What to do with an age inappropriate gift? Advice needed.
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Thread: What to do with an age inappropriate gift? Advice needed.

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    Super Poster abacaxi's Avatar
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    Default What to do with an age inappropriate gift? Advice needed.

    Help me out here. I've had an ongoing conflict with my parents over appropriate gifts for Rowan. They like to spend way too much money and get her tons of things that she doesn't use and that we don't have room for. DH and I decided to put a stop to it and told my parents they had to limit it to 2 small gifts for Christmas. It led to a huge argument and my mom isn't really speaking to me right now because she thinks I'm infringing on her role as grandmother.

    Anyway, a package from my parents arrived today, and there were two gifts in it for Rowan. Of course, I unwrapped them to see what they were, because I know my parents and I'm not taking any chances. And one of them is an American Girl doll, which is supposed to be for ages 8+. Also, there is a dog in the box, which is apparently a pet that can be bought with the doll. The dog looks like a stuffed animal, but is not at all soft or cuddly.

    I don't think this is an appropriate gift. She's 2!!!! And now I don't know what I should do. It's not like I can return it or exchange it. I was thinking of setting it aside until she's older, but how long do I have to store this thing? Am I wrong in thinking that a toddler doesn't need this kind of doll? It's not for cuddling and dragging around, which is what she does with the dolls she has.

    I was also thinking about getting Rowan something different and just pretending it's from my parents. Or maybe just giving her the second gift (a necklace my mom made that is age appropriate and that I know Rowan will love). I figure she won't miss it if she doesn't know there was supposed to be something else.

    What do I do? Advice, please?
    DD1 Rowan, 9/26/10
    Expecting #2 in August 2013

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    Posting Addict gardenbug's Avatar
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    I had this problem with my daughter (now in her thirties) years ago, but it was my sister who was the giver. She too sent a huge stiff and expensive doll that was not to be played with. To add to the problem, DD had zero interest in dolls, even ones you could dress or cuddle.

    We kept it on a high closet shelf (for when she was "ready") and eventually gave it away. You see, my sister never was able to visit and lived far away, so this worked. Do they ever visit Rowan?

    Personally, I worry about necklaces on small children, so that would be my problem! But the big question is how to handle the gift giving.. and that I am not sure about. I can't fathom being insulted or refusing to speak to my daughter over anything. I love keeping in touch and watching the kids grow! Would your mother be insulted if you gave her a list of items to choose from that Rowan was ready for next time? Maybe send her a page from the web of age appropriate items?

    Another way to go might be to say you would love help with a contribution to an education plan for Rowan's future.

    This is so dependent on the people involved! I hope you figure out a way to make everyone happy during this crazy season.
    Leo (3 1/2) with Malcolm the cat

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    I have this issue with both grand parents. MIL told DH she needed to get DS a 'big gift' and wanted ideas. We have a Christmas list on Facebook with her, that was started back in June.
    I know she got a vanity for DD, complete with hairdryer. I fear Chrsitmas.
    With my sibblings, who are the God parents, I have talked them into paying for swimming lessons for their respective Godchild.

    I let the kids unwrap the gifts, and in the confusion of picking everything up, some go missing. I hide them, and pull them out a few months later, or never. I found some paint and a role of paper that MIL gave DS when he was 2 or 3.

    If I were you, I'd let Rowan have the American doll for a bit, take a few pictures then put it away for safe keeping until she is older.

    Maybe next year, you asked that you parents give her books and clothing, along with just two toys.

    Hugs, I know how you feel. I also have the problem that MIL likes to give us a lot of candy. DS does not really like sweets, DH is diabetic, DD is too young and I don't need it. A few months later, I end up tossing out a large bag of candy. It is wasted money. On our list this year I put 'NO CANDY', but told her she could get Tassimo hotchocolate cups for DS. We'll see if she got teh message.
    Last edited by Louiseab; 12-15-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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    Luckily we don't have this issue, would your parents be ok if you gave them a list of "approved" gifts that they could pick from?
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    Supporter mama_to_peanut's Avatar
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    This year I made "wish lists" on Amazon. It is quite handy!
    alwayssmile likes this.
    *natalie*

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    Posting Addict TiggersMommy's Avatar
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    I so don't have this problem at all. My Dad doesn't give gifts. If he does its something he grabbed at the grocery store 30 minutes before seeing Teagan. My Mom always calls and asks what I'd like Teagan to have. Everyone else has decent taste regarding suitability and size. My GMIL has issues with sending clothing in the size I ask for (a size up) and then angrily sending something else in her current size after seeing in the pics I take that it doesn't fit.

    There was one time my SIL sent Teagan a little wooden set of blocks that resemble the sky line of Paris. Its ADORABLE but has tiny pieces and clearly says its for ages 4+. She sent it for her 1st birthday. I took a picture of Teagan holding it and stuck it up in the closet.

    I'd do what Louise does. Make it about your storage issues. Tell your Mom that you're having very serious issues storing all the WONDERFUL gifts they send and that having a cluttered playroom just leads to her ignoring all her toys. Make up a wish list of items. Does Etsy have a wishlist? Tell her that you and Rowan both would much more greatly appreciate gifts that would compliment the toys she already has and fit into your space. As for this American doll, I'd do one of two things. 1) Take a pic and store it either until Rowan's old enough to play with it or until your mom has forgotten about it and you can put it on Craigslist. 2) Let Rowan trash it and use it as a teachable moment for what age appropriate means.
    Erin
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    Super Poster jperry5683's Avatar
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    I took the steps this year to send wishlists for this reason. I know its about the the thought that counts but for birthdays and Christmases so far we have ended up with inappropriate gifts or repeats.

    Since its too late because the gifts are already here.. for me I would keep the gifts.. photograph her with them and put it away. I personally would not just not give it to her because I make ds say thank you to every person for every gift regardless if he likes it or if he''ll use it..

    I'm sorry I know its frustrating...last year I was mad because I asked mil to limit amount of battery operated toys because it seems like she gets the noisier loudest ones on purpose. She didn't listen...

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    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    I do the Amazon wish list thing for my parents (and being able to add stuff from other sites like etsy is great!). It's really helped a ton there. My ILs pick age appropriate gifts, but they're usually things I hate (think annoying battery). I've returned a couple of their gifts before and used that money to get something that I don't mind having around the house. They've never said a word about not seeing the gift around the house when they visit. Or even why it wasn't in pictures being unwrapped. Thank God! Usually they send us unwrapped gifts, but this year they came wrapped so I'm a bit concerned. Ha.
    Do you mind her having the doll when she's older? If not, take some pics and put it up on a shelf in her room or in a closet for later.
    At least it wasnt' plastic junk that breaks after 30 seconds?

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    Posting Addict BuckeyeK's Avatar
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    I'd put the doll up until she's old enough to appreciate it. Unfortunately, I'd say that's not going to be until age 6. DD1 actually wants an American girl doll for Christmas (she's 5 1/2) but I'm not getting her one until her 6th birthday because I think she's still not quite ready for one.
    Last edited by BuckeyeK; 01-23-2013 at 08:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Super Poster abacaxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeK View Post
    My mom upstages us at Christmas. She has more money to spend, buys wonderful gifts and way too many of them. Our Christmas with the kids seems pitiful in comparison.
    This is part of the problem, and the reason I told my mom she had to limit it to two small gifts.

    You all probably don't remember this, but my mom bought Rowan an ipad this summer. She really likes to go over the top. And I'm pretty sure part of it is that she wants to be the favorite grandmother. She has made that very clear in the past (also to my brothers who have children). She is unhappy that we live over 1000 miles away, and I think she is jealous that Dh's parents live in town and see Rowan at least once a week. I think she sees expensive gifts as a way to 'win' over the local grandparents (who, incidentally, have always respected our wishes in regards to gifts, except once when MIL brought over something without reading the warnings all over it about not actually touching the product due to dangerous levels of lead exposure).

    Erin, I tried making it about storage issues, and reminded my mom of the giant easel she bought for Rowan's birthday that is now in the shed because there is no room for it in the house. And that's also an example of what my mom does when I tell her specific things - I told her to get Rowan art supplies like paint and markers, because we had just finished her art table. And she did get her paint, but couldn't possibly stop there, because paint isn't big and expensive enough.

    I don't want to give Rowan the doll at all, even for pictures, because I don't think it's appropriate for a two year old, and honestly, I don't think she'll like it. She has three dolls that she loves and carries around, and they all have soft cuddly bodies and are sized right for a toddler to play with. I kind of think that if I send them pictures of Rowan holding the doll, they'll take it as tacit acceptance and continue to send her this kind of thing.

    Is it bad if I only give her the necklace? I can maybe save the fight about the doll for after Christmas when they ask what Rowan thought of it.

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