WWYD if your MIL sent an unsafe toy for your son's b-day?

(31 Posts)
Picklemom Fri 18-Oct-13 22:32:41

My son is turning 4, and my MIL has sent a toy steam train engine made of metal with many sharp, uncovered edges and corners. I think it is obviously just intended to be a decorative piece and is not a child's toy at all (it hasn't come in any manufacturer's packaging, no idea where it is from). My husband thinks the boy will love it (which is true, he's obsessed with trains) and that we can just file down the sharp edges and it will be fine. But I count at least 50 sharp corners/edges on that thing. Good luck making it safe, I say.

I'm resolved that my son will never see it, because why frustrate him by letting him see a toy that I can't allow him to play with? But do I tell my MIL that I'm not giving it to him, or just say "thanks" and leave it at that. She lives in the US and seldom visits, so she may never know that the boy isn't playing with it. Moreover, my son has a twin sister who has received several nice gifts from MIL, so do I buy him a replacement gift and tell him it's from his grandmother so that he won't notice how imbalanced the number of gifts from Grandmother are? I really think it's my husband's job to tell his own mother that she needs to pay attention to basic safety standards when selecting gifts for young children, but he refuses to acknowledge that the toy is unsafe in the first place and he hates criticizing his mother.

Finally, my son has a twin sister who is getting several nice birthday gifts from MIL, so do I buy him a replacement gift for the train and tell him it's from his grandmother so that he won't notice how imbalanced the number of gifts from Grandmother are?

Picklemom Sat 19-Oct-13 08:44:14

ChipAndSpud, I share your feelings about the imbalance in gifts, especially as that pattern has been a bit consistent in the last year. But I don't feel I need to raise it as an issue with her at this time (although I suppose my husband might down the line if the pattern persists). I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt because she is a lovely woman and her heart is in the right place. She is probably thinking more about giving gifts that make the twins feel special as individuals instead of gifts that make them feel good about being a pair. Indeed, she may be spending the same amount of money on the kids, but coming up with more, cheaper items for our girl. I also think she shops for the grandkids a bit spontaneously, grabbing things whenever she thinks something is special. She finds it easy to find special girlie things.

chimchiminee Sat 19-Oct-13 08:20:30

LOL at "no one gets maimed". Is that a European safety standard?

ChipAndSpud Sat 19-Oct-13 08:13:38

I have had a couple of toys for DS that my brother has given him, I just thanked my brother and said I think it's a bit grown up for DS at the moment as he might break it (don't mention it might break DS) and that I'm going to store it for when DS is a bit older.

I'm not sure what I'd make of a foot long train though hmm where could you store that?!

I don't like the sound of your DD getting more presents than your DS and you having to top up his presents and say they're from your MIL. She has children herself, she must realise they should be treated equally?

I think it's something your DH should bring up with your MIL, but how you will get him to do this and whether she will take it on board is another matter.

PatoBanton Sat 19-Oct-13 08:11:53

If she won't know any different then put it on a high shelf.

He will probably lose interest in it very quickly anyway if it doesn't make noises/go along/etc etc.

Don't worry about the balance of gifts thing. He won't notice probably.

Fwiw my lovely sister sent ds1 a dangerous present when he was about 2. It was a thin, glass lightbulb on a stand that you plugged into the wall and touched it and it shot little strands of lightning towards your hand.

Given that ds was the wild boy, and loved electricity and so on it was utterly, utterly unsafe for him to have, so we tried it gently one time and then I took it and put it in the cupboard.

Eventually it broke and went in the bin.

Some people mean very well but have no idea what is safe for a child.

RayABlokeIUsedToKnow Sat 19-Oct-13 08:06:04

Just buy him a different toy train that is made for children.

Child gets train as intended.
Grandma assumes the train she is thanked for is the train she bought.
No one gets maimed.
Everyone is a winner!

mammmamia Sat 19-Oct-13 07:51:04

I can't believe all the flack you're getting. I don't think that's PFB at all. I have twins the same age. PFB doesn't exist when you have twins! Anyway - I wouldn't give it to him unless he could understand it was only a decoration and actually what's the point of a decorative piece for a 4 year old? He'd probably lose interest anyway after a while if it has no play value so perhaps you could quietly put it away after a few days.

Picklemom Sat 19-Oct-13 00:25:16

True, if DH does succeed in altering it to make it safe, I'll change my stance. But DH seems suddenly less keen to try after closer examination of the object in question.

fortyplus Sat 19-Oct-13 00:21:57

Your dh wishes to give your son his mother's gift and has undertaken to make it safe. That sounds sensible to me.

Picklemom Sat 19-Oct-13 00:18:49

fortyplus, if you read my original post, you'll note that my questions were not whether to give it to him to play with (because I specifically noted that I wasn't going to be doing that), but whether to tell my MIL about it, or gloss the whole thing over, and whether I should get him a replacement present and tell him it's really from Gran. Which I am planning on doing--I agree with other posters that it seems the right thing to do.

SingingSands Sat 19-Oct-13 00:15:24

OP, you posted on "what would you do?" not on "I want you all to agree with what I want to do".

Stop being so aggressive when people are suggesting answers to your queries.

Picklemom Sat 19-Oct-13 00:15:06

I do accept responsibility for careless use of language in my original post. I shouldn't have described the thing as a toy train, because I don't believe that is what it is. It is more properly described as a model, made of thin, sharp tin with lots of pointy bits where the tin was cut into sharp points and not even filed down, and it is certainly not designed for kids.

fortyplus Sat 19-Oct-13 00:13:31

Don't let him climb trees or play conkers, either then. Why did you post if you've already made up your mind?

BrianTheMole Sat 19-Oct-13 00:11:21

No hide it away or get rid and say thanks. I have done the same with unsafe toys.

Picklemom Sat 19-Oct-13 00:08:11

thlhmm
So are you seriously arguing that I should give a train that was very obviously designed not as a child's toy but as an office or other decoration for an adult train enthusiast to a young boy, in spite of the fact that it scratched me while I was handling it lightly?

Drinking small amounts of bleach probably wouldn't kill him either, when you put it like that. I won't be allowing that either, though.

fortyplus Sat 19-Oct-13 00:01:15

You obviously weren't very careful then! Your son won't kill himself with it.

Picklemom Fri 18-Oct-13 23:57:59

Really, fortyplus? I'm being pfb when I'm sitting here bleeding because of the silly thing?

fortyplus Fri 18-Oct-13 23:48:46

Tell him it's a precious thing to look at not play with and that he's very lucky to receive such a grown-up gift. Then let him take it down from the shelf under supervision. You're being very pfb

Picklemom Fri 18-Oct-13 23:43:05

To quietlysuggest, if my own mother gave it my son would not get it, and I would not agonize over whether to talk to her about it either--I'd tell her it wasn't safe and why. But greater diplomacy is required for the MIL. I'd rather just leave it alone, or let my husband find a nice way to tell her.

To AlexaChelsea, it is rather big--about a foot long and half a foot high.

But the good news is, you all made me second guess myself, so I've gone back to check the train again, scratched myself on it (although I was handling it with care), taken it over to my husband and gently guided his hand across the sharp points (which I think he overlooked somehow), and he asked me to stop and agreed that the thing HURTS.

I'll consider letting my son have it as an ornament on a high shelf, though. He's old enough to understand that some things are just decorations. But I will have to put up with some fussing from him while he gets used to the idea of a train he can only look at.

DaleyBump Fri 18-Oct-13 23:36:02

I wouldn't give him it if you're that worried about it OP. Better safe than sorry.

OhBuggerandArse Fri 18-Oct-13 23:33:10

It sounds like a really special thing that he would love. Give it to him, show him how to be careful with it, and don't leave him and his sister squabbling unsupervised with it in the room.

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 18-Oct-13 23:32:59

Put it on a nice high shelf and let him have it under supervision.

CookieDoughKid Fri 18-Oct-13 23:30:54

if it won't pass toy safety tests then I wouldn't give it to him. I would keep it for him and give when he's older/when you think he's old enough......
if you don't want to disrupt the status quo then buy a replacement gift and make no fuss of it.....

AlexaChelsea Fri 18-Oct-13 23:03:23

Wow it must be huge!

Then, I'd explain to him that it's not a toy but an ornament.

Picklemom Fri 18-Oct-13 23:01:56

To clarify, sharp metal edges and about 50 unbent, uncovered, uncoated metal points (especially on the front "cow catcher" that really feels a bit like a cheese grater) that make me say "ouch" when I touch them. He might be careful with the train for awhile, but then there will be a squabble with his twin, things will get a bit hectic, someone will fall on it, and blood will spill.

quietlysuggests Fri 18-Oct-13 23:00:19

If your own mother gave it would you pass it on to your son?
Personally its hard to see this as anything other than you being very fussy / hard to please.
I would give him the toy.

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