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#1 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am ranting and advice seeking!
So my MIL keeps giving my 2 year old daughter a whole bunch of stuff that she bought in Good Will or yard sales as presents. She wraps these things up and gives them. While I understand that for a lot of people it's acceptable, it is not for me (I am a biggest jermaphobe and am used to nice things). I expressed my opinion about it to her. Well, she stopped giving her used clothes, but she still gives DD toys (as gifts) that she bought for $2 at the yard sale. What hurts my feelings the most is that for Christmas she gave my stepson (16 year old) and my niece $125 worth of presents (brand new with gift receipts). And my daughter got a box full of yard sale junk. She can afford to buy at least 1 nice thing (brand new) for DD. I don't know how to deal with it.
I am not trying to be a snub, but when I was growing up, I was used to having just 1 thing given to me at one time, but it was brand new, good quality, and lasted me forever.
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#2 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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She's your MIL so put it on your husband.

He can be honest with her and tell her, "Listen, it's not you, Mom; it's honeybun. She has issues with pre-used things because they harbor germs, dirt, mold, etc and it's too big of an issue for her to just ignore it. So if you want to buy dd a gift she can keep, please don't get something used since we'll just donate those things anyway."

Then every time after that when dd opens something used, have her put the item in a "special place" and immediately go and wash her hands. That'll get old to your MIL real quick.

Then again, she could just make a game of it with you.

(DISCLAIMER - I'm responding to you as though you truly are germaphobic as you say you are. If you're just picky for nice things and don't want pre-used for whatever other reasons, my answer would be different.)
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#3 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I'm going to play devil's advocate. Does she think that it is better to see the little one open a pile of presents and that one present would be disappointing and she can't afford to buy the pile of presents new? (In that case she could have just cut down and maybe not buy a "big, expensive" present.) She could be a yard-sale junkie (I was before I met DH, then he refused to let me bring "pre-owned" stuff into the house unless I personally knew the former owner or was one person removed.) and sees stuff that she thinks your child would love.

ETA: She could be snubbing you if she bought your stepson and niece something nice and brand new. Did she prefer your husband's first wife? Was his divorce and remarriage to you/your pregnancy close enough that she feels he left previous wife for you--that you broke up his family--or she harbored the belief/hope that they'd get back together even if it had been years? And the niece--her daughter's child, right?
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#4 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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My MIL buys DS things from Goodwill, and while I am ok with Goodwill things, I am VERY picky about what I get from Goodwill and always wash everything first... I also draw the line at toys, and don't let her give DS anything he would put in his mouth... so when she gave him a nasty Whinny the Poo (ugg and I HATE character things) to chew on, I almost died. For real. I had DH talk to her about how we feel.

ETA: My Mom is a severe germaphobe, so when I get something from Goodwill for Ds or myself, I usually have to lie about its origin.

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#5 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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I've got 3 boys - the oldest is 10, the youngest is almost 2. Having had a 2 year old a couple of times already, I bought most of my little guy's presents at garage sales. Two year old's don't care where their presents come from. It's a great way to save money, better for the environment since there isn't all the packaging to deal with and, when he is not interested for more than a day in the new toys, I don't care much because I haven't invested much. Buying from garage sales doesn't mean that things are junk, unless, of course, your mil is not selective at all. It's definitely possible to get junk, but it's also possible to get some very nice things.

I also got a pair of L.L. Bean snowshoes for my 10 year old that were used once from Craig's List. They are awesome and he doesn't have a clue they are second hand. Even if he did, he wouldn't care.

But, I fully admit that I spent way more on my two older kids than I did on the little guy. The two older ones ask for specific things. The two year old doesn't. I think if I were focused on the money aspect of it, they would be too.

I think maybe your mil deserves the benefit of the doubt. Now, if the pattern repeats year after year and she continues to spend more on the other kids, then, maybe I would feel annoyed. But, maybe it's just that older kids and teens are harder to buy for, want and need specific things and she was trying to accomodate that.

I always feel a bit bad when my relatives spend a lot of money on new toys for the kids that never get played with (Leapfrog things for instance). This has happened lots, especially when the kids are small. It seems wasteful in so many ways.
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#6 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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Until I had a child, I didn't realize that it's fairly normal for a lot of people not to go all out for the very little ones because "they don't know the difference" -which is true, they don't. So there could be that. Also, it's a lot harder to find something for a 16 year old at a yard sale where as pretty good quality toys for two year olds are common (they outgrow them so fast and some kids get so many, they're hardly used).

Now, I'll totally admit I am not one for yard sales and Goodwill. I don't mean to be a snob and I know people find great deals, but I am a little freaky about germs, y'know? Logically, I know it doesn't make sense but I didn't grow up with a mom who was thrifty like that so I just am not quite there yet.

Another thing to consider - do these other grandkids have parents who don't buy as much for them as you do for your child? This is something I have noticed in my own family. My brother and SIL don't have as much to spend on their daughter as we do on ours (because we're nearly ten years older) so my mom tends to spend more on their daughter. I get it. Mine has plenty and my mom is trying to even things out. She also gets to spend more time with my daughter whereas my niece spends so much time with her other grandmother. I think my mom is trying to win her over a bit. And I get that, too. She and my daughter have a great realtionship and my kid has plenty of stuff. Is your MIL trying to even things out with the other grandkids in some way?

I agree with everyone else that this is something your husband should take up with her. I would leave out the bit about comparing what the other kids got because even though I totally get what you mean, it will make you sound petty - as if you sat around mentally adding up the cost while people were opening gifts. Have him concentrate on the part about a. either having too many things and not having enough space or b. the two of you being worried about germ exposure.
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#7 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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If the stuff your dd got is in good working order and not missing pieces/falling apart then I think you're over-reacting. Clean it if you're worried about germs. Why would you want someone to spend $125 on things if they could get the same things at the thrift store- as long as all the pieces are there and in working condition? Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. Maybe she spent more for the older kids b/c they are more likely to notice than a small child and she's saving that for when your child is older. Maybe she bought for your kid at the thrift shop b/c at age 2, she isn't likely to care, but at age 16 she may be. I've given my kids and my nieces and nephews toys from the thrift shop. Luckily, none of my family are entitled germophobes, so it's worked out well.
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#8 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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We didn't buy a birthday present for our dd on her 2nd or 3rd birthdays because she was over the moon with a party and a cake with candles.

Has the credit crunch not hit your family or friends yet? 2 year olds have little idea about presents and as a pp said, 16yo kids are harder to buy cheap for - I have a 16yo and a 3yo so I can see that issue clearly.

I'd accept her gifts and wash them if that freaks you out but accept them with good grace.
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#9 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
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#10 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hatteras Gal View Post
If the stuff your dd got is in good working order and not missing pieces/falling apart then I think you're over-reacting. Clean it if you're worried about germs. Why would you want someone to spend $125 on things if they could get the same things at the thrift store- as long as all the pieces are there and in working condition? Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. Maybe she spent more for the older kids b/c they are more likely to notice than a small child and she's saving that for when your child is older. Maybe she bought for your kid at the thrift shop b/c at age 2, she isn't likely to care, but at age 16 she may be. I've given my kids and my nieces and nephews toys from the thrift shop. Luckily, none of my family are entitled germophobes, so it's worked out well.
Yeah, that.
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#11 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
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#12 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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Another one chimiing in, I hope gently, that perhaps since you've not been there yet you don't realize how many times the $$ goes up for teens and older kids just because they're harder to buy for (unless you're lucky and they're bookworms!). Even the clothes are expensive.

I'd ask your husband what DSS got when he was two. I wouldn't assume she was dropping $100+ on him. And why do you keep count anyway? For all you know, she could have picked up that stuff on ebay, craigslist, black friday, ect. So if you KNOW she's a goodwill shopper and bargain biddie (include me in those ranks, at least for my own self/family) then why do you assume she didn't for the other kids?

Are you sure you're not making this into a DSS vs. your kid competition a little bit? Are you afraid that your child is not accepted? If so, you should ask first. You can even have DH (or you IF you two have a good relationship you can talk to MIL) suggest that you'd be happier with a $ limit for now rather than a bunch of different things. I actually would NOT disclose any OCD or genuine phobias to family members who you're not close to. It seems to me that that's only a way that could be used to marginalize you or backfire, unless they are genuinely compassionate folks.

So I dunno. This problem could be all your perception. Or it might not be. I do think that your reaction as stated says that there's something more going on than just keeping score of $$ amounts. (Or if there isn't, then stop doing that, really. It's only going to make you and everyone else around you miserable in the long run, and can be a hard habit to break. I've watched my mom struggle with that for years, and it can really ruin everyone's holiday. ) But I agree, let DH handle it. Or ask him what the history is. DON'T let him blame YOU for asking for a change if that's what needs to happen -- let him pitch the $ limit and ask for ONE thing rather than a ton.
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#13 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
I was coming here to say much the same thing. At 2, the OP's daughter may still be losing or destroying toys. Why not get good used stuff?
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#14 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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I have sole custody of my little granddaughter...We don't have much but I refuse to put holey,smelly and stained up clothes on her..Her bio-mom's family doesn't care about that kind of stuff..They give me bags of broken nasty toys and stained,ripped nasty clothes several times a year and it usually all goes in the dumpster.They don't buy this stuff for her they get it from the free charities.They think I am a snob because I told them I wouldn't send L to daycare in clothes like that.On her birthday in September they got her some used board books(just fine) and some older child readers..The stack of readers were all the same book and there was probably 10 of them..The board books were a series of bambi and thumper..She also got a backyardigans flannel book for babies..Also just fine..Problem was when we left we accidentlly left 2 of the board books,the backyardigan book and one of the older child readers..Guess what she got for Christmas? They rewrapped those books and that is what she got for Christmas..

Now I am used to their strangness.But I even found this tacky.

OP...My little girls family also gifts used things...I also think it is fine as long as it in decent good condition...If it is not and your child is being given junk while the others are given new items I would have your husband take care of it since it is his family doing it..Good luck...These kind of Brewhaahaas are frequent for me as my idea of decent school clothes are different from her bio-mom and families..And I buy most of my childs clothing at Walmart.So I am not picky about children's clothes at all.

GL
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#15 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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With the information shared, I think this seems to be more of a preference issue than a germ issue. Regardless, I would recommend you not say anything to your MIL (nor do I think you should have your SO/DH/DW say something to your MIL), and I suggest you donate any unwanted toys.

I, personally, do not see this as your MIL's issue.
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#16 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mylie View Post
I have sole custody of my little granddaughter...We don't have much but I refuse to put holey,smelly and stained up clothes on her..Her bio-mom's family doesn't care about that kind of stuff..They give me bags of broken nasty toys and stained,ripped nasty clothes several times a year and it usually all goes in the dumpster.They don't buy this stuff for her they get it from the free charities.They think I am a snob because I told them I wouldn't send L to daycare in clothes like that.On her birthday in September they got her some used board books(just fine) and some older child readers..The stack of readers were all the same book and there was probably 10 of them..The board books were a series of bambi and thumper..She also got a backyardigans flannel book for babies..Also just fine..Problem was when we left we accidentlly left 2 of the board books,the backyardigan book and one of the older child readers..Guess what she got for Christmas? They rewrapped those books and that is what she got for Christmas..

Now I am used to their strangness.But I even found this tacky.

OP...My little girls family also gifts used things...I also think it is fine as long as it in decent good condition...If it is not and your child is being given junk while the others are given new items I would have your husband take care of it since it is his family doing it..Good luck...These kind of Brewhaahaas are frequent for me as my idea of decent school clothes are different from her bio-mom and families..And I buy most of my childs clothing at Walmart.So I am not picky about children's clothes at all.

GL
She didn't say smelly, holey, wrecked, or broken. She ONLY said "used".

To the OP, BTW......warehouses where toys are stored before they are sold.....have RATS. So new toys are just as nasty and germy as used toys. They should ALL be cleaned before played with.

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#17 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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maybe she figures that a 2 yr old is more likely to grow out of stuff faster. The older the child the easier it is to buy new stuff that they use for longer period of time.

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#18 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Gifts are GIFTS. And, I'm with a bunch of others- there is a difference between really, truly "unwanted" and "nasty" items and others that were gently used and ended up in second hand shops.

If you don't like them, say "Thank you" then give them to Goodwill.

As for the germs, soap and water, bleach, or a trip through the dishwasher will do it to clean them.
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#19 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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I am curious to why you think that new things wouldnt have grems on them?
People do make them, package them, handle them in some way.

And new clothes are sewn, handled , tried on, etc. That is what washing is for.

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#20 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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I do think that the reason is probably because older children are much harder to please when it comes to gift-giving. Like a PP said, if it continues in years to come, then it could be a personal issue.

I think you should either let it go, or speak to your dh about it.

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#21 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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I am having a hard time seeing how you can be so mad. (and I don't even care for goodwill.). But these were gifts. Gifts are not something, in my opinon, to be picky or ungrateful about. She could have gave your DD nohing at all - and I'm going to guess your DD enjoyed opening them. Now, if something is truly nasty or dangerous, you as a parent can either clean it or get rid of it... But no way is it fair to make comments to your MIL - besides to say thanks.

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#22 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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I am ranting and advice seeking!
So my MIL keeps giving my 2 year old daughter a whole bunch of stuff that she bought in Good Will or yard sales as presents. She wraps these things up and gives them. While I understand that for a lot of people it's acceptable, it is not for me (I am a biggest jermaphobe and am used to nice things). I expressed my opinion about it to her. Well, she stopped giving her used clothes, but she still gives DD toys (as gifts) that she bought for $2 at the yard sale. What hurts my feelings the most is that for Christmas she gave my stepson (16 year old) and my niece $125 worth of presents (brand new with gift receipts). And my daughter got a box full of yard sale junk. She can afford to buy at least 1 nice thing (brand new) for DD. I don't know how to deal with it.
I am not trying to be a snub, but when I was growing up, I was used to having just 1 thing given to me at one time, but it was brand new, good quality, and lasted me forever.
I typed a few different responses but nothing that expressed my feelings for this post (or the others like it) can be said on mdc. I will say that if you can't accept a gift graciously then you shouldn't be accepting gifts at all- not that the gift was for you. It is a given that as your family grows they will not all be like your family of origin and to expect them to do things the same way as you were raised is ridiculous. You don't get to decide what people give you or your children and your post makes you seem ungrateful and poorly mannered. BTW- it is a lot more expensive to shop for older kids and this year we bought my baby nothing and spent the money on the older kids because they care and he doesn't. This will change over the years but our spending for him will not catch up with the older kids for a long long long time.
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#23 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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I think you are being incredibly ungrateful. You don't like what the she bought, so what! Say thank you and donate it back to the Goodwill. There really is no way to nicely say, "MIL the presents you bought dd weren't good enough for me."

Your comments about used items are offensive to those of us who have to or choose to buy our kids clothing and such from the thrift store, garage sale or goodwill. As others stated, this MDC, a community that prides itself on reducing our impact on the earth.

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#24 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
I agree

The bolded part hits close for us. My girls got 2 toys and 2 outfits each for Christmas this year and they were from all from good will. Not everyone can aford to go and spend $50+ a single toy for a child who 1) wont notice, 2) wont care, and 3) will outgrow rather quickly.

Even before DH lost his job we rarely bought new. Its a waist of money. Especially for clothing. I can get a weeks worth of clothing on what it would cost for 1 new outfit at babygap for example.

As long as its in good working order and cleaned there is nothing wrong with it.

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#25 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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I am having a hard time seeing how you can be so mad. (and I don't even care for goodwill.). But these were gifts. Gifts are not something, in my opinon, to be picky or ungrateful about. She could have gave your DD nohing at all - and I'm going to guess your DD enjoyed opening them. Now, if something is truly nasty or dangerous, you as a parent can either clean it or get rid of it... But no way is it fair to make comments to your MIL - besides to say thanks.


Their are a lot of less fortunate families that would have loved to buy gifts for their children but can't afford them, you could donate the gifts to a family in need.

Sam, mum to: Ian, James, Lottie, Maddy, Jack, Ruby, Bronte & Sophia and Nate
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#26 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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The only issue here worth being concerned about is the favoritism and that may not even be the case. When I was growing up my grandmother apparently was always buying things for my cousin and taking her shopping, etc. She gave us very similar things for xmas but throughout the year she would buy things for her and not me very frequently. This bothered my mom but come-to-find-out she did this b/c my cousin's parents were struggling financially and my dad always did well. My overly sensitive mother was not privy to this crucial bit of info b/c they, like most, did not want to broadcast their struggles to everyone. To be quite honest I never EVER noticed this "favoritism". I only know about it b/c my mom STILL talks about it. That may not be the case here but just wanted to throw that out there. You might ask that (when your DD is old enough to care) she give them relatively equal gifts in "public" and if she has any extra expensive gifts or an excessive amount of gifts for a certain grandchild she give the rest in private to spare your DD's feelings.

I dont believe everything should have to be equal among grandchildren. Some kids just develop a special relationship with a certain grandparent that others dont. As long as the favoritism isnt obvious to the other child then I think thats perfectly acceptable.

As for your distaste for used items I, personally, think it will do you much good in the long run to just get over it. I only understand that when it comes to plush things that cannot be washed like stuffed animals. Toys- spray 'em with lysol or wipe them down w/ bleach/water. Clothes- wash on hot with a tad bit of bleach in the water. Always buying new is wasteful, bad for the environment, and economically stupid even if you can afford it. We buy plenty of new things for ourselves and out child but we find great things used. We can afford to never buy a used item if we wanted but we arent that stupid. We are resale/craigslist fanatics. My mother owns a designer resale store. She sells $300 jeans new with tags for 1/3 of the retail cost. I know a lot of people arent into labels at all but it would be insane for those to be thrown away just b/c someone owned them.

Its just a gift. Its extra. Its something you wouldnt have owned otherwise. No one HAS to like it. You just say thanks then keep it or donate it. My MIL is a garage sale fanatic and makes weekly trips to my house to give me things she picked up for DD. Most of it is great and I can put it to use. Anything i dont like or have room for I consign or donate. She knows that and is perfectly okay with it. Somethings I even give back (if I dont have room or have something the same/similar) and she keeps at her house so she will have extra toys/clothes there.

If you truly refuse to own and make use of anything that has already been touched by human hands just smile, say thanks, and donate it (preferably not to the goodwill she shops at.) At least that way you are still recycling it.
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#27 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 09:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
There really is no way to nicely say, "MIL the presents you bought dd weren't good enough for me."


If your daughter is too young to notice and doesn't care if what she plays with, why would you want someone to spend an outrageous amount of money on her? You may be used to "nice", "new" things, but your daughter would probably rather open quite a few gently used things than one really expensive thing.

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#28 of 90 Old 12-26-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I'll be honest -
This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

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#29 of 90 Old 12-27-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I think PPs are being too harsh on the OP. I understand being a germaphobe and there are some things that just can't be cleaned very well (stuffed animals come to mind). It's not like the OP wants her MIL to spend lots of money or anything, OP herself says that she was used to getting just ONE gift. So what, she prefers one nice gift--how many times have people on this board said that they would prefer family members buy their children one nice wooden/handmade/not MIC/what-have-you-toys over several pieces of plastic junk that just breaks? Without knowing (and assigning our personal value judgments) on what was actually given, who are we to say that MIL didn't give a "box of junk" as the OP stated? Anyone who reads the RRR subforum knows there are people out there with relatives who buy all manner of junk at yard sales and foist it upon other people

To the OP, I do think that being "very mad" is an overreaction, but I don't think the sentiment is necessarily wrong. Assuming that your DH agrees with you, I would have him speak to her, since it is her mother. Especially if you think it's really because of favoritism. It's not required that she treat all her grandchildren the same, but if she continues to do so, it's within your rights to remove your child from situations where any unequal treatment is glaringly obvious and hurtful to the child (would only apply at a later age, of course).
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#30 of 90 Old 12-27-2009, 02:35 AM
 
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Ok, you're going to think i suck, but my thought on this is that the 2 year old has a shorter attention span, so more things for that age could be more appropriate ya know.. and it's fun to watch how excited little ones get opening presents. With the older kids, their tastes may be more expensive, and are also harder to buy for.

I love the thrift store, yard sales, and craigslist and imo, you can get much nicer things that way.. instead of buying a bunch of plastic hooey that breaks the first day. At least you know the things that your 2 year old got are durable lol

My mom is the same way you are, she even shruggs at the flea market.. She's starting to see that used "things" arent' all bad, slowly. I bet by the time your 2 yr old starts asking for specific items, she will get them.

If you are really a germaphobe though, I would bring this up, and tell her it's a medical issue; and just having things in your home that are used creates for ex: anxiety issues, panic attacks etc.

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