Were we wrong to tell MIL we don't want moving talking bottle-fed white doll for DD? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 70 Old 12-23-2010, 05:42 PM
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If it were me, I'd have taken it w/ thanks, esp if she lives out of state. Your DD is only 6 mo old--isn't like she's going to tell GM she's never played with the doll. Seriously, if you think GM is crushed, I'd call back and say you've rethought it and it's a lovely gift, DD will love it, blah blah and then stick it in the closet. I'm coming from a BTDT standpoint--my IL's regularly give us crazy stuff that's completely opposite of our world view. Since they're out of state I accept it w/ thanks and either exchange it or get rid of it. shy.gif

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#62 of 70 Old 12-26-2010, 06:04 PM
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Sounds like you worked it out, but I'm still reeling on the concept of a white girl lecturing an elder woman of color on racial sensitivity. If racial sensitivity is really important to you, you might want to spend some time thinking about why you, as a white person, even thought it was your prerogative to go there. (FWIW I am white, my partner is not.)

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#63 of 70 Old 12-27-2010, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi GalateaDunkel --  Maybe I didn't make it clear, but it was my (black) husband who talked to his own mother about the doll being white, not me. I didn't lecture her about anything, although I did personally agree with him. My own concerns about the doll being white were in my post, but I certainly didn't express them to her. (Edited because I read back and realized I didn't mention this).


Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post

Sounds like you worked it out, but I'm still reeling on the concept of a white girl lecturing an elder woman of color on racial sensitivity. If racial sensitivity is really important to you, you might want to spend some time thinking about why you, as a white person, even thought it was your prerogative to go there. (FWIW I am white, my partner is not.)

Sewing, knitting, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering + working mama to baby Zora (born 6/22/10)
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#64 of 70 Old 12-28-2010, 07:06 AM
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Sorry, I haven't yet read all the replies.  What really strikes me is the fact that you don't want her to have a white doll.  Is she not half white?  Can she not be just as proud of her caucasion background?  For example Halle Berry is someone I always chuckled about....she claims to be a proud black woman (and everyone applauds her) she is half white and were she to claim "I am a proud white woman" people would find it scandalous.

I hope your little one grows to be a happy, balanced little girl who appreciates both aspects of her background. 

PAT- photosmile2.gif Mommy to a super little boy kid.gif Tyr -Nov 17, 2006 Married to joy.gif Sky -August 28, 1993 
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011  m/c 6w5d  angel.gif
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#65 of 70 Old 12-28-2010, 08:09 AM
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I think you handled it very well. If was not a gift from a stranger it was a gift from your husbands mother. You should be able to talk to your own parents about those sort of things and set boundaries. How horrible would she have felt if she found out later, say in five years that you prefer natural toys; yet didn't have the courtesy to let her know your preference. Being open and honest is the best policy, especially with family. 

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#66 of 70 Old 12-28-2010, 12:22 PM
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I think that your mother was right.  Baby Alive gives me the creeps and I would not want one with in ten inches of my home, but if it was given as a gift I would have gracefully accepted it.  Pale color and all.


As a black female who has no qualms with being black and would never have failed that stupid doll test, I  see nothing wrong with white dolls.  I had dolls of all colors as a child, and even Barbie.  My parents exposing me to other cultures and ways of life impacted me far more than playing with a white doll ever could. 


Your husband might identify himself as white, but if he has a white Mother and you are Hispanic your child is a creation of many different races, so why can't she play with dolls that reflect each part of her identity.


And as for Baby Alive, I am sure that in a few weeks you could have gifted her to a child who really needed a doll.

Married. Mom to 1. Due 10/12.
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#67 of 70 Old 01-03-2011, 03:59 PM
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I actually think that addressing the toy issue now, while uncomfortable, may be the right choice.  If your MIL is loving and really cares about your child, she won't let this one incident shut her down from continuing to try and find things she thinks your daughter will enjoy.  If you never had this conversation, years from now you may be posting on how you have closets full of crap you don't want your children to play with..but the key is she will not have a clue that she is wasting her money or time on these things.    She doesn't live close, so she isn't going to be having regular observations of the choices you make for your family like your mother does.  While it is unfortunately that her feelings were hurt, and you will definitely have to choose your battles with stuff like this...I think that if you wanted to have a discussion with her about the kinds of toys you want for DD and the kinds you want to avoid and why...earlier is better.  I think that if you have a discussion and she still chooses to give these kinds of gifts in the future, then that is the time to choose not to say anything and either return the gift, donate it, or put it away for use when she is around, etc. as other posters have suggested. Sounds like she is the kind of grandma that it is worth trying to 'educate' her on the choices your family is making and give her the opportunity to learn about more open ended, natural material toys and why they are important.


I can relate as almost no one in our family would understand why a baby alive isn't the greatest gift ever :)  When it is someone that is either not going to understand, be horribly offended and become angry, or isn't likely to gift regularly- I let it go.  They are the people who would never know if we kept the toy or not.  If it is someone who is an active part of our DD's life and will likely be gifting regularly over her life...having those conversations is important to me.  I actually starting when I was pregnant...whenever things came up about buying for the baby I would be sure to include the kinds of ideals we have just to put it out there.  This year before Christmas when people asked what DD wanted for christmas or whenever it was appropriate in a conversation I tried to note things like "oh, I'd love for her to have some plain wooden blocks" or "actually, we don't want to encourage tv watching while she is so young, so we aren't going to have tv character themed things for her, you know, while we can control it".   I hate to waste other people's resources without giving them the benefit of learning that we may in fact return or give away toys that were likely horribly overpriced to begin with!  However, if someone we've had a conversation with gives those things to us anyway (i.e. weapons, inappropriate movie or tv characters, wildy age inappropriate items) I will not feel bad at all about accepting the gift and sending it straight back to Walmart where they got it ;) 


We used amazon.com's wish list for our Christmas and now for birthday ideas for DD.  Not everyone buys from it, but it definitely helped cut down on the amount of electronic plastic stuff DD has received.  I think if anything it helps people to see the kinds of things we like. 

Mama to a beautiful baby girl born 01/21/2010
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#68 of 70 Old 01-05-2011, 08:51 AM
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I don't think you were wrong.  The biggest issue here is that your child is 6-MONTHS-OLD and this doll is for 3+.  She cannot possibly play with it and you shouldn't have to hold onto it for 2+ years before your child is old enough to get it out again.  Tell your MIL she can wait 2 years and then buy her a doll.

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#69 of 70 Old 01-06-2011, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by blake201 View Post
. So we have many wonderful "classic" children's books (which unfortunately rarely feature black characters, except for in The Snowy Day), but also books like "Whose Toes Are Those?", "Black Magic", "Please Baby Please", etc.

Don't forget "Corduroy"! We also love "The Hello Goodbye Window" and "Sweetie Pie and Sourpuss," which both feature an interracial family--also "Five for a Little One," which features an interracial rabbit! 

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#70 of 70 Old 01-06-2011, 02:48 PM
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I understand your problem. We dont do gifts for me or DH because of ideology (anti materialism, consumerism, pro ethical labor standards) So we ask for donations to animal welfare charities and shelters in our name, instead. It took awhile for peoplemto realize we meant it, and didnt want gifts, but eventually they participated. Of course we accepted and thanked whomever gave gifts, but reminded them later than we do charity instead, and why. I think your problem is similar.

My suggestion is to apologize for not being appreciative (even if you dont mean it, it will ease the conversastion) and tell MIL that you truly appreciate the thought. That she bought a caucasion doll is a good thing, build on that. Also mention that the small parts are hazardous. After this, there are 2 good approaches:

1) If you REALLY cannot stand that stuff in your house, which is your right as a parent, next time you see her, talk about your values, and why you do what you do. Around holidays/birthdays, bring up how yoyur values influence what you buy and why this matters so much. If she then buys toys you dont approve of, thank her, return it without a recipt or give it to charity. If she cannot buy things you like, you can have your daughter write up a list of what she wants and innocently share it with her, or ask her to donate to a college fund, investment, gift card. This way you have some control over what comes into your house.

2) Also keep in mind that toys dont have influence over what your daughter thinks,esp if its only one out of 10. She will see babies with bottles IRL anyway! If your MIL is the only one buying this stuff, it wont be a big deal. After all, It IS just a toy, it doesnt have to be a battle. You will never be able to control everything your DD sees, touches, hears and plays with, and would you even want to? if you dont have the space, get rid of it, but if its just because you dont like what it represents, think it through and decide if it truly harmful enough to ban it, only you can choose.

I personally hate junk toys too, but its not worth damaging a relationship over it. If it was me, I would talk to her about my values and steer her towards toys you approve of, but if it doesnt happen I would accept gifts with a smile and not worry about it..

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