is more going with general ideas of stuff, interests, ect--while you come up with specific things and then get annoyed when those specific things aren't given. Understandable miscommunication there. So in the future, when she asks you for the list, keep that in mind, and just outline what DS's interests are, not specific items. It should save you the disappointment when she picks something in the same category but not the specific.

And I totally agree with others--don't give her all the good ideas. You keep the best ideas you come up with for yourself!!! It'd be different if your mom really wanted a specific make and model type of wishlist or your total direction in what she gives. (Some people are like that.) It's obvious your mom is NOT that type of person though.

I think you should first and foremost be realistic when it comes to gift giving by others. You know their pattern, so why beat your head against a wall by thinking that finally they'll change? All that does is make tons of stress and negativity for yourself, while it tends to go right over the head of the person who your ire is directed at (or they enjoy you beating your head against the wall--in which case why give them the satisfaction?).

Don't mention the list. That's kind of rude. And I bet it would be ignored anyway.
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#16 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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I would have probably redirected someone over a light up bench if they asked me.

If she asks for a list why doesn't she pay attention to it? Is she having trouble finding things? Could you maybe list where to find things in addition to what they might like?

You could have some natural toy companies send catalogs to her house.

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#17 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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Yep, you have to get over it. She gets to choose what gifts she buys.
I agree with this 100% the whole idea of buying and giving gifts is that you pick the ones out you want them to have. If someone asks for a suggestion then by all means share that but telling people they cant buy something is actually rude IMO.

 
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#18 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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I do think it is reasonable to have some say in what goes into your house. It isn't someone else's house, it is YOUR house and no, people can't just buy whatever for your kids and have it be ok.

I am an adult and I expect my parents and dh's parents to recognize that I am the parent here. Just doing whatever they want despite my wishes wouldn't be acceptable.

I don't allow certain toys and my ILs and my parents haven't gotten my kids those toys. If they did I would remind them that I don't allow those kind of toys. I wouldn't allow my child to have them.

I wouldn't make legos a hill to die on but it isn't irrational to have certain expectations, particularly when they ASK for a list.

It can be difficult to train the grandparents but it can be done. You just have to pick your battles. I would be ok with legos but NNOOTT the bench.

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#19 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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Find a picture of the one you want for your son...send it to her and say: "The one you picked out is nice, but I think this one is muchbetter because it's made of wood and it will last a long time. It might be something he can pass on to his own children someday."

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#20 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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I do think it is reasonable to have some say in what goes into your house. It isn't someone else's house, it is YOUR house and no, people can't just buy whatever for your kids and have it be ok.

I am an adult and I expect my parents and dh's parents to recognize that I am the parent here. Just doing whatever they want despite my wishes wouldn't be acceptable.

I don't allow certain toys and my ILs and my parents haven't gotten my kids those toys. If they did I would remind them that I don't allow those kind of toys. I wouldn't allow my child to have them.

I wouldn't make legos a hill to die on but it isn't irrational to have certain expectations. I also have rules about clothing, what movies my kid watches and what music she listens to.

It can be difficult to train the grandparents but it can be done. You just have to pick your battles. I would be ok with legos but NNOOTT the bench.
I can see what you are saying. But I could never tell my parents or il's that a gift they picked out was not something I would let my kids have it would hurt them to much. I would accept the gift then in the future it would be in the donated toys pile.

 
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#21 of 89 Old 11-13-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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I can see what you are saying. But I could never tell my parents or il's that a gift they picked out was not something I would let my kids have it would hurt them to much. I would accept the gift then in the future it would be in the donated toys pile.
I would.


They already know what the rules are I don't allow toy guns, I don't allow Bratz, I don't allow insane crap (like light up singing benches ) they haven't ever left the boundaries of what I consider reasonable. We do have a couple light up toys but not what I consider an excess.

And with my sisters we'll just get even with each other so we tend to make an effort with nieces and nephews.

There is a workshop going on for Toys and Family Values

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1137549


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#22 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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I think it's weird when people specifically ASK for a list and then do not follow it. And I dont mean like your list said a stuffed dog & they bought something vastly different like a book, but like it said stuffed dog and they bought a wooden one. That is too much work, give me a list!!

I am definitely picky about plastic toys, toys made in China, etc. If the plastic bench got bad reviews, it is easy to approach it as a, "Mom, dont waste your money, the reviews said it sucked. I would hate to see it cost so much and break in a month. It does look cool, too bad it is not made better."

I do think it is a balance of giving the gift-giver freedom and you not having to allow certain things in your house. If you do not like electronic toys (I dont, so we have only two, one being a keyboard), say that. Explain that although they look cool, they limit a child's imagination and the noise would drive you nuts. The main thing, to me, in your situation, is that your mother asked for a list and then sent you a picture, pretty much asking if that toy was okay. That is way different than if she just showed up w/ it. Since she is asking if the toy is okay, you can say no.

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#23 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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i have had this same problem with my mother a few times.
now that she knows i am serious when i say any toys that contain batteries go to the womens shelter she buys what i like, or includes a gift reciept!

i would just kindly tell her your view on plastic and how plastic toys go off to live a wonderful life with a new family that will allow them in their home.
if she still ignores you then she cant really get upset next visit when they are gone.

maybe point her to a specific toy brand but not a specific toy since it seems like she really wants to pick the gifts herself.
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#24 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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And I don't think it is a matter of "It must be wooden fashioned by magical gnomes with red beards in a purple forest at twilight!!!one11"

There are toy that promote imaginative play, are more sustainable and better made. It is ok to want LESS and have it be a bit nicer than a bunch of junk that costs the same amount anyways.

I certainly don't want to spend a lot of time picking up crap and I am sure a lot of other parents feel the same way.

It is ok to ask for things that might last a bit longer, it is ok to ask for things that match your values and it is ok to direct those that ASK towards those things.

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#25 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 12:41 AM
 
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Yeah. My mom got my DD a ton of light-up, noisy, unimaginative stuff for x-mas last year (she was like, 6 months old), and a set of videos for her one year birthday. I was polite, but she has since asked me what toys she plays the most with & if I have watched the videos, & I have not lied. But in a polite way
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#26 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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I think it's weird when people specifically ASK for a list and then do not follow it.
I do this for registries (weddings, birth ones) and feel like I'm being creative and putting more thought into it...

I always include a gift receipt.
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#27 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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I do this for registries (weddings, birth ones) and feel like I'm being creative and putting more thought into it...

I always include a gift receipt.
I do not think it is a big deal at all if you are giving something different than what is on the list. For example, my grandmother had a wedding registry from someone and was going to buy their spice rack, but saw another one that SHE liked better and went to buy that one instead. My mom stopped her and said that was not the one they picked out, they obviously like the one on THEIR list better. Now, had my grandmother decided to buy them something that was totally not on the list, that is different. To buy a variation of what is on the list is too tricky, imo. Like if they wanted the rainforest bouncy seat but you bought them the rubber ducks one instead. It won't match the rest of their stuff, ykwim? Plus, you didn't ASK for a gift registry, they just gave you one. So, uhh, I don't think you are doing anything "wrong" if that is what you mean

I like to include gift receipts, too, even if I am buying from a list! You never know, sometimes things do not get marked off (dang technology!). Or it could be broken, not fit, etc.

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#28 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 02:17 AM
 
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If the plastic bench got bad reviews, it is easy to approach it as a, "Mom, dont waste your money, the reviews said it sucked. I would hate to see it cost so much and break in a month. It does look cool, too bad it is not made better."
This, for sure. Tactful, yet to the point.

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#29 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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I approach the list another way. My mom does the same thing, always asks for a list... so I give her a LIST of online stores that I wouldn't mind the kids getting things from. I don't care what she chooses off of there. So she gets to pick and choose, and it's always a HAPPY surprise whatever the kids get.

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#30 of 89 Old 11-14-2009, 04:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kaleanani View Post
I approach the list another way. My mom does the same thing, always asks for a list... so I give her a LIST of online stores that I wouldn't mind the kids getting things from. I don't care what she chooses off of there. So she gets to pick and choose, and it's always a HAPPY surprise whatever the kids get.
I think that is a great alternative.

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