I don't think I will ask for birthday ideas again... - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-09-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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Totally OT--but is it really so awful to give a child a drum (or recorder or harmonica) or fingerpaints? Those seem like normal things for a child to have. And Moon Sand is easy to clean up--it doesn't stick to anything and vacuums right up.
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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I think if this conversation had been between 2 guys, neither guy would have considered it rude.

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Old 11-09-2007, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
I think if this conversation had been between 2 guys, neither guy would have considered it rude.

So?

I'm not a guy.

And if the other woman was a guy, I'd still think, hmm, not the sharpest here with etiquette, is he/she?

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Old 11-09-2007, 12:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
Actually I think the rudeness involved was when the mom specified a single, expensive gift rather than a range of cheap options. Like, if you had asked me about something for my DS, I would have said, "Well he loves Spiderman action figures, matchbox cars, playdough, and art supplies." Simple, easy to find, and inexpensive - the most expensive things on that list are the Spiderman toys which run about $7-8.

Now as for her answering honestly about the bird feeder... I don't find that rude at all. You asked, she answered.
We don't know that the original request was expensive, just that the OP thought it might be. As someone who often struggles to come up with gift ideas for my kids, I can imagine having trouble coming up with a bunch of ideas. And given all the toy recalls, I can understand the impulse to be kind of specific with those requests (though I don't think I'd actually do it unless I knew the person well enough to know they'd prefer it). Its entirely possible that she's just a little socially awkward and not materialistic or greedy.

OP, you have the option to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.

ZM
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rainbowbird View Post
So?

I'm not a guy.

And if the other woman was a guy, I'd still think, hmm, not the sharpest here with etiquette, is he/she?

Absolutely. I'd be offended, too. However, I'm trying to change that (being offended fairly often) by seeing through the eyes of men (or rather, my DH as a rep of men). Gives me a chance to see if something is truly rude. There is someone who I found rude initially and was put off by her . . .I used my guy test, got over it, and now see a lot of great qualities in her.

Anyway, I do agree with your title. Per my DH, if you don't want to know the real answer, don't ask. I get caught up in what I think people SHOULD say (like they have a script) and that creates problems.

I love your birdfeeder idea. I may use it! TY!

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Old 11-09-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I think if this conversation had been between 2 guys, neither guy would have considered it rude.
Ain't that the truth! And guy #1 probably would have gone out and gotten a drum or moon sand because hey, what kid wouldn't want one of those?

OP, I think you have the right idea, just get what you're going to get and let the kid & parents sort it out. I hope they'd be gracious about receiving it even if they're thinking about how they already have one, or whatever.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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I think it was totally rude... but why should she have to aprove the gifts anyhow? And can't the daughter have her very OWN bird feeder?
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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I don't think it was rude. I don't even think Miss Manners would think it was rude b/c you asked. However I do agree that she should have given you a range of options to begin with or said, "Just your presence will be enough". Even if the original gift suggestion wasn't expensive.

What actually would have been rude is if you gave her child the gift and it was handed back to you at the party saying "oh we already have one."
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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But I've learned my lesson--no more asking what the child wants...ever!
I disagree. There was no problem when you initally asked for suggestions about what the child might like- nobody says you HAVE TO buy exactly what the parent suggests.

The only problem arose when you emailed back saying "I couldn't find X, so I bought Y instead. Is that OK?". If you'd only emailed the one time, there wouldn't have been any problems.

And the answer to the first email might have been "DC loves vehicles and art supplies and books but hates cuddly toys" which would have been extremely useful with selecting an appropriate gift!

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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I think that what I find sad is just that the mom was so quick to turn her nose at the gift. The daughter might have loved it!
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I disagree. There was no problem when you initally asked for suggestions about what the child might like- nobody says you HAVE TO buy exactly what the parent suggests.

The only problem arose when you emailed back saying "I couldn't find X, so I bought Y instead. Is that OK?". If you'd only emailed the one time, there wouldn't have been any problems.

And the answer to the first email might have been "DC loves vehicles and art supplies and books but hates cuddly toys" which would have been extremely useful with selecting an appropriate gift!
Well, yeah, I emailed back though because I thought, maybe she thinks I am really going to get it and it was on her daughter's list or something...I was trying to be polite. Too much so, it seems!

And yes, I wish she had given me more general suggestions such as you mentioned. But she didn't. So...

the kid is getting a jumbo Hello Kitty floor puzzle which I bought for 6.99 at Job Lot today!

This whole issue has totally driven me nuts, it has required several trips to the store to get the "right" gift, and I am not even friends with this woman nor is my DS friends with her DD! We are going to the party b/c the whole class was invited and DS wants to go. I wasn't expecting the gift buying to be such a fiasco.

In the past when I have asked for ideas, I've gotten general suggestions which has worked out great.

In the future IF I do ask, I will be sure to clarify that I need more general ideas IF the mom is so clueless as to think I should run around town looking for THE gift...or maybe I'll just keep a stack of jumbo gender-neutral puzzles on hand!
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
We don't know that the original request was expensive, just that the OP thought it might be.

OP, you have the option to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.

ZM
I have no real reason to give her the benefit of the doubt given my past observations and dealings with her.

She's just a ditz, I think. This is the mom who wanted to bring unvaccinated feral kittens to school for show and tell last year (to 3 year olds). I posted about it; some of you might remember.

So ya, know, I'm not really holding her in high esteem these days...
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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I said...to let me know if she already had one etc.

She said, "Well, we have a big birdfeeder in our yard so I don't think she needs one."

How is this rude?

You said to let her know if she had one. She said that yes, that the family did.

That is not rude. That is just appropriaely honest. I highly doubt any manners book would say that there is something wrong with answering the question honestly.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:13 PM
 
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Good luck with the party and your future dealings with her.

The comment about looking at it from a guy's perspective is intriguing. I think oftentimes my MIL thinks I'm rude b/c when asked a question, I respond straightforwardly without realizing that she's asking a "fake" question or using a question as a prompt for me to answer quickly then ask her that very same question. I suspect, based on the responses to this thread, that there are a lot of women who use questions as a way of bonding rather than as a way of information sharing.

/preach on
Another thing that strikes me that someone else mentioned is the vindictiveness expressed by some and the desire to respond to a perceived slight with antipathy. We're adults, folks. Be the graceful one. Take the high road. Behave as you'd like your kids to behave someday. Behave as though your dear sweet grandmother is watching. Don't be mean and vindictive. Turn the other cheek.
/preach off
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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I don't think she was rude to answer your question honestly....
: Are you mad because she was honest, or are you mad that you didn't get the answer you wanted? (sorry, don't mean to be jerkish about it, but you shouldn't ask if you aren't prepared to hear a 'no thanks'; and I think it's rude to criticise her for being truthful). I personally don't think she was rude at all. If you hadn't asked and she just said that, it'd be a different story. Plus, it's not like you can't return it to the store yourself.

I second the motion to try for something that it doesn't matter if she has some or not (like, craft supplies, or playdough or something like that, depending on her age).

I also wanted to tell you that I think a birdfeeder is an AWESOME gift idea. Another one: a little fish bowl with some fish food, a net and a pretty male betta splenden. : They're easy to care for, and it's cheap to throw together the gift.


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Originally Posted by adtake View Post
How about a book on manners for kids....help her avoid her moms behaviors??

: : Please don't do that!! That's shockingly rude!!



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Old 11-09-2007, 08:55 PM
 
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I gotta go with the other mom was not too smooth on the reply, but you did ask. I love the idea of the birdfeeder, but I have a very high strung, spirited, finely tuned, whatever you wanna call it dd1 and I can see where she might not be into an idea like that. She might like that particular one, but she's been known to be less than gracious, especially at age 4 -- she's much better now, but it takes coaching. The mom might just be laying it on the line, especially if the gifts will be opened at the party.

Can you put yourself in her shoes and imagine someone said, "Hey I got your DS a 'thing-he-really-wouldn't-like'. I hope that's all right. Let me know." They asked to be let know and you know he would not like it (and could be less than gracious about it) what are you supposed to do? Not tell the other person and hope your kid says thanks anyway?

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Old 11-09-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I think the issue is that the mom was less than tactful in answering.

The OP did ask if they already had one... the answer was yes.

If I were the other mama, I would have answered honestly - but been super nice about it. Like "Wow, what a great gift idea! And thanks for asking! Unfortunately DD does in fact already have a birdfeeder, though. I really hope you didn't go to too much trouble for it, or maybe you know someone else who wants one? She really loves her birdfeeder but I really don't think she'll need another one" etc.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 11-09-2007, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I gotta go with the other mom was not too smooth on the reply, but you did ask. I love the idea of the birdfeeder, but I have a very high strung, spirited, finely tuned, whatever you wanna call it dd1 and I can see where she might not be into an idea like that. She might like that particular one, but she's been known to be less than gracious, especially at age 4 -- she's much better now, but it takes coaching. The mom might just be laying it on the line, especially if the gifts will be opened at the party.

Can you put yourself in her shoes and imagine someone said, "Hey I got your DS a 'thing-he-really-wouldn't-like'. I hope that's all right. Let me know." They asked to be let know and you know he would not like it (and could be less than gracious about it) what are you supposed to do? Not tell the other person and hope your kid says thanks anyway?
Well, ya know, I don't think it's that she wouldn't like the birdfeeder. They have a big one, as she told me, and they seem very into animals. I think she just wants someone to buy her daughter this other gift.

Yeah, I guess I thought of it as a rhetorical question. Personally if someone told me that bought my child xyz, even if I thought he might not be thrilled, I wouldn't suggest that they get something else. I just wouldn't. I'd accept it graciously. But that's just me.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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You just contradicted yourself. You said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
...I think the issue is that the mom was less than tactful in answering...
...and then you said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
...If I were the other mama, I would have answered honestly....


But, I think your point was....

Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
...but been super nice about it. Like "Wow, what a great gift idea! And thanks for asking! Unfortunately DD does in fact already have a birdfeeder, though. I really hope you didn't go to too much trouble for it, or maybe you know someone else who wants one? She really loves her birdfeeder but I really don't think she'll need another one"...
Ok....the issue might lie in how she said it...but we don't know how she did. We don't know how her tone was or what her words were!! Point is, she answered the question. If someone doesn't want to know the answer, they shouldn't ask the question...right?

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Old 11-09-2007, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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If someone doesn't want to know the answer, they shouldn't ask the question...right?[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE]
That's pretty much what the title of my OP says!
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Good luck with the party and your future dealings with her.

/preach on
Another thing that strikes me that someone else mentioned is the vindictiveness expressed by some and the desire to respond to a perceived slight with antipathy. We're adults, folks. Be the graceful one. Take the high road. Behave as you'd like your kids to behave someday. Behave as though your dear sweet grandmother is watching. Don't be mean and vindictive. Turn the other cheek.
/preach off
I'm 41 years old--probably old enough to be somebody's mother on this thread. I'm not about to do anything other than take the high road. Although I thought the comments about fingerpaints and drums were very amusing!
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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HA! I was thinking a recorder or a drum or something REALLY noisy!!!
Me too!
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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You just contradicted yourself. You said...



...and then you said...




Sorry, don't see the contradiction at all. Are you saying you can't be tactful and honest? I really don't agree.

Quote:
But, I think your point was....



Quote:
Ok....the issue might lie in how she said it...but we don't know how she did. We don't know how her tone was or what her words were!! Point is, she answered the question. If someone doesn't want to know the answer, they shouldn't ask the question...right?
We don't know what tone she intended (it was an email after all) but we do know what she said.

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Originally Posted by Rainbowbird View Post
she said, "Well, we have a big birdfeeder in our yard so I don't think she needs one."
I agree if someone doesn't want the answer to the question, they shouldn't ask, and that might indeed have been the case here. But I was just commenting on the fact that the other mama responded to the question without tact - yes, directly, but without any understanding of the lengths the OP went to try to get a gift for her child, and without any interest in the feelings of the OP reading the answer.

Being direct is not the apex of communication - it's communicating clearly in a way that takes the other person's understanding of your communication into account. Sometimes being direct is the best way to acheive that. Sometimes being indirect is the best way. Often, something in between (like directness softened with an acknowledgement of how the other person feels) is the best way.

Is communicating without any regard for how the other person will experience the message a crime? Seems not. But it's not tactful. And people who are like that won't win too many friends as a result.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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