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.