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Old 01-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #1
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What would you do?

I felt like a genius this year after I had convinced both sets of grandparents to buy a family membership for the kids for Christmas, one for the zoo and one for the science center. It really cut back on the crud we got for Christmas (although my grandma will NEVER change... Sigh).

Now we are facing two months in a row with birthdays, and my mom is asking "when do I get to be a grandma and pick out their presents". I know she would pick stuff I do not want in my house. I have worked hard at creating wish lists for each of my kids on amazon to give a decent selection of things I wold approve of my kids having for those who insist on getting them presents. So my question is, would you stick to it and tell her she can chose, but it needs to be from my approved list, or would you let her go buy them junk you would have to steal away while they are sleeping to throw away? I hate doing that, but the women has a way of bringing the most unsafe, crummy toys into my house that always break inside of a month anyway, then my kids are in tears that their present from grandma broke. So, what would you do?

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Old 01-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: What would you do?

I give a list.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:44 AM   #3
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Re: What would you do?

Is she list-savvy? Meaning, if you told her specifically what to get them would she actually get it, or would she get something she thought was close enough? If she is the latter, the list isn't going to help you.

I feel your pain, we have nov/dec bdays here and my mom is the same. It has helped now we live 1000 miles away, I can intercept things before the kids see them and purge them sight unseen. But when we lived 90 miles away, I tried to give them a list, and she sometimes followed it and sometimes not. When she gave something I just could not have in my house, I told her it had to stay at her house for them to play with. She'd try to bring it back, saying they'd outgrow it before it got enough use but I held firm. Also after several years of being ruthless and vigilant about the cheap crappy toys (not necessarily in price, but in quality), she got the point that stuff rotated in and gone fairly quickly and she started buying fewer, better quality things.

I know it's hard. You don't want to be the bad guy that tosses the kids' toys, and doesn't appreciate the grandma gifts. But you can't let it encumber your life. With time that guilt goes away and it sort of solves itself.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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Re: What would you do?

Is she list-savvy? Meaning, if you told her specifically what to get them would she actually get it, or would she get something she thought was close enough? If she is the latter, the list isn't going to help you.

I feel your pain, we have nov/dec bdays here and my mom is the same. It has helped now we live 1000 miles away, I can intercept things before the kids see them and purge them sight unseen. But when we lived 90 miles away, I tried to give them a list, and she sometimes followed it and sometimes not. When she gave something I just could not have in my house, I told her it had to stay at her house for them to play with. She'd try to bring it back, saying they'd outgrow it before it got enough use but I held firm. Also after several years of being ruthless and vigilant about the cheap crappy toys (not necessarily in price, but in quality), she got the point that stuff rotated in and gone fairly quickly and she started buying fewer, better quality things.

I know it's hard. You don't want to be the bad guy that tosses the kids' toys, and doesn't appreciate the grandma gifts. But you can't let it encumber your life. With time that guilt goes away and it sort of solves itself.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: What would you do?

Can you think of something cool / fun but useful like roller skates or a new bike / helmet? I like asking for outdoor stuff (golf balls & tees, golf flag, soccer net, etc).
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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She will follow a list and is good about it, she just complains constantly saying she doesn't get to enjoy going to the store and picking something out for them. She is very far from a minimalist (my grandma is a hoarder, and I think my mom picked up on it enough that I'd call her a boarder line hoarder), and just refuses to understand that with five kids and a small house, we have little room for toys, and I want to fill what space we have with quality stuff. Another thing she does is always buys the stupid "educational learning toys" that make noise. I hate those, instead of encouraging creativity, they just sit and push the button over and over so it makes noise.

Anyway, I guess my question is would you allow her feelings that the fun of picking presents is being taken away to bother you, or would you just give her the list anyway? I don't even know how to talk to her about it anymore, she lays huge guilt trips and cries like I'm some horrible person. Oh, and leaving the toys at her house is a no go, my kids aren't really allowed to go there as she lives with my grandma and the house is unsafe from hoarding.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:26 AM   #7
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Will she respect parameters?

Like if you say nothing with batteries?

I do try to let people buy my son things they want to but that will fit in our small space and that he will use.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeymama07
Will she respect parameters?

Like if you say nothing with batteries?

I do try to let people buy my son things they want to but that will fit in our small space and that he will use.
She might. My concern is she will still chose inappropriate toys, as she has before. For example, she will get my eight year old things with very tiny pieces and expect me to allow her to play with them "away from the little kids". My kids share a room and a playroom, and I don't allow them to play in the living room/kitchen. We gave up the master bed for the playroom, and I can't stand having toys and craft stuff all over the common spaces. So those things with tiny pieces either sit gathering dust or get tossed. I guess my fear is I would have to give such a long list of parameters (no batteries, no tiny pieces, no cheap plastic junk...) that it would cause the same problem.

Am I just being a control freak? I don't know if I am. I feel I have valid reasons for my choices (lack of space, a child that puts everything in her mouth, and an autistic daughter are my big reasons), but my mom thinks I just want to control everything and "steal her fun", or "refuse to let her be a grandma".

I try to explain my reasons to her, and she just gets this snotty attitude and says things like "yes, sir!". It ticks me off, and I've gotten to the point I just stop talking to her when she starts in.

This is also the women who "forgot" to check if something she was feeding my peanut allergic daughter had peanuts (um, duh, trail mix that is not homemade ALWAYS has peanuts), then acted like I was over reacting when she had a reaction to the peanut oil (my oldest freaked and told her she couldn't have peanuts, so my mother pulled them out and gave back the rest, and she swelled up to just the oil). So obviously there are much deeper issues than just the toys, the women has little to no respect for me and is extremely careless. I just want to figure out the best way to handle the presents situation, and if I'm in the wrong, I want to fix it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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Re: What would you do?

We must live in a parallel universe.

Here's what I recommend. If she wants to be a Grandma, then she should take the kids places so she can be the Grandma who spoils them - outside the house. Not necessarily all five of them at once, LOL, in fact one-on-one would be ideal. And not the one with peanut allergies, obviously, but she could maybe do something special with her at home, like paint her nails or something, or you could suggest a very specific trip for her that would not put her at risk. Like an event at the library that doesn't involve food, that kind of thing.

The other thing is to suggest consumables. Art supplies, for example. Science kits, where you do the experiment and then toss it when it is done. I would normally suggest food as well, but that is a dangerous area for you. But maybe balloons and flowers, stuff like that.

As for the toys with many pieces. I totally sympathize, and I understand they can't go to her house. BUT, she could keep them for whichever child at her house, and offer to help supervise when she brings that barbie with shoes or lego set or whatever when she comes over. She does THAT activity with the kid while you watch the others, or helps watch the others so s/he can play with it unencumbered. So she has the option of still giving that toy, but she has to be willing to manage it. That will cut down those toys considerably.

And FWIW I do think toys that don't require batteries is not an unreasonable request. Just say you won't ever change the batteries, so there is no point in giving the toy anyway. That they are just as happy with non-battery toys. I do think you should stick to no more than three parameters, because a list longer than that won't be heeded.

HTH!
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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I really like those ideas. My DD with the allergy is autistic (high functioning, but still too much for grandma), so she isn't allowed to go places with grandma regardless. She does get excited when grandma comes to play, though, so they can spend special time here. I'm also not ready for the baby to go without me, but at six weeks she's oblivious to grandma. I'll talk to her about doing special things instead of gifts, and if that doesn't fly I'll tell her she has to be responsible for the toys. I don't really mind keeping them here up somewhere, and just have them only come out when she is here to play with them. I'm firm on the no batteries, those toys over stimulate DD2 (my autistic DD).
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