View Full Version : need advice - IL's gift for DS's bday - LONG
04-06-2009, 09:33 AM
So DH calls SIL from hospital on day of DD’s birth to give the good news. “While I’ve got you on the phone,” she says (as if she couldn’t have called before)… she has been thinking about DS’s birthday (four weeks away at that point) and wondered would it be okay with us if she bought him Kota the Triceratops. DH repeats this to me and I say I have no idea what that is, but the fact that she is asking scares me, but that I am in no shape to think about this right now. He looks it up http://www.hasbrotoyshop.com/ProductsByBrand.htm?BR=485&ID=22405 and last night when I first get back on the computer he tells me I’d better take a look.
Sorry to offend anyone who loves this toy but let me start out by saying I *hate* everything about it. I have a hard time imagining a toy I would hate any more than this. But it isn’t about me, it is about DS, right? Besides the fact that he is just not into dinosaurs, let me share the birthday list I have been frantically scribbling down for him over the past few months, in his own words:
• A headlight like Daddy has and a sleeping bag for on our hikes. [He means a camping flashlight that you wear on your head... DH frequently takes him "hiking" and he likes to think that they are camping sometime soon!]
• A trombone like that guy at that concert. [He already has just about every musical instrument we can think of to give a two-year-old but craves more. Clearly he is not getting an actual trombone but you get the picture. He is thinking of a jazz band we went to see.]
• A stick, ummm, I mean by a stick a *bow* so I can play my ukulele like a violin like that guy at that concert. [See previous; we go to a lot of different styles of music concerts with him.]
• A high chair for my pretend baby like the same one I have at my school.
• A rocking chair so when Mommy rocks my real baby I will rock my pretend baby. [He already got this as a “new big brother” present from us.]
• A smoothie mixer for my own kitchen. [He means a stick blender.]
• More of those thrower things for my jai alai so me. And Mommy. And Daddy. And baby sister can all play together when she gets more bigger enough. [He has one of those cheapo plastic beach jai alai sets with two cestas and a ball.]
I tell you all this just so you have an idea of what he is like. His favorite things are books, music (listening to and making), elaborate pretend play (kitchen, baby doll, going shopping, playing “school”), and sports of all kinds (kicking a ball, hitting a ball off a tee, throwing a Frisbee, etc.) I can see him playing with this Kota thing for all of 2 minutes, if that. Besides how huge it is -- I just plain don’t have space for it -- etc.
So, the first thing I say when I look at it is “Your sister has no business spending that much money,” at which point DH says that he thinks actually that all his siblings would go in on it together (he has a big family). Great, now I run the risk of offending *all* the sibs.
I know I'm not in the BP but I have to get this part off my chest: Dear SIL, did you even stop to think what DS is like or what he would like to have? Or did you just get it into your head that this is a cool toy and then get all your sibs to agree with you so they wouldn’t have to think about it anymore either? What astounds me the most is that you are a pre-school teacher for 3-4 yo’s and tell me all the time how gifted DS is and how we should do everything possible to nurture that. How does this fit?
And here is the “please help” part. Really, does the fact that she *asked* allow me to say no thank you? I kind of feel like it doesn’t, like there is no way to say no without seeming (a) ungrateful and/or (b) like a total snob (which they already think we are -- we differ from IL's on a lot of philosophical things like toys, BFing, sticking to bedtimes, etc.). DH says she asked, so we can answer honestly. WWYD? And what would you specifically say if you were saying no?
Sorry this is so long. I might be totally overreacting. In fact, I realize that it is likely that I am. I have the potential to do that even when at my best, and more so when it comes to the IL’s and/or when having just had a new baby one week ago. I know I'd be able to see this very clearly if it was someone else's issue.
TIA and please feel free to be honest!
04-06-2009, 10:09 AM
I think it's ok to say no (nicely). Maybe you can tell her how much you really appreciate that she thought to ask if that would be a good present, but that you're concerned because it's so big (that would be my #1 concern), and that there are other things that your DS is really into right now that he would like more.
We were at a friend's house a couple weeks back and they have Kota. My DS was (nearly 22 months) was terrified of it.
04-06-2009, 10:15 AM
That is a big toy to have around the house, especially if you don't like it. I would definitely be honest with them. That is a lot of money to spend for something you don't think DS will play with.
Lately I have been letting my relatives know the "theme" of the gifts we are giving our kids. My son's birthday last month was all about books. So in addition to books, he got a book light, bookmarks and a personalized book bag from family members that wanted to be creative with the theme. We have also had wooden toys, outside sports and music as themes in the past.
04-06-2009, 10:18 AM
I think you can say no thank you, because you just "don't have the room for something that big."
That way it is a practical consideration rather than how much you hate it. I think that was why they asked-- they think it is cool, but suspect that you may not like it. So politely say no while thanking them for the thought.
04-06-2009, 10:25 AM
I can definitely understand why you have reservations (to put it mildly), and I think you should press the issue with your SIL. A large toy like Kota (or the ponies) is something the whole family needs to be on board with.
We bought DD the Butterscotch pony for Christmas, and I felt I was taking a real risk since I knew she had some sensory issues. We lucked out in that she adores it and does play with it almost every day. But I know of others whose children were afraid of it.
04-06-2009, 10:27 AM
You can say it will scare the baby. Or that you don't have room for something that big...
As far as why she would do it... I have two nephews (older than my dc) and sometimes it is fun to be the aunt who buys something frivolous that mom would never buy. (I wouldn't buy something that huge, and I'd try to make it something they'd like). My sister does the same thing - buying my girls things I would never buy. (So at least we get even with each other ;) )
04-06-2009, 10:28 AM
Uh, hi, are you me? I could have written that *exact* post. My son even wants "A violin! AND the stick!" My inlaws are extremely generous, and generally they ask for a list of things that the children want (read: what we want for our children). But if my son so much as utters that he likes something, three days later, there's a package on our porch. Which is why we now have Transformers at our house, when my son has *never* seen that show. But some kid at preschool has them, and when my boy mentioned Transformers to his grandmother? Transformers in abundance! Blech.
For something as, uh, substantial as Kota, I would be polite but firm. Don't tell them how awful you think Kota is (even though it is) or how it is not your style at all. Mention the size and the new baby and let them know that your son has a list of things that he would just love, and that with his adjustment to the new baby and all, you would love to help make *those* birthday wishes come true.
04-06-2009, 12:02 PM
I would try to re-direct. "He saw a commercial for that (or at the store, or a friends house, etc.) and wasn't really interested in it, but he did mention that he really wants...." And mention the space issue too.
04-06-2009, 12:19 PM
Since you asked for honesty --- I honestly don't see what the problem is!
Your SIL wants to give your DS a generous gift and asked your feedback on her choice. That sounds totally appropriate to me. Of course you can say no thank you, and of course you can give her the list of things he'd love. In fact, giving her the exact list you gave us would let her understand him better and make him happy which is probably exactly what she wants. Honestly, she sounds nice.
Now asking about it during your new babe's birth announcement? Not that classy. But she probably meant it well -- congrats on the new baby and I want to give this really cool to the older brother toy on his birthday! I can see what she was trying to do there.
04-06-2009, 12:29 PM
I'm in agreement with everyone else, thank her, but tell her the truth, he's not into dinosaurs and you don't have the room for it. I think being straightforward is best, beating around the bush could result in you getting it anyway. That thing is horrid (don't tell her that!)
One thing though, I would try to keep in mind that SIL loves your nephew, and I'm sure she picked it out because she thought he would like it. I bet she did put thought into, even though it may seem like she didn't. I totally stress over my niece and nephews' presents, but I'm sure some of them are clunkers. If I knew someone was into "elaborate pretend play", I might think pretending you're living with dinosaurs would be fun...and yes I know humans and dinosaurs didn't walk the earth together ;-)
It could be worse, she could have just shown up with it in tow. Yikes!
04-06-2009, 01:08 PM
We own Kota! We had no choice in the matter. My parents gave him to my children for Christmas. We were given no warning. It is a huge toy and it is also loud. My kids love it, but they certainly don't play with it often. He's more of a piece of furniture. LOL. Just say after looking it up, you think he would be too substantial for your house.
04-06-2009, 01:16 PM
Oh my gosh that dinosaur is huge.
I actually think DS would like it. But, we go to a Natural History Museum where they have dinosaur puppets with an adult inside making it move. They're very life-like, as in the paleontologists worked with the puppet company to get them as much like the dinosaurs as they know about. I volunteer at the musum and get free entry for the family, DS loves going and seeing the dinosaur puppets.
But I do not have the room in my house for something like that.
I would politiely decline, thank her, but explain that your DS does not like dinosaurs and you're afraid he wouldn't like it. Then quickly tell her about all the other things he REALLY wants and has on a list. She'll make his birthday if he got one of those. DS had a list for Christmas/Birthday (same day), and he was really excited that he got what he had on his list.
04-06-2009, 01:23 PM
By us, Toys R Us has him on display as soon as you walk in the door - he scares the CRAP out of my DS (aged 2) - as in, I can't walk through the door of the store wothout DS SCREAMING in terror (had I known I clearly wouldn't have taken him in the store with me).
So, I definitly thing you can (and should since you don't want it) say no. PP have given good suggestions (don't have the room, doesn't like dinosaurs, etc) as to how to best do this.
04-06-2009, 01:35 PM
Just say NO! Seriously, you'll hate having a loud obnoxious toy around and knowing how much was spent on it. I think it might be best to have your DH do it for you. If your ILs are not into camping stuff or music, they may not be able to get the other items on your son's awesome wish list (he sounds like a cool kid!). But the idea of his own baby things like a toy high chair or rocking chair might appeal to them (?) given that the new baby was just born. (Incidentally, congrats!)
The only thing I would suggest otherwise is to request a gift receipt with that behemoth!
04-06-2009, 01:53 PM
I would say, we won't have the room. We are going to have a swing, p-n-p, exersaucer, etc. With all of the stuff for the new baby, I can't imagine where I could put it.
04-06-2009, 02:02 PM
Can you redirect and suggest something like a children's museum pass or such?
04-06-2009, 02:07 PM
I would tell a little white lie and say your son saw it at a friends house and was terrified of it! And then offer your suggestions!
04-06-2009, 02:15 PM
I usually fall into the camp of hating that type of stuff, yet feeling as though it is impolite to dictate what other people should buy for my DC. We just donate, etc. if we don't have room for or don't like a particular type of toy.
That said, if someone is talking about spending a substantial amount of money on something he doesn't want and you don't like the idea of, and is *asking* you for feedback, I think you can politely attempt to redirect them to a different idea.
It would be trickier IMO if they weren't asking. But it sounds like she is asking.
04-06-2009, 02:25 PM
I've really enjoyed reading these responses since I find myself in a similar situation a couple of times a year. Normally I do suck it up and accept the toy graciously (like with the Transformers) but Kota is big and very expensive.
It is also *exactly* the kind of toy that my SIL would want to buy for my son, not unlike the actual working excavator she bought him for Christmas last year that is languishing in my basement as we speak. It was very generous, and my son loved it for about twenty minutes, but now it's just furniture, basically. BUT, it is the kind of thing that my SIL loves and that my nephew loves - loud, bright, plastic toys that require a ton of batteries. So I try to keep in perspective that she's showing her love for us buy buying something that she would love, and she doesn't live near us or really appreciate that her brother and my taste is so very different from her family's. Like the year we were buying our son a Thomas table and a lot of wooden railroad stuff, she bought our son a huge GeoTrax set.
Still - Kota is so large and so expensive that I really think you do need to redirect her towards something that will be both appreciated and used.
04-06-2009, 02:34 PM
If she's asking - she probably thinks it's a super cool toy that she would have loved when she was a kid...but knows that it could be something that you guys would totally love or completely hate...she also has to have some doubts about it or she wouldn't have asked...she would have just bought.
I asked my mom if I could get the pony for my baby sister (4 years old) for her birthday...and she came out and told me that it was a lot of money and she didn't want my sister to have it. I didn't take offense because I also know how my baby sister is and what a pain in my moms butt that pony could actually be.
If it were your sibling you would be able to just come out and say..."I hate that thing, I don't have the space, so please don't waste your money on it..." So, I would ask my DH to take care of it. It's his sister and he can tell her what ever and how ever he wants...as long as he got the point across and that "awful" thing wasn't to enter my house. :P They could always keep it at the IL's house for when your son visits...that another fair option...then you don't have to stare at it! :)
04-06-2009, 03:03 PM
I'd be SO thankful and say no that he wouldn't appreciate it etc but then offer a range of ideas (so she can pick something she wants to give him). If she lived close (cannot remember if she does) could she take him to the toystore or bookstore and have him pick something out?
04-06-2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks for *all* the great responses; I appreciate every single one. As usual, I feel better knowing I am not alone! Oh and thanks for being kind enough not to tell me what a b!tch I sound like... :o
I don't know why, I just felt like I somehow couldn't say no and couldn't think of how to... Obviously everyone has their own family baggage that leads to this kind of mental paralysis. And it will *definitely* be DH telling her, as he was the one she asked in the first place. I just wish he hadn't said, "Let me check with DW and get back to you..." Ha! They'll know it's really me talking, anyway.
Sigh... I wouldn't mind how much *I* disliked it if (a) it wasn't so huge and (b) I thought DS would like it even one little bit. I don't think he'll be afraid, just bored. They don't live nearby, seldom visit, and have never really seen what toys he has and enjoys. Their experience with him is almost totally limited to our trips to their house. It is all totally understandable now that I have had a nap. And it *is* incredibly generous.
I will redirect for sure (how can you not love his adorable list of suggestions, IIDSSM?! :)) and I love the suggestion from PP to have a "theme". I will definitely be stealing that for both DC's next year.
Thanks again and I will try to remember to let you know how it turns out...
04-06-2009, 05:41 PM
They don't live nearby, seldom visit, and have never really seen what toys he has and enjoys. Their experience with him is almost totally limited to our trips to their house.
I know I'm repeating myself, but this is our *exact* situation. I am fortunate to have generous, sane, kind in-laws, but they make it to our house maybe once every two years.
And on the bright side, it is super easy for me to shop for them!
04-06-2009, 08:11 PM
Well, since your SIL did ask, you can have Dh say thank you but we're pretty sure DS would NOT like this toy, here's what he's been asking for, and give her the list (unless you did that already).
Maybe this is the coolest toy ever, but Dora loves dinosaurs, and if someone gave her this (cuz we sure wouldn't) it'd probably scare her!
04-17-2009, 12:02 PM
Thanks again for all the advice. DH ended up just telling SIL we didn't have room... then surprised me by adding "and we don't think DS would really be that into it, honestly". I say surprised me because he tends to shy away from anything even *mildly* confrontational with his family. So I was pleased that we was that direct. SIL seemed disappointed a little, but fine in the end. MIL also confessed later that she had no idea why SIL had liked it in the first place and that she agreed with us!
04-17-2009, 12:32 PM
Glad it all turned out well! Speaking for myself, I know how easy it is to view gift shopping through what my own kids enjoy and my own values. Like many of those here, I'm not into tons of plastic, loud, battery operated toys (not that we don't have a few). So, when I'm shopping for another kid's birthday I tend to gravitate away from those items and more towards nature-themed gifts, instruments, wooden toys, etc.
It was a nice gesture and at least your SIL asked before showing up with it! I hope that things are going smoothly with a new baby at home and the adjustment to big brother has been smooth!
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