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in wanting to tell my nana to STOP buying secondhand toys and clothes for my dds every week.

(18 Posts)
princessglitter Sat 16-Aug-08 14:24:03

We live in a three bedroomed semi which is not huge and it is a struggle for me to keep my two children's toys (2.5 and 10 months) organised. Sometimes I feel I am drowning in clutter!

My nana comes to visit her great-grandchildren every week and it is lovely that she takes such an interest in them. However, she delights in bringing STUFF with her - food we won't eat and don't need (tinned corn beef anyone? Bleurgh) second hand toys which are ripped, stained or age-inappropriate and clothes which are the wrong style or size e.g. a Barbie dress for a 8 year old!

The worst thing is when she buys big things, like the wooden table and chair which is covered in scratch marks and means that I can't buy the lovely child's table I had been coveting. If I say I want to buy something, she finds a broken, old or stained version in a charity shop!

This week she bought 10 month old dd2 a doll with hair that came out and was clearly a choking hazard. dd1 was given a remote control car minus the remote control.

I have tried to tell her to stop, but she gets extremely offended and tells me that she only buys the 'best.'

I am conscious of the fact that she is in her 70s and loves the dds very much and I don't want to hurt her feelings. But I cannot cope with anymore stuff. We are filling a charity bag up every week with toys and clothes.

So am I being unreasonable to ask her to stop? How can I do it nicely?

takingitasitcomes Sat 16-Aug-08 14:30:24

YANBU but I can't think of an easy way to get her to stop. Perhaps try to focus on the space issue rather than implying any type of rejection of the actual items she's buying you? So be really grateful for whatever is the next awful gift she brings, but follow it up with 'please stop buying dds more things as we are going to have to start throwing things away to make room for it all'.

Good luck!
TIAICsmile

MissisBoot Sat 16-Aug-08 14:35:05

Oh - I feel your pain - dd is always being given tonnes of crap gifts from a family member.

Could you not visit her once a week and encourage her to keep the crap toys at her house?

Twiglett Sat 16-Aug-08 14:36:04

you just stay grateful

and then bag it up and take it down the charity shop the next day

and you buy the stuff you want

if she's bought a table and you had your eye on one, buy it anyway and get rid of the table she got you .. if she notices and comments say it broke

princessglitter Sat 16-Aug-08 14:37:09

Her house is not really appropriate for a toddler to visit as it is crammed with breakable nick-nacks from floor to ceiling!

shrinkingsagpuss Sat 16-Aug-08 14:38:11

oh dear. souds like a mild version of my mother - DM at least buys the right sizes, and checks clothes are in one piece. Toys however are often only half the toy, but never in really poor condition.

I found with her (and this is my mOTHER!) that I only really needed to offend her once, and she stops fro quite a while. somethign along the lines of "OMG that's hideous" should do the trick. or try the " they simply DON"T need any more toys, we don't have the space" = "Nan, these will go straight back to the chairty shop" is another tack (altthoug if the stuf is that rubbish it's not very fair to send it back TBH - I'd bin it)

shrinkingsagpuss Sat 16-Aug-08 14:38:48

oh hang on - no, it amkes my mother sound mild!! not the other way round.

MissisBoot Sat 16-Aug-08 14:39:34

Maybe you should risk it anyway - it might help her understand why you don't want so much clutter.

princessglitter Sat 16-Aug-08 14:39:39

I can't bin things, I just hate to think of all that STUFF going into landfill.

ilovemydog Sat 16-Aug-08 14:46:40

She will probably find the stuff you take to the charity shop again! smile

I have the same problem with my mil. It's so hard not to scream, 'stop buying crap!'

Could you say something like, oh, please save your money and perhaps we could go shopping together?

princessglitter Sat 16-Aug-08 14:48:25

I could try the 'Oh you shouldn't have' approach, although it might be a bit too subtle grin

KatieDD Sat 16-Aug-08 14:56:09

But what else can you do with it, if it's broken it's broken.
I sent loads of clothes, socks and stuff to the charity shop and they basically said underwear etc they can't sell so it goes in the bin. I mean surely some child would be in need of pretty pink socks my DD has out grown, we just never seem to know how to get it to those people.

willweeversell Sat 16-Aug-08 16:04:26

I think YABU.

I definately get the space issue, but your nana is froma generation which lived under very different circumstances than ours, (unless she is lucky enough to have had a very welathy family).

Its the same as my GP's, they spent most of their childhoods/early married lives under the war years, re-using, re-cycling, buying second hand was absolutely normal as most people didnt have the resources to buy new and a lot of toys were either hand made or improvised. The stuff in charity shops probably seems fab to her.

Putting it in that context it must be difficult for your Nana, who obviously thinks a lot of you and her GGC to understand that we live in such plentiful times. My Granny buys innappropriate gifts for my Ds (such as massive teddy with buttons for eyes when he was newborn, clothes too small etc) but I would never ever want to upset her buy pointing out her error.

It must be frustrating that she gets offended, but I suppose some of it may be embarrassment. She wants to buy her GGC toys etc but maybe she isn't in a position to buy brand new?

I think you have already devised a reasonable strategy, ie accepting the stuff and then simply popping it into a charity bag or throwing the worst away. If she is not noticing/complaining then it seems like a workable strategy.

TheProvincialLady Sat 16-Aug-08 16:14:03

My MIL is just the same and it is not the second handness I object to, it is just the sheer bloody quantity. I don't think any child needs so much STUFF. But I am quite mercenary with it now and a lot goes in the bin or to a different charity shop. Luckily it's just toys (always with an essential part missing) and the clothes she buys are always brand new from Gap or M&S so we are very lucky there.

I think part of it is she thinks I buy DS rubbish toys because she always buys him plastic tat which he doesn't have a lot of, and when she comes here she only plays with him with toys she has bought him and reads books she has bought toogrin

Nowadays if stuff is dangerous I ask her to take it home with her.

bergentulip Sat 16-Aug-08 16:22:27

Just explain that you don't like spoiling your children, and they don't need so many toys.

Don't need to say you have a problem where it is coming from.

ninedragons Sat 16-Aug-08 16:24:30

I think your grandmother is just enjoying the pleasure of being generous and expressing her love for your kids.

I agree that the tactful way to address it would be to explain gently that the children have enough stuff, and every now and again perhaps you could go shopping together for something they really need.

Please don't hurt her feelings - bag it up and send it straight back to the charity shop by all means, but she is doing it with love and you can't fault that.

dropinthe Sat 16-Aug-08 16:34:38

My sons grandfather regularly comes back from pound shops with toy knives/daggers/guns/baseball bats etc-we COULD have a small arsenal and start our own street gang-I also find it extremely hard telling him No, so can feel your pain. He is from Ireland when, at his age you did carry a knife around with you as did all his peers,it was for skinning rabbits etc and for boy things.They would never even think to use it on another person. I just let the boys play with them for a day or two and they then the toys miraculously disappear in the rubbish. They never remember them and never ask where such a such knife/sword is. I know that is hard to do with a bloody great big table but it could the answere to some of the smaller stuff?

SofiaAmes Sat 16-Aug-08 16:39:32

Why don't you try steering her towards books instead of toys. It's hard to go wrong with books and they are much easier to store/get rid of.

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