Thursday, November 08, 2007


When my husband told me to call his mother, who wanted to ask me about Christmas presents for Bat Girl, I was pleased. I have been wanting to tell the grandparents that I'd prefer no plastic toys this Christmas--don't get me wrong, we have our share of giant hunks of plastic in our living room, but they are hand-me-downs and therefore (in my rationale) at least less environmentally horrible than something purchased new. And with all the recalls, I'd just as soon play it safe. At any rate, I was thinking of setting up an Amaz*n wish list with all the nice wood and organic cotton toys I've been craving, along with some Babylegs and other cute things. So I was happy that my MIL wanted to ask me what I wanted for Bat Girl for the holidays. Because I'm kind of selfish and controlling in that way.

But no, she had already picked out two giant hunks of plastic crap she liked, and just wanted to know which I prefer. And because just that morning my husband had reminded me how sensitive his mother is, and how I shoot down all her ideas and make her feel like she does everything wrong (like, say, having her carpets Scotchgarded right before we visit), I didn't have the heart to tell her that for what she was planning on spending on the plastic crap plus a savings bond (like...savings bonds? who still buys those?) she could get us something we really need, like clothes. (I mean, you could put wrapping paper on an empty box and Bat Girl wouldn't care.) So I voted for the less offensive piece of plastic crap, and even kept my mouth shut when she offered to dig out my husband's old plastic trains from the attic (from the 70s, probably covered in lead paint) for Bat Girl to play with when we visit for Thanksgiving. (Luckily, when I told my husband that, he vetoed the idea immediately.)

My in-laws live in a relatively rural area where the only place to buy kids' stuff is W*al*m*art and they barely know how to use email (my sister-in-law has to help them look at the photo website I set up for Bat Girl), let alone buy things online. They're certainly not interested in my lectures about the negative environmental and health impacts of all the plastic junk in our lives--they don't even have recycling there, believe it or not. So it's not like I can tell them, "Oh, just buy anything you like from Oompa." And I suppose it is part of the grandmother job description to buy useless fun crap and feed children garbage, while the mother hangs out in the kitchen pureeing organic vegetables. So I guess I just keep my mouth shut, accept the gifts in the loving spirit with which they are given, and live with the compromises.


Blogger Eva said...

Yeah, sometimes you just have to go with it.

We just buy used toys off Craigslist and at thrift stores. That way we aren't supporting all the big manufacturers, and we don't have to assemble anything, and we don't have to throw away packaging!

But I'm sure she will enjoy her brand new plastic crap!

1:16 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

Oh the joys. My MIL started asking me about Christmas presents for B early in October!!! And I keep telling her we need clothes and books--but I guess being a grandparent means that they have to buy these big old stuff-so I stop fighting it.

Unfortunately, my parents does the exact same thing. I came home yesterday and B had a brand new plastic bus that he rides around the house! Sigh...

1:26 PM  
Blogger May said...

I couldn't agree more. I willl say that the recent publicity over lead paint has managed to permeate the grandparent level in my family, and cut back on the perception that I moved to California and turned into an organic food eating, wood toy purchasing, granola hippie type.

Just for my daughter, though. I still get the cheap milk for me and my husband. :D

3:18 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hmm... you just got me thinking that I need to get some sort of list together for Zack.

My problem doesn't come with the plastic stuff persay, but rather the AMOUNT of it. His birthday is three weeks after Christmas and I really don't think he needs to be bombarded twice with all kinds of toys...

Hmmm... I need to do some more thinking about that....

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Meira said...

Savings bonds . . . yep, I have a bunch of them. My MIL swears they're great because they'll be extra money when the kids are in college but . . . eh, somehow I doubt it. Instead, it's a pain in the ass to amek sure I don't lose them. And it really bugs me that they SAY $50, but that's not what was paid for them, it feels like someone's handing me a gift that screams "Here's $27.50 pretending to be $50 . . ."

9:26 AM  

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