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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do I ask people to please not give our baby toys that are either plastic, made-in-China clutter, or totally unsafe?
I am up to my eyeballs in the stuff... when a four month old has over a dozen stuffed animals and who knows how much plastic stuff, it's scary. And ALL of it has come with strings, either literal ones, figurative ones, or both.

Some of it isn't returnable, and I'm not donating something unsafe, but they expect to see said gifts whenever they show up here and get all snippy if they can't be immediately produced.

I've already sort of had one chat with one half when they wanted to get some old baby stuff out of the shed for him... as in twenty+ years old and has had mice and rats all over it for that time. Gag. Thought it would be just fine all cleaned up.... y'know, I'm not laying my baby to sleep in something once covered in rodent waste, no matter how "clean" it is. You wouldn't sleep there, why should he?

Oh wait, so those crazy parents of his don't cosleep, that's why. :rolleyes: Get the gist? *sigh*

FIL gets it though. Thank God, but he's a smidge outnumbered.
 

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Big hug.
Deep breath.
You're going to have to be rude. especially with your first child, people will really push. When my DD was 4 months old, I'd already had people tell me that I had ruined her for life. I breastfed exclusively - therefore she would be stunted, picky, etc. I co-slept - therefore she would grow up needy or twisted (yes, there are people who believe that sleeping with your child is like "sleeping" with your child, sickos)
And on, and on.....
Finally I realized that I was bending over backwards to be nice to people who were undermining my parenting and confidence, even if it was only by persisting in giving gifts that I didn't approve of. And let me tell you, as your child ages, that can be a HUGE problem. I had one person give a sexy outfit to my toddler because they felt it was "cute". Dressing a baby like that is NOT cute!!

So finally I blew up when one very dear and well intentioned friend of mine was complaining about her 17 year old DD having an affair with a 20-something married man, and then literally stop what she was saying to tell me if I always picked the baby up when she cried I would make her co-dependant and she never did that with her kids. I lost it and said that the last thing I wanted was for DD to grow up like her kids and I was more then happy to pay for her therapy as long as I screwed her up my own way (Ok, please don't be that rude - I also burst into tears and stormed from the room, but I was very post partum and also going through a divorce as not-so-D-H1 had decided the whole wife and kid thing was too much like work and his GF was much more fun) I did apologize later that day.

But anyway, it was a turning point for me. I realized that this WAS my child, even to screw up (and we all screw up somewhere) and that she was more important to me then staying on people's nice side if they wanted what I didn't feel was best for her - because my feelings were the ones that mattered. After that I took a very firm, much politer but still out and out blunt at times stand.
If people wanted/needed to get a gift for DD, I would tell them what she needed and broadly hint at good ideas, as in " I know it's not as fun for adults to shop for, but she could really use more onesies" "I've been having a hard time finding blocks that are big enough to be safe, but I know she would really love some". Then if someone did get an inappropriate toy I would let them know why I didn't like it. As in, "It frightens her when her dolls and stuffed animals talk. Do you want to come with me when we bring this back to the store and help us pick out a softer one?"
People would actually tell me that my baby needed to toughen up. I would grit my teeth and smile and tell them "Well, she's hardly old enough to hunt bear yet, I think we have a little time."

So just breath, stand firm, remind yourself that whatever God you believe in meant for this baby to have YOU as his mother, and not all these other people and be as blunt as you need to to get your point across. There will be outbursts from some, but probably not as many as you expect. And I found that those who were the most vocal about everything (sigh, and it was everything) I was doing wrong, became the most vocal in my defense once I took a stand. It was creepy - like I passed a test I didn't know I was taking. And I get to take it agian in a few months, after all, DD is old enough now I must have got it out of my system and be ready to raise a baby "right" - NOT! BTW, she is remarkably un-screwed up, people make a point to tell me what a good kid she is.

Oh, and EVERYBODY who has a baby, there is SOMEONE who wants to give them a wildly inappropriate crib. I said several times that I did not want the inlaws old crib, tried so hard to be nice, finally had to take my finger and trace for them how the metal pipes that made up the sides were bent enough for a baby to get a head through, and say if they didn't want it in their garage anymore, I'd throw it out for them - after all I know it must be so hard to part with things like that. It was like they could not see they wanted my baby to sleep in this bent metal thing with rust spots till I took my finger and pointed at it. Sigh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured that's what I'll wind up doing. *sigh* I hate to be the bad guy here, but really.

I hoped I'd get to pick my battles, but I swear if these people don't just SHUT UP I'm going to take the bottles, creepy advice, and pacifiers and start lobbing them at certain more outspoken folks. The Unwanted Junk trebuchet, from Texas to Oklahoma and beyond.

Suppose I need to start somewhere. With some, though... picture an elephant trying to tiptoe through a minefield. That's about how much luck I'll have, no matter how nicely I put it. God above, why can't people just be civil and not take every little thing so personally?

Oh, and uhh... METAL crib? Yikes. And wow. And just... good Lord.
 

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I feel your pain. I am a firm believer in breast milk only for whatever period of time is necessary. No mashed potatoes, I don't care if DH's grandma gave them to him. No pickles, so we can see the funny face baby makes. I stuck to my guns, and just never let him stay with anyone else until I felt he was ready. He also Never had diaper rash, because he was not fed things his system wasn't ready for.
When he fell, he got kisses to make it better. A friend told me I would raise him to be a "sissy" but yet his wife had their kids in the ER all the time! I just said I'll take all the kisses I can get, because some day I won't be able to.
Sorry, OT about toys, but it boils down to, just because they raised you, or DH, and we grew up, doesn't mean they know all about it. Some people growing up has been a miracle. Do your best, no regrets.
 

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Here's what I've done. So far it appears that I've been successful. Last year we were inundated with Made in China plastic. This was when everything was in the news about lead in the toys. I got rid of it and then I told family in passing things like: "I can't believe how much of this stuff is made in China. I had to throw away our painted wooden blocks because they were made in China!" I think I had 3 conversations or less with the offenders where I casually brought up getting rid of China toys or said that I was going to be making toys and scaling back Christmas because I couldn't find non-China toys. I also mentioned that there were people that sold USA made toys on etsy.com and such.

The result this Christmas? My MIL usually gives each of her children's families a set amount of money, buys some China-carp with a very small part of that so the kids have something to open, and gives us the balance. This year she just gave us the money :) My Father's wife (the biggest offender) would bring mountains of carp for the kids. This year she got one gift for all of them. A fooseball (sp?) table. Much better :)

Good luck on your quest.

:coffee: RedTartan
 

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I know it's hard, but encourage family to give gifts of experience. Gifts/investments toward college/further education are great ideas when the kids are young.

Once they're older, ask that grandparents make contributions toward summer camps and other fun experiences. For Christmas this year, my mother paid admission for DD13 to attend the Dolphin Adventure at our local zoo. She'll get to put on a wetsuit and help work with the dolphins. That's a gift she will remember FOREVER, rather than something destined for goodwill or the landfill later.

Talk with your parents about your desire for less clutter and stuff. Hopefully some of it will get through. It wasn't instant with my family but gifting is now at a level much more comfortable for me, and meaningful for DD.
 

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I've had to deal with this. With the relatives you are close to suggest ideas in a round about way. Like - he really loves playing with his wooden train I'd like to get him pieces to add on... Also -when you give gifts to these people and they thank you- when you say your welcome let them know you like to give practical, useful gifts. Maybe, they will reciprocate. For example, I give my nieces sweatshirts for Christmas. When their parents thank me I say - Well I figured you were up to your eyeballs in toys... I still have a few relatives that feel like they are giving the kids more by buying big plastic junk but most people have come around. Also let people know that it is impossible to store so many things just let them know you are running out of room. This is a delicate thing to do with family without sounding ungrateful but it can be done. By the way the worst example of this that happened to us was my Aunt from NC came into town one year right before Christmas with a truck load of hand me down toys from her son for my kids. We weren't home but one of our cars was unlocked in the driveway. She crammed it full of all the stuff. When we got home of course we had to deal with it because my husband couldn't drive the car until we did. She even gave us some things I had already bought and wrapped to give my kids for Christmas. We had just decorated and cleaned the house for the holidays and I had to drag all this junk into it and sort it. I cried.
 

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My DH has a huge family and when I had DS I got ALL kinds of advice and criticism. I "coddled" him too much, or wasn't "hard" enough on him, fed him the wrong thing at the wrong time, etc. Well, now that he is older the can't believe how well behaved he is and what a great personality he has. This was no accident, it was how DH and I brought him up. You are your child's parent, not your family and friends. If they can't not respect that, then they need to stay out of it.
 

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My sister in law thought it would be funny to give my two month old baby coffee and ice-cream.....She did not understand why I was not amused, she felt like the baby needed more than plain old breastmilk! :eek:
Coffee at 2 months!! :eek:
That's another thing, some people you can not police enough! I don't care how closely they're related. My by-then-ex fed my 5 month old pulled pork on a visit and didn't tell me. So the next day we are in the hospital getting tests done, I'm getting reamed because I have a dog and the lab can't figure out what kind of WORMS she had (because that is what barely digested pulled pork looks like) and the baby has belly aches and is colicky and has been crying all night.:grit::bdh: "Oh but she liked it.":flame:

So feel free to not let that baby out of your arms. People can just be insulted if that's how they want to take it.

And yeah, the crib was like these hollow metal pipes painted white. You'd think they were aluminum, but it was rusted where the paint was chipped. They didn't try to pass it to their DD's kids, but DIL (me) was supposed to be overjoyed to get it. It was 34 years old and showed it.
 

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oh geez. I had this same problem. the biggest mistake I made was not getting rid of all that crap before my daughter was old enough to think she wanted it and to notice when it was gone so my advice is get rid of it NOW and if someone asks why tell them the truth. whenever someone said/says "what should I get her" my answer is "books". that is something that imo kids can never have enough of (and research backs that up). we regualrly go through toys now to "give to kids who don't have any". I take as many oppurtunities as I can such as when a house fire locally destroyed all a families possessions "we" decided that she could give some of her toys to those kids.
 

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First of all- be grateful that your child has people in his/her life who care enough to give gifts.

Then, sort through those gifts and pull out any that you feel are inappropriate or unsafe. Maybe a few of them could be put up high on a shelf for awhile, till the givers have seen them on display a few times. Then, after they have (maybe) forgotten about them, the gifts can be cycled out- like, right out of the house.

For future reference, take advantage of the fact that there has been so much media attention on lead in toys and have a talk with anyone who is likely to be giving gifts to your child. Tell them that you and hubby are very concerned about the danger and have decided that the only toys your child can have will be (fill in the blank- maybe find an American manufacturer whose products you know are safe and give that info to the gift-givers?).

Ditto for all the old stuff- explain that those items are no longer deemed safe for kids and that they should be disposed of.

As for in-laws, if I had a baby and my in-laws tried to give me a bunch of hubby's old stuff (and they probably would, because MIL kept a lot of her kids' things), I'd gratefully accept any and all of the things that I deemed to be safe for baby to be around, and would explain to MIL why the rest of the stuff has to go. If she couldn't handle that from me, I'd have hubby be the one to explain that we simply would not accept certain items. No need for me to be the "bad guy" all the time, lol.

If I were worried about food, I would simply refuse to allow anyone I did not trust 100% to be alone with the baby. It is YOUR baby, and you not only have the right, but the obligation, to do what YOU think is best. Anyone who couldn't handle that from me would just have to deal with it. You know, people should be reasonable, and even if they disagree with your rules, they should still respect the fact that it is YOUR child. If they can't do that, who needs them around anyway?
 

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I usually try to stay out of mother-in-law discussions -- but for some reason I can't stop thinking about your situation. My relationship with my MIL has gone around and around the block. So for what it's worth, here's my perspective.

For me, it was a matter of control with my MIL. She would do things that made me obviously uncomfortable, and the only reason I or my husband could come up with is that she was trying to Be In Charge. It ranged from silly stuff ("Please do not give my 3-year-old ice cream for breakfast; it makes the entire rest of the day a nightmare!") to the dangerous (I really don't even like to remember when she tried to give my two-month-old breastfed baby rare beef -- "just let her suck on the juices!"). She DOES comply with basic safety realities like car seats but grudgingly, and she lets me know that I am being "overprotective" and just plain silly. I had a terrible time convincing her not to put honey on the pacifier she bought my newborn, for example, or keeping her from letting a toddler have the olive from her martini.

Toys are a problem too. They live 3 hours away and we visit frequently. Every time we go there, the kids each have a brand new plastic toy or toy set, to the point where they expect it and ask for it when they walk in. They usually are invited on a trip to the store while we're there, too, and they can have anything they ask for. It makes me feel sick to see them have so much! I would rather have them enjoy the things they have then to expect "new" and "better" every time, and also I think they should enjoy Grandma's company -- she is awesome at playing with them, too!

But this isn't just a rant -- I want to tell you my solution: I have to pick my battles, I guess is the best way to say it. I will fight for the big ones. I talk to my kids about the excess toys. And I grit my teeth and let them enjoy their Grandma for who she is. I still hate the way it is and wish that respect was a two-way street in the in-law relationship. But since I cannot change her I have worked REALLY HARD to change the way I react to her. And yes, as soon as possible after we get home I put all those wonderful new toys high up in my closet. Anything they don't miss and ask for within a week goes out the door. Huge waste of money, yes indeed.
 
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