After receiving many wonderful gifts for the baby from friends and family, it took a few weeks for us to get our feet under us, establish a rythym, get used to the new gig. I imagine this may take another couple of decades, but we are much recovered from the initial month.
So, we've started to sort through stuff that we found we like, stuff we need, and stuff we couldn't use - for example, lots of newborn clothes that were given that she grew out of before she could wear them (she's in 75% for height now, and climbing!). I have a great big pile of baby clothes that we'll find new homes for. I think used baby clothes are a fantastic idea -- they only wear them so briefly! I've asked my mom to comb the local goodwill for more outfits for her size.
There is also a bag of baby toys to give away....and that's where the trouble lies. I've sent the following to my family, and apparently it pisses them off (paraphrasing):
1) thank you for all the wonderfully generous stuff you gave when M was born, its been so helpful.
2) now that we're settled in, going forward we have certain preferences. We recognize that everyone is different, but the stores generally sell the same stuff -- so here's what we prefer for M, if you think of a gift for christmas, birthday, etc. Please help us by using this as your guideline.
** Nothing from China -- no exceptions.
** No toys made of plastic. Rare exceptions will be made solely by us.
** No teethers, baubles, or similar attention grabbers made of anything you couldn't grind up and eat. Meaning, no petroleum products or plastics.
** Stuffed animals: same thing.
** If it needs batteries, she doesn't need it. Rare exceptions will be made solely by us.
** No plastic clothes, or clothes that don't comply with Rule 1. We strongly prefer natural fibers - cotton, wool, linen, leather. However, this is a toughie: in general, most kids dont eat their clothes. And stuff like fleece is awesome - light and fuzzy, inexpensive, and babies dig it. Still - please seek out natural fibers if or when you can.
And that's the rules. Yep, it pissed my mom off: I should be more grateful, she says. I think that I made our thankfulness clear in the note, and went back and called everyone to make it more personal and clear that we aren't upset by anything we've been given. However, 2/3 of what we received is now in a bag by the front door, most of it unopened. Wouldn't you prefer to know, for future gift occassions?
If I knew you hated guns, but kept giving you guns, do I have a right to be angry if you kindly, gently say "please: no more guns." ? I don't think so, that's just communication.
And its harder with friends - they keep sending us poison. We were given lots of tubes of Baby Skin Poison from relatives. I'm grateful for the thought behind it, but... into the bag by the front door it goes. This is hard: the bigbox stores put the same bullshit out in the aisles, and people think that its "normal" to use and buy this stuff. Even to need it. Neither is true for us. In an effort to be friendly and nonoffensive, folks buy what the see in BabiesR'Us, thinking it works for everyone.
Sigh... I am grateful for the thought behind the gifts, and its a damn shame that most of what we've received went straight into the giveaway pile. Baby stuff is expensive!
But in the end, I answer to my daughter, and have to do my best by her.