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Old 05-06-2017, 05:17 PM
7 posts, read 6,256 times
Reputation: 33


So I'll try to make this concise. My only child (son) and DIL have a 1-1/2-year-old daughter. I live a 7-hour drive away and am not exactly flush with cash (to say the least). I get to see them on my birthday, Christmas, and the baby's birthday (at their house). This past Christmas my son called and asked what I was getting my granddaughter. I replied that I hadn't gotten paid yet but it would be something fun. End of conversation. Got paid, went shopping at my local big box, and in the "Toddler Toy" aisle I spotted a tiny plastic pink tricycle among the ride-on toddler toys. It was only $29! Score! I was so very excited, showed all my friends my cute gift, wrapped it nice, and headed South. Got there Christmas afternoon (after being told to show up after 12:00 because "we want to be alone with our family on Christmas morning") okayyyy.... Anyway, get there and DIL's family is already there. We start opening gifts. I bring out the wrapped tiny tricycle. Granddaughter opens the paper, big smile, hops on, and I show her how to steer and pedal. Glance up to see my DIL Sobbing and my son comforting her. Her family is looking at me horrified. I'm confused. My son takes me into the kitchen (seethingly angry) and tells me I'll have to return the tricycle. Followed by "You've ruined Christmas. You've robbed us of the opportunity to gift our daughter her first bicycle. You were the first one to put her feet on the pedals and her hands on the handlebars, not us". I reply that it's just a toddler ride on toy, not "her first bicycle" (which to me means 2 wheels and training wheels). They literally take her off the toy and throw it into the yard. I am ignored the rest of Christmas day. My DIL takes the baby and goes to her mom's for 5 hours. My son refuses to speak to me. I am informed that I must get pre-approval for all gifts here on in, and that "stuffed animals and books" have worked for you up until now so stick with that". As I was getting ready to leave late that night (in tears and a day early - can't take the stress) I spot the tricycle lying in the yard and put it into the garbage, having no wish to look at it for the 7-hour drive North. Pack my car and go in to say goodbye. As I'm leaving, I'm told "We know you threw the tricycle away, we took it out of the garbage. How wasteful of you. You could have donated it to someone". More tears and I said my goodbyes. I told them I had no intention of robbing them of a precious moment - I was just a Nani hoping to get her only GD a fun toy. I was never so happy to leave them and Xmas behind (extremely super sad).

Fast forward to this weekend - GD's birthday. I've been invited back but had to send a list of what I would like to get her for pre-approval (a baby doll, chalkboard). Both things refused. I was told to get her a toddler basketball hoop and "here is the link for the one we want". okay..... Understandably I'm not much looking forward to this visit. Quite frankly, I'm scared of what I'll do wrong this time.

What happened to when someone gives you a gift you say thank you, smile, and then wait for them to leave and do what you want with it? I am insane? Was this a rational response on their part? Was I out of line? I thought my son had some manners but since the marriage it seems it's all about them - their way or the highway. To be fair, they are both upstanding, hardworking, good parents. They do allow me to visit 3 times a year (they moved her mom to be 5 minutes away (45 minutes was apparently too far). And yes I'm a bit jealous that they can fly with the baby to Europe, Texas, Bahamas (all with her family) but New England (7 hour drive) is "too far and there's nothing there" (ummm..... me?). So yes I have hurt feelings all the way around. Any advice, suggestions, commisuration). Am I the only one with kids who treat them with no respect at all? And by the way, I am a hardworking upstanding individual myself who once had (I thought) a good relationship with my son. Sad and confused......
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:35 PM
Location: here
24,472 posts, read 28,750,429 times
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I'm a mom and a daughter and a DIL, not a grandma. I do not put a toddler ride-on toy in the same category as a bike. I think they over-reacted and were rude. Really rude. Now if you had bought her her first bike, I would understand mom and dad being upset. But you didn't.

Buying off a list makes sense because duplicates can be prevented and mom and dad will approve. I do know what it feels like to watch your kid unwrap a gift that you didn't really want them to have. Buy what they ask for and hope for the best. Sorry they treated you that way.
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:55 PM
6,760 posts, read 2,623,927 times
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I think your daughter in law and son are bizarre. Gifts from grandma are to be treasured - and even bragged about. "Look at this darling little pink trike Nani got for her for Christmas! She's just thrilled to death - won't get off the thing! How cute is that?" Love from grandma is to be treasured. Siblings actually get hard feelings over the belief that grandma gave better gifts/more time/more attention/whatever to a siblings kids over their own.

I have a friend in just your situation. For her granddaughter's first birthday she put together a DARLING published photobook - like a Shutterfly thing. It was really so very cute. Included the child, pictures of family on both sides, very special. After they left the birthday party, the daughter emailed her mother that she had robbed her of publishing the "first" picture book of her daughter (HELLO, those photo books are the grandmother's "thing". She does them all the time, the daughter had never done one before, ever). It came to light later that the Son in Law was mad about it and really wished that my friend's side of the family didn't exist. Because he's weird. And possessive. And his parents have an open invitation but hers have to schedule visits and then for only just so long.

I sense your DIL is the same way. But I have to ask - is there bad blood between you and your son? A difficult divorce, a difficult relationship with your DIL that you are partially responsible for?

Also, do you have other children who will treat you with more respect? Funny, when my friend's son had a baby (second grandchild for her) and she was welcome to shower that baby with attention, the daughter suddenly decided it was perfectly fine for grandma to give her child lots and lots of attention. And gifts.

I'm sorry you're being treated like this. So hurtful.
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:07 PM
7 posts, read 6,256 times
Reputation: 33
Thank you both for your responses. I appreciate the support. Bizarre is absolutely the word. And my son and I had (I thought) a very close and loving relationship (single mom) until he married. DIL seems to want a good relationship but just gets weirder and weirder. On the other hand they do some wonderful things (well, A wonderful thing). I had casually mentioned I'd someday like to see the ponies on Chincoteague (they live in VA). So for Xmas my gift was that they rented a house on Chincoteague for 3 days for all of us. I was very touched that they'd hear a casual wish and make it happen for me. (Unfortunately it will also include Her omnipresent mother who is very possessive about the baby - tells me how to play with her, never leaves us alone together, etc.), so it's a mixed blessing. That's why I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone with them. You never know what's going to happen, how they're going to feel - it's like walking on eggshells all the time. Also, what ever happened to plain old "respect your elders"? I would Never have made my mother cry (and we weren't that close/physically abused/beaten - the good old days LOL). The times they are a changing (and not for the better). Kids today are so entitled. I never beat my son but sometimes I wonder maybe I should have (not really, but....) LOL. anyway - thanks for the responses.
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:17 AM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,075 posts, read 37,733,259 times
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OP, it appears you have had the bad luck of inheriting a controlling daughter-in-law who also has a controlling mother.

I could spend hours delving into the psychological possibilities of their dynamic, but instead I will save some time and tell you this:

Now that you know how they are, you will need to very carefully think about your decisions from now on if you want a relationship with them (even though it is not much of a relationship).

Make no mistake: Their behavior was VERY rude, and the way you described what your son said to you is so over-the-top that I doubted its veracity for a minute. But it is on the extreme end of very common behavior when a guy has chosen an immature wife who has very specific ideas about baby-raising, and a very domineering MIL as well. And unfortunately for you, since you are "only" the mother of the son and not the babymama, you will never get first dibs on stuff the way HER mother will. I have seen it in action so many times. It's not fair, but it is reality for people like this.

Your son's anger toward you is an unfortunate but common survival skill for guys in that situation.

So ... now that you know this about your DIL, you will need to understand that if you don't want to upset them ***gasp*** you will need to stay away from any of the milestone gifts that they may want to give. I kind of understand their thought process because my parents have given stuff that I wanted to be the one to gift my kids with, like laptops before I thought they were ready for them or trips to places I wanted to be the one to share with them. But I didn't throw a fit about it. I just tried to be thankful they had grandparents who could do that for them.

I would just ask him each holiday to send you a list of acceptable items from which you can choose, and choose that which you can afford. It's the path of least resistance here, and it looks like there is going to be a LOT of resistance no matter what you do. So don't overthink it.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:30 AM
7 posts, read 6,256 times
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Yep - Wmsn4life - you hit the nail on the head. The birthday trip this weekend went okay except: When the baby was born we (they) decided what the grandparents would be called. Her mother chose Grandma and I was Nani (I loved being Nani because that's the name my own grandmother was to me). This weekend I arrived and walked in the door at the same time as her mother and the baby says "Nani!" I was thrilled. Turns out that now the baby can talk her mother wants to be Nani and has changed her name. Seriously? Oh and I was informed that they'll be transferring back to Hawaii and her mother will accompanying them when she retires as "we need help". You need help? One kid and my DIL doesn't even work - why would you possibly 'need help'? I mentioned that I'm self employed from home and have been for 40+ years and can work from anywhere in the world. Answer - oh you couldn't afford it. I have now sadly accepted that I will be the stranger grandmother. Maybe when my GD is 18 I can have a relationship with her - I'll clutch that straw for the next 16 years. I really do miss my son though. Oh well....
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:05 PM
122 posts, read 133,044 times
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This whole thread just makes me so sad for you Whlady. There is no reason a loving, caring grandma should be relegated to being a stranger. Your DIL sounds like a piece of work, but your son isn't helping the situation. Unfortunately, as a grandparent, there's not much you can do, except speak to your son and let him know how you feel. This may not change anything, but at least you'll get it off your chest. Do what you can from a distance, continue to send cards and occasional gifts. Perhaps Skype from time to time. I count myself very fortunate to have full access to all of my grandchildren whenever I want. I cannot imagine the heartache you must feel.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:47 PM
Location: here
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Thinking about my own family, I was raised with lots of cousins (i.e. grand kids). I was one of the youngest, and by the time I was old enough to remember, the grand parents were no longer buying gifts for the kids. If they did, it was something very small.

My husband was raised as one of only 2 grand kids. In his family, the grand parents bought the big gifts. I think that's what has lead to some awkward gift giving situations on our family. My parents now feel like they have to compete with his parents. I don't know if anything like that is going on with your son and DIL.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:30 PM
1,672 posts, read 692,962 times
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It's really sad that the daughter-in-laws parents live close (I assume) and you are further away and can't know your granddaughter as well. Because you live 7 hours away and can't travel often, you won't get to know your granddaughter as well. (I am in the same boat) I bet they don't treat the other parents like they do you. No. I almost wonder if they do have them on a pre-approved gift list. You should ask sometime.

It is controlling. It's stupid. It ruins wanting to give a gift, any gift. It makes you not want to participate in gift giving. Now I was in your shoes and I guess I still am. I don't know my grandkids as well because they are long distance. Their interests change from day to day. And I'm not going to play the give one sister the exact same item so the two won't fight over it. No. No identical presents. One can get a doll and the other something else. If they fight then the parents need to be parents.

Have you tried homemade presents? Those are the best and should be treasured. Why not make your own story book that can be read to her? Some of the best stories written started with a bedtime story. How about a crocheted blanket? Cross stitch wall hanging? I really loved a wooden puzzle with the kids name in big blocks and it's a painting project. How about bringing some nice art paper and poster paints and do some hand prints with her and that's your gift? Then keep a few for yourself and date them. Bring a frame to put the print for your son and his wife -- Hopefully in a color to match the kid's room. I treasure my kid's handprints.

So from personal experience.
I have given clothes. Eventually I was told they don't have enough storage space and to stop sending them.
I have made things. I never did find out what happened to that baby blanket I slaved over.
I have sent stuffed animals. I asked one daughter if she liked them and she had no idea what I was talking about. This was in the last few months and this granddaughter is eleven. Old enough to know stuff!
Craft items. Those do get used but then I hear complaints about the mess.
Toys. I was told more recently that some new toys are 'put up' because they have enough. In other words I have no idea if they've gotten them.
Now the oldest granddaughter doesn't like hand-me-downs. Okay. I bought her a new coat and her mom complained it was white. ?? So her next coat I bought was a navy blue. The only reply I got from that one was 'I'm so glad I could wear it another year.'
I sent money and instead of the child getting it and spending it, her dad puts it in the bank for her.
Shoes. I bought two of the girls a few pairs of various shoes on one visit and the answer from my son now is 'They don't wear them.' 'Don't buy any more.' And once the shoes were home (with the girls after their visit to see us) 'They're all over the floor, they never pick them up, I keep tripping on them.' So. No more shoes.

Throughout the years of all of this I have never gotten a thank you. Not from the kids. Not from our son. Never from the daughter-in-law. As this has gone on for over 10 years I told them we aren't doing Christmas unless we're all together. I don't send birthday gifts, not anymore. I don't send birthday cards. Why should I when I never get any feedback? And as of last year we don't send money. There's a time when you just say, I've had enough. I've put myself out there and all I get back in flack, no thanks, and frankly, I'm not going to be seen as the grandparent that provides and provides.

Sorry your post got me thinking of my own grandparent problems.
You should remind your son that you don't have the means to provide what you want to get your granddaughter, so what you do fall in love with and want to give her should be held in high regard. WHAT THE HECK with tears over the toddler cycle? They do know you'll miss that event as will you'll miss so many more? I bet you weren't there for the first tooth, the first step, and crawling? Who cares? You ought to tell your son you were really hurt by how he handled that. They should've kept the bike. If you had to return it, I would've returned it and said fine, I can't find something I like, but I send my best.

I can say one thing about my own gift giving. I've never been restricted like that. Yet again, the feedback made my gift giving so restricted that now I don't give. You might remind your son of that if the restrictions are so harsh you can't deal with how that makes you feel. Maybe give hair ornaments for the little girl and be done.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:55 PM
18,854 posts, read 6,160,004 times
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Here's one for you, when my first grandgirl was born I would pick cute things up at target in the way of clothing....only to hear from my daughter, mom I buy all gap clothes and really don't like target stuff....

Well, from just about then on I gave cards with Green $$$$...no way was I going to sweat over trying to get the perfect stuff.

So so many are so spoiled today...really spoiled. And not grateful and little respect for the grands.

What got me a lot with daughter and her husband was taking off shoes and walking on cold hardwood floors for years. WIth family and friends gatherings at their hardwood house, piles of shoes at the door. The older folks (grands) had to walk in stocking or bare feet. I don't go there anymore since the sil passed at 55 about 3 yrs ago. Sad for the kids but he didn't take good care of his health. He was major controller too. The kids are 17 and 20 and with their busy lives don't see them much and I live 2 miles away. ummmmmmmm

I don't go where I don't feel comfortable...my friends are totally respectful and so much laid back with "stuff".

Last edited by jaminhealth; 05-22-2017 at 06:14 PM..
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