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To not have gotten my niece anything for her birthday?

(18 Posts)
whyisitalwaysmyfault Wed 29-Jul-09 22:20:35

I will try and keep this brief and understand if others think I am behaving badly. I have name changed.

Anyway to try and be brief my bil and sil are going through a very acrimonious divorce.
I can sympathise with both parties and have not taken sides or bad-mouthed either party.
Since they married they have had very little contact with either myself or my dh and my children.
BIl has been married 3 times in total, sil twice. Neither had maintained any contact with ex in laws what-so-ever.
My dh has said that every single time his brother has married he has cut all contact with my dh and it is a standing joke with him that his brother will only contact him when he is between wives.

They have visited our house once in 12 years (we live 20 mins drive away) I have lost count of the number of times we have visited them with birthday/Christmas presents for their children. We have 3 children but they have always left our presents with my in laws(whom we don't see that often and who also live about 20 mins drive away from either of us. Alternatively they post out card/presents. On many, many occassions this has resulted in my children receiving presents several months after their birthday and has been very difficult for me to come up with excuses for them.

When it was my dds birthday (7) she received niether a card or present. My mil came to visit us on my dd birthday but expressed concern that she might have bil with her and he would feel uncomfortable as he hadn't bought her a present or card. Dispite the fact that he would have to drive past a local shop selling cards and he could quite easily have put some money in a card!!!!!!!!!

Both sil and bil earn far, far more than than me and dh put together. I am talking well over £35,000 each so money is not the issue.
Anyway dd received absolutely nothing for her birthday, fair enough.
However recieved a call from mil, dh answered and she was basically reminding us that it is niece's birthday tomorrow and hopefully we will buy her a nice present!!!!
Apart from the fact that my dd got nothing, we have no idea where my neice is living as sil left marital home and has changed her mob no.
I am not in the habbit of tracking her down so to speak. I offered to meet up with her when she first left but she declined, fair enough.

My dh told mil what he thought of the pair of them and that no, neice will be receiving exactly the same as what my dd received-nothing!!!!

I know it is not my niece's fault but neither is it my dd's fault and bil confirmed that he did know it was my dd's birthday and was "sorry" he didn't bother to get her anything.

Am I really that unreasonable under the circumstances to treat others how they have treated me?

jennymac Wed 29-Jul-09 22:29:50

It's a tricky one. I do sympathise with you and understand why you are thinking of not buying her anything but then it does seem unfair to your neice whose life seems to be unsettled at the moment. It might be nice to be the bigger person and buy her something - it wouldn't have to be expensive but just to let her know you are thinking of her.

cheesesarnie Wed 29-Jul-09 22:32:16

i think yabu the grown up and treat others as you wish to be treated-isnt that what we teach our children?

LittleMissMummy Wed 29-Jul-09 22:33:39

I can totally see your side of this and for your DD not to receive a birthday present or even a card from her uncle is really unacceptable but I do think that its not really your neice's fault that her Dad is an idiot smile

If you normally get her a card and/or present then if I were you I would continue to do so - although you could just not bothering getting him anything for his birthday grin

Its totally up to you though, if you didnt get her anything then your bil cant really complain.

MinkyBorage Wed 29-Jul-09 22:34:03

yabu, what harm is it buying her a gift, she's probably having a shit time and it might be nice for her to be reminded that she has some decent family out there! It's not her fault her parents didn't get your dd a gift

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 29-Jul-09 22:34:39

YANBU, on the face of it. But I was wondering - your MIL's call. Is this normal behaviour for her? Or does she know something you don't and hasn't thought to tell you, such as how your niece is feeling/reacting to the acrimonious divorce? What sort of a relationship do you have with the niece anyway? Just wondering, it seems a bit weird on MIL's part, but maybe that's her normal?

Tommy Wed 29-Jul-09 22:37:10

It's a tricky one and I can understand why you don't want to send a present but none of this is your niece's fault.

I always send presents (or at least a card) to my nieces and nephews irrespective of whether I'm currently on speaking terms with their parents.

Can you (or rather your DH sicne it is his family) send a card with a voucher in it to your MILs?

whyisitalwaysmyfault Wed 29-Jul-09 22:38:17

Yes I can see wher you are both coming from_BUT They are not treating my dd fairly either. Btw sil left last year so it isn't like the seperation is prevalent on her mind.
Also if they had actually taken the time to bother and deliver a birthday/Christmas present to any of my dcs then perhaps I would be more inclined to let this one go iyswim.
We have had years of us being the better person and hand delivering presents on time for their dcs in the hope that they would be polite and do the same but no, dump it at mils and let our dcs have belated gifts.

Tommy Wed 29-Jul-09 22:48:55

you have to decide whether you want to behave like them or behave better than them smile

whyisitalwaysmyfault Wed 29-Jul-09 22:52:00

Sorry x posted!

tbh I don't have any relationship with neices/nephew as since the split we haven't seen them (I did offer to meet up but sil didn't want to).

It is a strange situation and in the past we have offered to have niece over to stay (she is close in age to my eldest dd) she has begged her mum and dad in front of me to let her stay but they have always said we will see and then never let it happen once we have left.

Bil is not being allowed any unsupervised access and mil has not seen kids at all this year. Like I said very acrimonious so I do not hold out any hope of seeing them tbh. My other sil, bil sister (who also has not seen the dcs)said at the very beginning that that would be the last we would see the children. She is very close to bil and he has confided in her a lot.

All bizzare I know, the other thing is I doubt whether sil would give neice the present as I have the feel;ing she is trying to erase us from her life-but I don't have concrete evidence of this.

Perhaps I will forward a card to bil and see if he can get it to her.

Ps Whereyouleftit. No I don't think mil knows anything extra that we don't but she has always made excuses for bil. I think she finds it hard to believe that he is going through his 3rd divorce and is trying to smooth the edges as she knows my dh speaks his mind and neither of are in the least surprised that they are getting divorced.

ingles2 Wed 29-Jul-09 22:54:34

no I wouldn't bother... my db doesn't bother to get anything for my dc's so I don't bother for his.
That's not being mean, I think he whole pressie thing is ridiculous anyway. As if people haven't got enough to worry about with remembering a gift for a child they rarely see or know
The children always get far too much and shouldn't expect from anyone other than their parents.

skybright Wed 29-Jul-09 22:57:13

My ex is no longer alive but had a child from a previous relationship,i hate the childs mother with a passion but have always given birthday and christmas presents through her gran for her.

She is now almost 14 and last easter came to visit with her gran with a lovely present for me!! Her gran said that she has always appreciated the gifts that i have given her and bought me something out of her own money.

My girls have never even had a card from there half sisters mum on her behalf.

But anyway that was more than enough thanks to know that the little girl had noticed over all these years.

SoccerMum Wed 29-Jul-09 23:01:17

I think that YABU

If this is the only recent time they have forgotten your DDs birthday then it will save a great deal of hassle and pain to even out a tenner in a card and post to your in laws.

At least they wont be able to call you on it then!

Toffeepopple Wed 29-Jul-09 23:07:01

I have been sending my nephews' presents for ten years and counting..... my kids yet to get anything.

Not sure mine is the right approach, mind.

whyisitalwaysmyfault Wed 29-Jul-09 23:10:43

Good post skybright.
It is such a difficult situation.

Soccermum- I think I am miffed deep down that they never bothered to make sure that gifts arrived on time or brought them personally. Like I said before my bil is only ever interested in anyone else when he no longer has a wife!
Once he gets married again I am convinced we will not hear from him!

But I know that non of this is my poor niece's fault so might go ahead and try getting a card to her via bil.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 29-Jul-09 23:31:14

I still believe YANBU; but I now think, from your subsequent postings, that you would feel bad about yourself if you did not attempt to get at least a card to your niece. I think if it got to her, your niece would probably appreciate it just as much as a present. Is there any possibility your BIL could forward a message to SIL attempting to open a channel between, say, niece and your DD? It sounds like she'd refuse, but who cares about her, I just think it might be best for you to feel you'd gone the extra mile.

whyisitalwaysmyfault Thu 30-Jul-09 22:35:16

Update-spoke to dh and said that I think we should send her a card at least.
So bought her a nice card and have got her c/o address from mil.
Mil has also sent a card but is not seeing her.
I didn't get her a present as didn't like the idea of sending anything valuable to a c/o address iyswim.
I also slipped a note in the card and gave her my dd's mobile number encouraging her to make contact with my dd (her cousin).

If I/we don't hear anything will try the same tactic at Christmas with another card.

nakaji Thu 30-Jul-09 23:07:52

I don't understand why you were buying presents for each other's children in the first place if you weren't in contact with each other.
That's incredibly false.
Tit-for-tat is for kids - but don't get the point of giving stuff to kids just for appearances. Kids shouldn't be getting lots of presents for their birthdays anyway. I think you are being childish, not unreasonable, but I think you were being ridiculous buying each other present's in the first place.

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