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We have a very sweet mentally disabled neighbor -- I don't know what exactly is the "matter" with her but she is on public assistance and rides the Senior Bus around town. She loves animals and children and is one of Ina's favorite people. When I'm watering flowers in the front yard, Ina always heads over to Chris's house (right next door) to see if she's home, pet her cat, and "visit" out in the yard with her.<br><br>
The problem is - I know this woman is on a very limited budget. Some months she barely has the money for catfood (for her cats). Yet she always spends money on gifts for Ina. Sometimes she buys them at garage sales or etc., but she is just as likely to buy them full-price at the store, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> To make matters worse, Ina has *plenty* toys, and books, and doesn't really need more (in fact we've a box of them downstairs that we thought we'd alternate with, but she hasn't thought about since we moved them out). Ina's cousin who's a year older says that we have a "library" of books for Ina, she has so many .... KWIM? And, we try to buy toys which are machine washable, durable, easy to clean, not gender-specific, etc. But what the neighbor buys tend more towards "surface wash only," girlie pink things, non-interactive toys, etc. The things we avoid buying for her and try to discourage family/friends from buying.<br><br>
I've tried to tell her a few times that Ina has lots of toys, and that she's very thoughtful but really doesn't need to buy gifts (the response is always, "Oh, but I enjoy it, and she's so special to me!').... I don't want to be harsh with her, and I/we really appreciate the thought, but honestly a lot of these toys are cycling right into the "garage sale at some point" pile because they're not the sort of toys we want for Ina. I've been trying to emphasize how much Ina likes books, because those are the best of what she's given us ....<br><br>
We usually give the neighbor Christmas and Birthday gifts - typically things like fresh fruit baskets, wrapped food for her cats/birds/etc., warm jackets or etc., things we've noticed that she needs .... But I still feel lousy that she's spending money on Ina, and on things which Ina won't use in many cases, anyway. We have also told the neighbor, when she is giving Ina gifts, that truly the gift of the time and concern she shows Ina is the best gift of all. But I think all the polite hints we give, are not working.<br><br>
Any advice out there on how to handle a situation like this?? She is so sweet, and I don't want to hurt her feelings, and I think it's such a blessing that Ina from the time she's been a baby, has been around (and loved by) someone like our neighbor .... And I know she doesn't have a lot of friends necessarily, she's lonely and Ina is a ray of sunshine for her. I don't want to muck that situation up, but I wish she wasn't spending money on Ina which she really probably *needs* for herself.<br><br>
(I should add, I don't think she's doing this because she thinks we're low on cash or anything - it should be pretty obvious given our two relatively new vehicles, etc. that we are doing just fine financially)
 

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I don't think you can really change the situation. She sounds like a lovely person to be in your dd'd life. If your hints are not working I would just graciously accept the gift.
 

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I agree with the other posters about accepting the gifts. If they're not right for your family set them aside and when Christmas rolls around you can donate them to a children's hospital or toy drive for disadvantaged kids. Also, if you still feel guilty, maybe you could invite the neighbor over for dinner or make a few extra meals that she could freeze.<br><br>
One other thing, let Ina give her presents too. It sounds like the woman shows her love through giving. I'm sure she would love pictures from Ina or fresh picked flowers. Let your child set a standard of simple, heartwarming gifts and you may get the same in return.
 

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I agree there isn't a lot you can do. I'd continue to look for ways to help her back - maybe not just waiting for the holidays but baking her a loaf or bread or bringing her supper now and then. Does she have any family or caregivers around that you may be able to clue in to what is happening with her?
 

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My Great Aunt does this to some extent. She does not have much money at all, but for birthdays and Christmas (sometimes Easter or whenever) she'll send a check for $5 or sometimes just send two dollar bills. I think when people have so little monetarily, sometimes it can make them feel good to be able to give something to others--especially if they feel they've received a lot.<br><br>
There isn't anything wrong with the relationship that needs to be fixed. Like above posters said, you can donate them to Father Fred or whoever. I'm sure that your neighbor gets SO MUCH from being able to share something with your daughter, that you storing up the toys for donation is well worth it.<br><br>
You've done what you can and would be expected of you and it hasn't worked, so you can let it be and let it go....<br>
sarah
 

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I think you are fostering a great relationship there between your daughter and neighbor, but I think that I would have to agree with the other PP's and just accept them graciously and if you notice she needs something do it in return (even better if INA gives her the gifts! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">)<br><br>
Does she have a caretaker, someone who helps her manage her money or helps her with other things? You may bring up your concern with them and see if everything is truly alright financially, or if she's buying these gifts out of her spending money.
 

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I would accept the gifts, reqift what you can to people in need. Then give her gifts back. Those months money are tight buy her cats some food. If she is like other people I have known buying/making stuff like cat toys would be really apprieciated.
 

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OK, I'm the oddball. I have an adult child with a mental disability. Sometimes things have to be said straight out (in a kind way). When my dd asks her male cousins if they want to paint nails, they'll kindly say "maybe later or not right now" because they don't want to hurt her feelings. I tell them to just tell her no if they don't want their nails painted otherwise she'll keep asking. They tell her "no", and she goes on about her business.<br><br>
I would, in a kind way, ask your neighbor to not give gifts to Ina. Or ask her instead to give a gift that they can work on together...maybe a puzzle or art project. Maybe they could plant flowers together (with your supervision). Or tell her that Ina has so many toys already that maybe she and Ina could take gifts to a local shelter instead, and explain that those kids really need the gifts. Then offer to take them (Ina and neighbor) to the shelter.<br><br>
I do agree with talking with her case manager/support staff if possible. If none of that works, then I would just accept the gifts.<br><br>
I also agree with helping out when possible and include your neighbor when possible. She might love to help make cookies or bake bread, then take some around to other neighbors as well as bring some home.<br><br>
You are very blessed to have someone so kind and caring living next door. You are also so kind to not judge your neighbor and allow your daughter the wonderful gift of her friendship.
 

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I agree about talking with her family/guardians/case worker if you can. What you do not want is her spending money that she absolutely needs for necessities on presents for your daughter. I think it's worth the risk of offending her if that's the case.<br><br>
Even if it's not the case, from a developmental stand point, she probably does not "get" the subtle hints that you've been dropping. Individuals with developmental delay often are very literal and may not link "Ina has a lot of toys" with your intended infernce of "please don't buy Ina more toys". She's probably just thinking "wow, Ina has a lot of toys." As the pp noted, "not right now" means literally that for her daughter. "No" means "no".<br><br>
You're giving her a lovely, polite, indirect message, which might just be flying over her head. You probably need to be much more direct and concrete. That doesn't mean rude (although many people in our society will interpret it that way), you can do so politely.<br><br>
I would suggest politely saying "Please only buy Ina a present for her birthday. I love having her spend time with you, and that's more important than things. Please only for her birthday, and please do not spend more than $5 on her birthday." Then, if she gives your daugther another present, you can gently 'remind' her of your request (sounds a lot like positive discipline) and give it back to her.
 
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