View Full Version : Argh!!

12-13-2002, 09:52 PM
Okay I just want to rant.

My mother-in-law sent me a romper for my daughter's second birthday. Now I know she means well, and the thing is really cute, but it's got two problems. First of all, it's way too small. It is tight in the crotch now and the way my daughter grows like a weed it won't fit at all in a month. Secondly, it's wildly impractical. I am doing mild potty training right now, and of course expect to increase this training as time goes on. This romper has NO SNAPS (or attachments of any kind) inside the legs, so this makes it a pain to do diaper changes. They come on and off at the shoulders with buttons. Yes, the kind of buttons no 2 year old would be able to do and undo by herself without ripping them off. So this means that I also cannot use the outfit to do potty training either.

To make matters worse, my MIL got this thing at some art fair and picked up a flyer from the artist. She said that the artist would be willing to exchange it for a bigger size if necessary. The problem is, the artist is in Cincinnati and I am in the San Francisco area. There was no phone number on the flyer (just a PO Box address) so I spent half an hour on the internet trying to look up the number of this woman.

After finding it, I call her on MY long distance bill. I explain the situation, and ask (a) if I can exchange to a bigger size and (b) what she would charge me to put a different fastener on the shoulders (such as velcro) that a potty-training child would be able to do and undo themselves. She was willing to do an exchange, but I would have to pay to ship the thing to her, AND pay to have another shipped back to me, and she absolutely does not do any customizations. She suggested that I exchange it instead for a jumper (a skirt-type thing) that would be okay for potty training. Problem is, she has no brochures or web site and I have no idea what this jumper would look like, PLUS it costs more than the romper so I would have to pay for the difference. To make matters worse, the woman suggested that I was over-reacting and should just deal with the impractical clothing she made because that's just the way it is. I nearly blew up at her. I think she was offended that I was 'criticizing' the way her clothing was designed.

So to make a long story short, we are visiting my MIL early next year and she is going to expect to see my daughter in this outfit. Things are rocky between us already and it's going to be worse if this doesn't happen. But the outfit I have doesn't fit, and to get anything useful out of it I'm going to have to spend at least $20 for something I have never seen and will look absolutely nothing like the outfit I was originally given. I just don't see any way out of this!

The really sad part is that the flyer included a price list and I know my MIL way overpaid for this thing. Another reason she'll be offended if she doesn't see my child in it.


Okay, rant over. I just needed to get it out.

The moral of the story is: if you buy clothing for someone's child, either buy it locally OR make sure it can be exchanged at a NATIONAL store chain. And enclose a gift receipt. And don't be offended (as my MIL will surely be) if you never see the child in the clothing.

12-13-2002, 10:33 PM
I know exactly how you feel! My MIL spent $60 on a baby outfit in another country for DS. It is absolutely precious and is a short set. He was born in July and the outfit didn't fit him until the end of October when it was too cold to put him in it. She commented to DH when she visited that I never put DS in any of the clothes she bought him. Oh, well...

12-14-2002, 04:24 PM
I hear you!! My SIL bought my DD a WHITE dress/sweater outfit when she was 2 YO. The dress would have been ruined with the first wearing, plus I rarely put her in a dress (it's hard for her to play in one). Of course it was purchased at a boutique in OH (I live in MI), so no returns or exchanges. I know she simply doesn't know any better, but there it sits in the closet, tags on and unused. What a waste. Actually - I'd better put it away, it wouldn't fit DD any more, plus SIL may come visit this xmas and see it hanging there unused!!

SAHM to Lilli (9/20/00) & Alec (10/21/02)

12-14-2002, 05:11 PM
If stuff like that fits, sometimes what I will do is clean my daughter, put her in the outfit, take a picture and then take it off again immediately. Then at least I can send the relative in question a photo of the child in the outfit and they think it's been worn. The problem doing this with the romper is that it is so tight in the crotch that you can tell just by looking and my daughter makes faces and pulls at it because of this.

I talked to my husband last night (it is HIS mother after all) and we decided to tell her part of the truth: that it was too small and we had left repeated messages on this woman's answering machine that were not returned. We just won't mention the conversation the one time I got through and the other reasons it wasn't a useful outfit. She'll still be offended, but hopefully less so. The sad part is, everything she has ever sent my daughter has been too small. She just doesn't seem to understand that I have a very tall child (probably 100th percentile for height, she's 37 inches at 24.5 months). And I'm not super tall, it's HER SON'S genes that are causing this giantism! :-)

12-14-2002, 07:03 PM
I would just keep the gift. Don't bother with the exchange--it's not worth the trouble. Just consign it or donate it to Goodwill. It is the thought that counts. If you MIL asks, tell her it is too small and tell her what size your DD wears.

Gifts never seem to be exactly what you would want especially if it is from a relative that you don't see very often. So grin, say thank you and do what you want with the item afterward.

12-14-2002, 09:37 PM
My MIL does this all the time. She went to Mexico last summer and bought Sarah a white lacey sleeveless summer dress that fits her now in the dead of winter. I plan to do the take a picture and then stick in the bin for baby#2.

When my MIL was here visiting over Sarah's birthday we went to Lord&Taylor because she wanted to buy Sarah some "nice things" for her birthday (meaning that what I buy her isn't nice, but that's a whole 'NOTHER STORY). I had to argue with her in L&T about Sarah's size, like I don't KNOW my child's size!!!

Sigh. It's the thought that counts, it's the thought that counts....

12-15-2002, 03:42 PM
The whole other side of this is of course that even though something says it is 18 months, 2T, etc. it doesn't always mean that it is. We've always had a tall daughter too. To complicate outfit matters now, Meg is also wearing different sizes on top on and bottom now (2T on top and 18 months in pants. She's long waisted and short-legged like her mom). My MIL and mom both live far from here and don't get to see Meg often so it's very hard for them to know what to buy. They do always ask which sizes to buy first and tend to buy her separates without crotch snaps because she always outgrows those horribly fast. I also get a lot of calls from my mom on the cell phone from malls saying "there is a sale going on here..."

I would try having an honest conversation with you MIL (if she bring it up) or just let the whole matter drop. If it comes up when you are visiting, tell her straight out what happened. She might even offer to fix it herself. I would play up the potty training angle (maybe she just didn't know) and even be up front in saying that sometimes it's so hard to know with the sizes and kids growing that buying from national chains is the way to go. This is what my MIL and mom do and they always give me receipts and leave tags on.

My MIL stayed with us for almost 2 weeks shortly after my dd was born. She tried to be helpful, but didn't know how to be supportive of me and took over a lot of things with my daughter that I should have been allowed to do. She also couldn't understand the whole breastfeeding thing and that was a huge strain. Anyway, this past spring they visited and we had a very nice long talk about that whole time and she and I are on very good terms now. I'm not a a confrontational person so these kinds of conversations are very difficult for me but it did all work out.

Anyway, sorry for the long ramble. Hope everything with the visit goes okay!

mom to Meghan
born 7/13/01

12-16-2002, 12:35 PM

Thanks for using our message boards. Felt compelled to answer this since I have a little experience with a difficult mother-in-law. First, you can just say your daughter grew out of it. But ultimately, it's your husband's job to run interference. Best part about my relationship with my MIL is that my husband is willing to do that. So rely on him to handle the situation if she gets snippy.

Best wishes,

Denise Fields

12-16-2002, 04:00 PM
I have gotten too many awful outfits that are ugly and impractical as gifts to even bother counting. It stinks, but that said, I agree -- if possible (if the outfit remotely fits), I put my DD in it, take a picture and then put it in a bag and donate it to good will or some other charity. No matter who gave it or how expensive it is, if I hate it and I'm not going to use it, we just give it away. I always send the picture to the relative w/a thank you note. And if I couldn't take a picture, I just say, she outgrew it and its in storage. I've never had a problem yet.

The other thing you could do (i've never done this, but)...if you're creative and crafty... and you like the fabric but not the style of the outfit, you can cut squares out of them and sew them into a blanket...there are magnificent blankets out there made up of recycled children's clothing. Martha Stewart Baby had an article on it a few months ago.

12-17-2002, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the support Denise!

I always wonder why whenever I mention mothers-in-law everyone starts saying how they don't get along with theirs. What IS it about that relationship that causes so much tension? I guess Moms just feel that no one will ever be good enough for their child! At least, that's how my MIL feels about me. :-) At least she and I can agree that her son is wonderful and should be treated well and that my life's mission is to make him (and her grandchildren) happy.

Yes, my husband should be running interference, and generally he does. In fact, this issue got resolved because I asked him what he thought I should do, and he agreed that telling the partial truth was the right thing to do. I find that as long as I can keep him in the loop and have him in agreement with my actions that things are usually okay. The only time I have REAL issues is when we are visiting his parents (they live across the country) and I am forced to be in close quarters with them for days on end. Sometimes I wish they had never invented air travel! :-)

Anyhow, thanks everyone for letting me rant! This romper thing doesn't seem like a big deal anymore, but of course a few days ago it was the be all and end all. I think my pregnancy hormones are causing emotional upheaval (I'm 39 weeks along today!).

12-17-2002, 06:35 PM
Since it doesn't fit properly, you could put it on your daughter, not snap all of the snaps and take a photo of her standing or with a toy in her lap so you can't tell. Send off the photo - pack off the outfit! When you visit her next year, if she asks, I would just say something like, "Oh it was so cute, but didn't fit her very long at all. She wears clothes quite earlier than the age they specify."

Mommy to Jonah

12-18-2002, 02:38 PM
I don't know if you're handy or not, but if there's a seam at the crotch you could take it apart and insert a small piece of coordinating fabric with velcro closure and actually get some use out of the outfit. Even if you can't do an expert job, it's down there where nobody looks closely anyway.

My MIL will consistently disregard the sizes I tell her and buy things that she likes in whatever size happens to be available. Luckily she's not offended and willing to do the running around to return things that don't fit.


01-01-2003, 07:29 PM
Happy New Year!

I know exactly what you mean. We told my MIL and other inlaws to NOT buy any clothes for our son for XMAS. I buy all my clothes for him off season and on sale at Macys, Carters and Gymboree. I found a beautiful XmAS outfit for him, last year when pregnant, that was originally $30.00 and I paid $3.29 (Macys April). I have clothes now through the age of 18-24 months. I plan what season it will be etc. We told MIL that instead some developmental toys would be wonderful and she can find FP at Target or BRU.

Well what do you suppose was purchased for XmAS? You got it...CLOTHES! Not to mention some were girl clothes and one Halloween outfit is 3-6 months....next Halloween he will be 15 months. Hopefully I can exchange them at Sears for store credit.

UGH! Why do they ask if they have a bee in their bonnet about what they are going to do anyway?!

01-01-2003, 10:32 PM
This has happened to be MANY times as my husbands family has a good deal of money so there's always gifts being sent like this.

Here's what I do- I make my daughter suffer for five minutes and make her wear the oufit and take a nice picture of her in the outfit. Then I send the picture on a thank you note! that way they get to see it on her and if they ask about it in person I tell them she already outgrew it because she just went through a growth spurt and tell her that the neighbor or somebody thought it was the cutest thing!
Just remeber- it was a gift, and and nothing you paid for!