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#1 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everybody.

My MIL just proudly announced to DH that she got a "Hello Kitty" laptop for christmas for DD. -DD actually says (to her) that she wants one, but I honestly don´t think that she actually knows what this is. She knows only my macbook and announces that she wants to have an "computer with an apple" when she is grown. 

 

There are other things that she wants to have, like a twin doll stroller for her dolls with a roof. Stuff like that. 

 

I totally don´t want her to have cheap plastic electronic rubbish. I will not let her play with it, I will take it away from her (I hope) - but I`ll rather not getting it into our house in the first place. 

They are always doing this, but this cheap rubbish usually has at least a bit of creative possibilities with it, like a plastic piano for DS, or a "Hello Kitty Songbook" (I took it away - sneaky, isn´t it?) 

It´s still weeks till christmas. DH is not known for his abilities to talk straight to his parents. My parents would never buy stuff like this, because I can plainly tell them: Don´t, otherwise it will be donated the day after christmas!  And for whatever reason they actually do accept this - even better, they ask me, what I need for the kids! 

 

What would you do? (my relationship to my inlaws is not the best - bet you guessed that!) 


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#2 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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Honestly, if your daughter did actually ask for the laptop I would let her keep it. As long as a gift is not potentially harmful to my child, such as a weapon or such, I feel that the gift is theirs and not mine to dispose of. Generally I have found that gifts are not an issue that I want to press since there are more important things in life to worry about.
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#3 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 09:39 AM
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Yes. They don't see it as "cheap plastic electronic rubbish." Accept it with grace, let your child use it according to your computer-use rules, and when it breaks simply say, "Well honey that was more of a toy computer--it wasn't made to last forever. But wasn't it a fun first computer to have?"

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#4 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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I can understand your feelings about the present. Actually, my mother who is living with us bought my DD a kids play laptop (semi-educational) because DD was always trying to play with our laptops. My husband and I hate the thing (it is the noisiest, most irritating thing) but DD loves it and pretends she is "working" like Mommy and Daddy. We try to encourage the kind of presents we prefer in our home, and there are things that we would not allow her to have (the jiving singing elmo for example) but once a grandparent buys something for a grandchild, IMO it isn't worth fighting about it if it is something the child would actually like and doesn't actually teach negative values. Hello Kitty is commercial but fairly benign, IMO- but then, we lived in Japan so got used to ubiquitous Hello Kitty everything, everywhere.

 

Some of our friends will occasionally get DD presents that I just don't care for her to have- like a pure plastic dish made in China set of 5 million pieces that was full of choking hazards. That thing got "organized" into the garage.

 

Anyway, good luck!

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#5 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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I am totally in the "accept gifts graciously with thanks" camp, BUT, what if you don't do any screen time in your family?  What would be your take on this particular gift/situation?

 

I was all set to respond with a big "I agree" to the pps, but then I realized that in our house, where we have gone no screen-time (not that we are opposed to screen-time on principle, but that going screen-free has made a huge difference in certain behavioural problems with ds and we aren't ready to re-introduce screen time yet), this gift would pose a substantial problem.  Hmmm... tough one...

 

Even though we strive towards minimalism and try to avoid plastic and tv characters, etc, we have always accepted any gifts with thanks.  A lot of stuff that *I* don't like to see in my house my kids actually love.  It's just not a battle I want to fight.  Moreover I want my kids to learn to be gracious (and thoughtful - on the flip side of gift-choosing).


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#6 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Quote:
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Yes. They don't see it as "cheap plastic electronic rubbish."



Yes, but children also don't see McDonald's as poisonous junk food, do they?  It's our responsibility as parents to monitor what enters our home and impacts our children. 

 

OP - No 5 yr old will benefit from a computer; children at that age require tangible experiences with toys that support their developmental needs.  Children learn through movement, through using their hands, through stimulation of the senses in real world experiences... I would explain to your MIL that while the thought is a lovely one, and certainly in the future a computer will be a valuable asset, at this point you would like your daughter's development to be respected.  Then, suggest other things that your daughter has expressed interest in, which will give her more opportunities for creative, non-judgmemental, and non-electronic play.


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#7 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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1) take it back to exchange for something you like/want/need

2) tell them to keep it at their house (if that's possible)

3)donate it

4) keep it and let her use it.  (i have no idea if it's a working computer or not.. will it access internet? if so, you could have her use it only occasionally or something) 


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#8 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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Let her keep it.  Once she realizes it's not cool like mommy's it'll be trashed by her!  My kids got something like that from DH's mom and though I wanted to throw it through my window out of annoyance my kids realized it was crap within minutes then used it in their spaceship as a their control board.  I think it's somewhere 2 feet under in my yard.  Someday if I ever move someone is gonna really wonder about us when they start digging in our yard. 

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#9 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your input. 

 

The problem is, like pianojazzgirl (funky name!) said, we don´t do screen time. Okay, they do at the moment, due to my pregnancy issues, but usually they don´t. And this is something my inlaws just will not accept at.all. 


(As an example, I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a company that sets up satellite dishes and the informed me that my satellite dish is ready to be installed and when they should come to set it up. I was like ??? You are Who? Doing what? What satellite dish? - After a bit of probing I found out that my FIL ordered this things for us ... knowing perfectly well that we do not want a tv access at this time in our life. That was actually funny in a way. Totally disregarding our choices. We obviously did not get the dish.)

 

I really don´t know what to do, because I try to teach values to my kids like substainability (is this a word?) and stuff, and I actually do have a blog on not using plastic (it´s in german though) and about poisonous plastic stuff (and I HATE cheap plastic electronic, no one is ever going to recycle these things!) - plus I want my children to cherish and love the gifts they get from their family, even from my inlaws. 

Imakcerka, that would be my problem with your approach, I don´t really want them to find that they actually get rubbish from their grandparents. 

 

Plus, but that is probably a personal problem of mine, I see it as a total egoistic act, it´s not about DD, it´s only about their "happy experience" with DD a bit like taking drugs (okay, that might be a bit harsh), it´s only about her unwrapping experience and that they will be able to mention like 40 times a day how "great" their present is. It´s not about what DD needs or really wants, it´s like feeding only colored candy and coke to her, knowing really well that she will suffer for it due to her skin issues and her "spiritness". 

 

It´s not about Hello Kitty as well, I actually do like HK, she is not like a cartoon character for us, since we never watched anything with her, and DD really likes her (and I "used" this, too) but there are soooo many things out there that would be really nice for her. 

 

My MIL is a teacher, she should really know better, shouldn´t she? 

 

I see it as you do it, montessori mama, and I am a bit worried that screens will just sneak in, since DH (adult ADD) might just use anything to keep her and DS quiet...but that´s a different story.

 

Okay, I apologize, this is a bit of a vent, isn´t it? 

 

I do appreciate your input, though! 

 


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#10 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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This would irk me too! I think it really depends on your personality. Some people think it is no big deal- but to me it sounds like your in laws are blatantly disregarding the values you wish to impart to your children. In my opion, it is your child and you should continue to do what you think s best.

Is it a working actual computer or a toy one? HOw old is your dd?

I have uncomfortable situations w- my in laws too- I tend to be stubborn and stick up for my right to choose for my child over theirs, but it doesn't alwyas make everyone think that fondly of me! But I still think it is your right- and especially since you have told them you do not want this kind of thing.

I am not sure how I would handle it though, it is uncomfortable

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#11 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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Draft an email or notes for a phone conversation for your DH to have with his mom. (If it's an email it can be from both of you, but sometimes my mom and MIL don't really pay attention to email, YMMV.)  

 

Thank her profusely for letting you know in advance about the toy. Make it sound like she's being considerate by asking you instead of telling you. Praise her for taking your wishes into account. (Which I know she isn't, but pretend.) 

 

Tell her that you're really touched that she wants to get your DD something so sweet, but that you want to hold off until she's old enough for a real computer. Tell her about the doll stroller and ask her whether she thinks she can find a Hello Kitty one of those. 

 

If you need to, forward this recent, popular article from the New York Times about people at Google who send their kids to Waldorf school, where they don't use computers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html

 

Tell her that you know DD will value anything she buys for her, because  your DD loves her grandma so much. 

 

PROFIT.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

Hi everybody.

My MIL just proudly announced to DH that she got a "Hello Kitty" laptop for christmas for DD. -DD actually says (to her) that she wants one, but I honestly don´t think that she actually knows what this is. She knows only my macbook and announces that she wants to have an "computer with an apple" when she is grown. 

 

There are other things that she wants to have, like a twin doll stroller for her dolls with a roof. Stuff like that. 



 


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#12 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

 

I am a bit worried that screens will just sneak in, since DH (adult ADD) might just use anything to keep her and DS quiet...but that´s a different story.

 

 


 

So you want your children to never have screen time at any age, even though you are currently using screen time to help you get through pregnancy and your DH isn't on the same page at all as you?

 

I think you have really high ideals that aren't realistic, and that keeping them so high, trying to be such a purist, is only making you unhappy.

 

I'd let her have it and have fun with it. Once the new wears off, I'd get rid of it. This is really, really not a hill to die on. Let the grandparents enjoy their grandchild on Christmas day. It isn't going to destroy her brain. Grandparents watching their grandchild smile and be happy and get fussed over isn't like doing drugs. Not even a little bit. People having fun with each other is good thing, not a bad thing.

 

Making war with your in-laws, on the other hand, is a bad thing.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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I'd accept it and then limit your DD's time with it. Maybe you could use it to download music and have her dance to it or something.
I agree that this isn't a hill to die on. I let my in laws and parents spoil DD because they are grandparents! That's their job. Let them have some fun!
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#14 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 12:38 PM
 
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So you want your children to never have screen time at any age, even though you are currently using screen time to help you get through pregnancy and your DH isn't on the same page at all as you?

 

I think you have really high ideals that aren't realistic, and that keeping them so high, trying to be such a purist, is only making you unhappy.

 

I'd let her have it and have fun with it. Once the new wears off, I'd get rid of it. This is really, really not a hill to die on. Let the grandparents enjoy their grandchild on Christmas day. It isn't going to destroy her brain. Grandparents watching their grandchild smile and be happy and get fussed over isn't like doing drugs. Not even a little bit. People having fun with each other is good thing, not a bad thing.

 

Making war with your in-laws, on the other hand, is a bad thing.

 

 


Yes, all this.

I think you are overreacting here, and seem to have a double-standard going on. Your DD wants the laptop, your in-laws want to give it to her, and it is really not as big of a deal as you are making it out to be. It doesn't have to mean she will love the "plastic crap" forever; let her have a good Christmas and be grateful she has grandparents in her life that want to give presents to her. You can reevaluate keeping it or how often she is allowed to use it after the holidays.
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#15 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 01:05 PM
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This sounds like a bit of a cultural thing to me. I'm American and my husband is German. He's SHOCKED, often, by the crap (and, more specifically, by the quantity of crap) my parents give our kids. I'm not a battle fighter, and he isn't going to say anything to my parents (thankfully) so the plastic just finds its way up to the attic. It reappears occasionally when kids are sick, or the weather is awful, as a novelty thing. 

 

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#16 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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It sounds like these in-laws are really disrespectful, and this is one of those last-straw situations where the OP needs some strategies for asserting herself in her role as the mom with the ILs.

 

I don't think it represents unrealistic high ideals to want to decide whether you want a satellite dish. It is funny that the OP's FIL thought that was appropriate! But you know, half the posts in this forum are about trying to get along with family members who don't respect what we're doing as parents. To some extent it doesn't matter what the parenting issue is. You know? I mean, there are people who don't want to give their children any refined sugar and others who want to let their children have total control over what they eat. Those are both valid, if diametrically opposed, parenting perspectives, and both perspectives that relatives will have trouble understanding and respecting. I'm sure there are many other examples, about supervision and sleep and school and... you name it. 

 

I want to develop best practices for parents to maintain warm relationships with the grandparents, keeping them involved while also asserting my right to be expert on parenting my kid. So I don't really care whether the Hello Kitty computer is appropriate or not. To me, it would be a fine present, even if it fell apart, but I can think of other examples that wouldn't be OK with me. 

 

 

 

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(As an example, I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a company that sets up satellite dishes and the informed me that my satellite dish is ready to be installed and when they should come to set it up. I was like ??? You are Who? Doing what? What satellite dish? - After a bit of probing I found out that my FIL ordered this things for us ... knowing perfectly well that we do not want a tv access at this time in our life. That was actually funny in a way. Totally disregarding our choices. We obviously did not get the dish.)

...

 

Plus, but that is probably a personal problem of mine, I see it as a total egoistic act, it´s not about DD, it´s only about their "happy experience" with DD a bit like taking drugs (okay, that might be a bit harsh), it´s only about her unwrapping experience and that they will be able to mention like 40 times a day how "great" their present is. It´s not about what DD needs or really wants, it´s like feeding only colored candy and coke to her, knowing really well that she will suffer for it due to her skin issues and her "spiritness".

 

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So you want your children to never have screen time at any age, even though you are currently using screen time to help you get through pregnancy and your DH isn't on the same page at all as you?

 

I think you have really high ideals that aren't realistic, and that keeping them so high, trying to be such a purist, is only making you unhappy.

 

I'd let her have it and have fun with it. Once the new wears off, I'd get rid of it. This is really, really not a hill to die on. Let the grandparents enjoy their grandchild on Christmas day. 

 



 

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#17 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hey linda, obviously I don´t wanna keep them off screen until they leave home, I guess that would be rather difficult, but she is 5! and they are having screen time because three different types of child care providers (like emergency ones sent by my health insurance company) refused looking after them because they are too active (and screen time makes that behavior worse - that´s the reason for not letting them have a lot of it in the first place), so I need to keep them calm the two ( to four) hours until daddy comes home from work without getting this helpers involved, so that we get at least something to eat for dinner. (they are supposed to do light housework and look after the kiddos) - so I am using the screen for like an hour, because otherwise bad things would happen. DH calls it survival mode, and I don´t think that this is the same as a double standard. Plus, they are only allowed to watch very, very carefully chosen videos or watch language building songs  on britishcouncil, which they love.

 

and - that might be a bit difficult to understand, it is for me, too - my DH is totally on my side, he doesn´t want them to be in front of a screen, but he gets overwhelmed and than kind of just gives in to whining, because it gives him a bit of peace of mind ykwm? Afterwards he would tell me that the kids have to much screen time and we really have to change this .. shrug.gif We have these issues with sweets at the moment, he complains about them having to many sweets (which makes them hyper) but 5 min later he will just give them a bag of candy to stop the whining. I think it´s the ADD - I am not sure. 

 

Maybe I am just overreacting, this HK laptop (it´s actually a toy, not a real laptop, just a couple of games on it - I don´t know if they are educational) is kind of lurking around the last month, and it was my nightmare that my inlaws would just get this thing. And now it´s coming true ... 

 

and just to be clear, I don´t really think that DD wants it like she wants the stroller or the car seat for her dolls. She never mentions it if her grandparents are not around, and they are rarely around, they live pretty far away and my DH works all the time, so they are visiting every 3 - 4 month. 

She even mentions the pony that she wants more often, and MY MOM actually offered to get her one, but hopefully I got that out of my mom´s head. What would you do than, though? Graciously accept?

 

I think it´s more a game thing between granny and her, which would be fine if they would take the thing with them when they leave. 

 

I dunno, but I feel the urge to protect them from this kind of stuff. I would never buy anything for a child that the parents would not approve, especially if I would know it. I think, it´s just rude. Maybe I am overly sensitive (probably the hormones eyesroll.gif

 

 


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#18 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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OP you can't control everyone who wants to be in your little families life.  Eventually they'll feel overwhelmed by all the restrictions.  The only thing I asked DH's family to not do is send too much candy in they holiday boxes.  They get a box from IL's for every holiday.  Usually a shirt and some items for their hair as well as one or two treats.  Before it was all junk food and the girls just didn't eat it.  They weren't used to sweets and didn't like them.  The IL's stopped with the junk and sent things that were useful.  The girls only cared about being thought of, they didn't notice a change in their gift box.  My mother has always sent the most thoughtful gift boxes on her own.  No direction needed.  The girls get useful items, new paint brushes with interesting handles, reems of paper and maybe a little painting grandpa did for them. 

 

The laptop actually can be considered useful,  if this is the laptop I'm thinking about it's already loaded with interesting games for her to learn with.  It's not colorful and they are rather fun.  I would stop being so upset with them though, you're not doing you or your child any favors and division for no other reason than just to be divided is not worth it.  You may feel they are not respecting your lifestyle... but you're telling them theirs is all wrong. 

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#19 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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Sounds harmless and not a battle I'd want to fight.

 

I'm a teacher and an Early Childhood Education Specialist. I'm not a big fan of electronics for preschoolers and never had them in my classrooms (other than a computer for project work) or at home. DS got his Leapfrog Explorer when he was 6 1/2. DD will be five in February and will be getting a Explorer Leappad for Christmas. I'm fine with some technology use at age five.

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#20 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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DS has a Batman toy laptop, which is probably like the Hello Kitty one your IL's bought, and he was so happy when my MIL gave it to him for Christmas one year (I think he was 4). But, it's just a toy, and like most of the other toys that light up or make noise, they eventually get bored with it. I don't remember the last time it actually had batteries in it. I just can't imagine making a scene over it and hurting anyone's feelings (not that it bothered me in the least when he got it - it made him happy which made me happy).

But then, I'd be fine with a real laptop now that he's 6, b/c it could be a great, fun tool - and I know he would still love to ride his bike and play kick ball with his siblings all the same. Screen time and technology are not always bad things, IMO.

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#21 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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Quote:
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hey linda, obviously I don´t wanna keep them off screen until they leave home, I guess that would be rather difficult, but she is 5! and they are having screen time because three different types of child care providers.... - so I am using the screen for like an hour, because otherwise bad things would happen. DH calls it survival mode, and I don´t think that this is the same as a double standard. ....

 

and - that might be a bit difficult to understand, it is for me, too - my DH is totally on my side, he doesn´t want them to be in front of a screen, but he gets overwhelmed and than kind of just gives in to whining, because it gives him a bit of peace of mind ykwm?

 

 


I'm sorry things are tough are your house right now and I hope they calm down soon. goodvibes.gif

 

I think it's really normal for parents to use minimal screen time to get through difficult things. I know I did when my kids were young.

 

I think that what makes it a double standard is to say that the toy is unacceptable because you guys are screen free when you aren't screen free. It's not the screen time that I think is the actual problem, but that you are trying too hard to be perfect.  I think you could relax about this just a little and things we still be fine.

 

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#22 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 04:27 PM
 
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A PONY!?!

 

Where do your parents and ILs live? Are they all in the area? Maybe if they want to give to your family so generously, they could help out with childcare during this pregnancy? It sounds to me like they are offering your children all these expensive, impractical things. 

 

Everyone on here who is answering the question, "what would you do about the Hello Kitty laptop?" is missing the point. I would allow my MIL to give my son a Hello Kitty laptop. (I mean, if she would do that. My MIL is an early childhood purist who used to complain if the grandchildren used markers instead of crayons, so a pink plastic toy that lights up wasn't something we were in danger of getting.)

 

The broader issue is, how to have a good relationship with the children's grandparents when they seem hellbent on giving your family crazy things, like candy and coke for a five-year-old and a satellite dish and a pony, and oh, yeah, a pink plastic Hello Kitty laptop. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

She even mentions the pony that she wants more often, and MY MOM actually offered to get her one, but hopefully I got that out of my mom´s head. What would you do than, though? Graciously accept?



 


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#23 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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I want the pony... can I have your mom?  PUHLEASE?!

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#24 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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No kidding.  I think you're over-reacting.  Your DD wants a toy and they're buying it for her.  It sounds like she's a lucky kid with grandparents who act like grandparents.


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#25 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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I don't see grandparents that want to be generous as a huge problem.

Being excited to see the look on their grandchildren's face when they open the present isn't evil, it's confirming the idea it is better to give than to receive.

I don't read this as a case of the grandparents trying to manipulate the family into anything. What is their intent? To give a gift the child wants. What should the response be: Wow, cool - thanks Grandma & Grandpa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#26 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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But the OP specifically told the grandparents that she does not want these kinds of toys and they disregarded her wishes.

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#27 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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You are right, and grandparents will always find a way to do that!  Seriously this won't be the only battle.  My grandad knew I wasn't supposed to eat packaged foods or soda and he would give me hostess cupcakes and coke when I went to the docks with him.  I kept that secret and it's a great memory.
 

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But the OP specifically told the grandparents that she does not want these kinds of toys and they disregarded her wishes.



 

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#28 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

You are right, and grandparents will always find a way to do that!  Seriously this won't be the only battle.  My grandad knew I wasn't supposed to eat packaged foods or soda and he would give me hostess cupcakes and coke when I went to the docks with him.  I kept that secret and it's a great memory.
 



 



You mean it didn't ruin you for life?  And relationships with grandparents and IL's are more important than being annoyed with plastic stuff and junk food? 

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#29 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

But the OP specifically told the grandparents that she does not want these kinds of toys and they disregarded her wishes.



I didn't feed my kids meat when they were young (I'm a vegetarian), but my parents took great joy in feeding them salami (and watching them gobble it up). 

 

It really bugged me for a while.  But... when I managed to separate my own baggage with my parents from their relationship with my kids, I was able to let a lot more go. Ya, I didn't love them eating salami (and you can bet your bottom dollar it wasn't organic!) but in the end... no big deal. 

I love my grandmother, and I want my kids to have those kinds of nice memories with their grandparents, without me interfering. 


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#30 of 78 Old 11-01-2011, 08:16 PM
 
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I think you need to check with them to be sure the Hello Kitty laptop isn't a real laptop computer before you make a final decision about this.  Dell has an option for customizing actual laptops with a Hello Kitty top and an actual laptop computer is not a cheap piece of plastic.  It may be one of those toy computers, like the Barbie one, but when I did a google search no toy laptops came up with Hello Kitty so I really encourage you to look into this more.  Even if you don't want her to use a computer much now, in a few years you probably will so I think you should just accept it and keep it.  I personally was fine with my dd playing on the computer for limited amounts of time when she was little.  Now that she is older she uses it to keep in touch with family more frequently, type lists, practice spelling words, and do research on topics that interest her.  To me, and possibly to your inlaws, a laptop isn't junk.

 

If it is a Hello Kitty computer it might also have a use.  My dd didn't use her Barbie one much after getting it because it was too difficult, but when she was a little older I was glad I saved it because the math and spelling games were very fun ways to get her to learn her  number facts (something she hated doing).  There were also some fun music games on there that she loves to play with still because she can create her music then hear it played back for her.

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