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  1. #1
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    Default What to tell kids about really inconsistent relatives?

    I'm not sure how to message my relatives to my DD.

    Both my parents and brother didn't acknowledge her birthday at all a few weeks ago. Now, it seems their regular pattern is emerging where they are both going to send her some massive Christmas present. Which since they called yesterday to see if we were going to be home for Christmas is going to show up 4 days after Christmas.

    They will want to make a big deal out of it calling every day to see if we've gotten it.

    Do I need to tell her anything about this- or just let her be happy about the late gift? I just don't want her to ever have any expectations - like Grandma might actually remember her birthday- as it is only a set up for a massive disappointment (and I would prefer to isolate her from that- heck I almost bought her a birthday gift from grandma.)

    Anyone else been through this?



  2. #2
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    Default

    How old is she?



  3. #3
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    Seems like a great way to help DD understand that everyone "does" holidays and occasions differently, and that that is OK. Let it be a nice surprise when the gift shows up and don't plant the seeds that someone doesn't care about her just because they did not send a present at birthday time.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


    18 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    My daughter's dad, his mom, and sister are like this. They'll go weeks or longer without seeing DD and then suddenly want to be involved. I'm so tired of them because she's old enough now to understand when they tell her something and they rarely follow through.

    I wouldn't tell your DD anything. Be excited about the gift when it finally arrives and make sure she thanks them for it. My DD loves her dad and his family and hasn't figured out their behaviour yet. She may wonder why mommy doesn't let her see them, as I'm sure that's what it seems to her, but I don't want to ruin what's left of that relationship for her. But I do tell these people, from time to time, what their behaviour does to my DD in case they really are too dense to see it. I don't feel that I need to hold back anything unless children are around.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    How old is your daughter? Speaking as a 32 year old who has gone through this and has only met 2 of her uncles once in her entire life, and the other uncle sent her an email telling her to "F*** off" on her 29th birthday......it's not really as big a deal as it seems.

    Just be consistent as a parent. If my PARENTS forgot my birthday, I'd be devastated. But Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles....not such a big deal to me. I've gotten used to it, I guess.
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Guessing it's more the curse of having a late birthday...
    Like people having their birthdays at or near Christmas, seldom getting two presents.

    (For the longest time I thought everybody had their birthday in the middle of summer, like me)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucassb View Post
    Seems like a great way to help DD understand that everyone "does" holidays and occasions differently, and that that is OK. Let it be a nice surprise when the gift shows up and don't plant the seeds that someone doesn't care about her just because they did not send a present at birthday time.
    Thanks! It wasn't the not sending a gift, but not even a call or remembering - she is the only granddaughter they have- and they do have me on speed dial when they have a problem. Then again I have decades of history - that I don't want to rub off on her.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    I had to deal with this kind of thing with my kids. I just never said anything about it. If and when presents arrived, they opened them, enjoyed the gifts, and wrote thank you notes. (And my ex used to "forget" the boys' birthdays all the time, especially the younger one's.)


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    It's only a big deal if you make it a big deal.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    9 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ybiaw View Post
    Just be consistent as a parent. If my PARENTS forgot my birthday, I'd be devastated. But Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles....not such a big deal to me. I've gotten used to it, I guess.
    Over the years my mother has shifted my birthday by one day. On the years she calls me it's now always one day early. I corrected her for a few years but then just gave up.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    As a grown-up, I can tell you that I said some not-very-nice things to my mom when my paternal grandmother died, because we rarely saw her. A few years later, my godmother/mom's BFFAEA told me how horrible my dad's mom was to my mom, and how my dad just packed mom up one day and took her back to her house in the city (she lived with my parents briefly when I was 6 months old and Grandpa had died), saying "You ruined my first marriage; you're not ruining this one too". Sounds like Grandma made her bed, and was stuck lying in it.

    But when you are 17, you know everything.

    My daughter's godmother (Tippy, for those who might recall my previous OT posts) is a lifelong friend who took a left turn at Albuquerque and isn't the person she was when I asked her to be DD's godmother 13+ years ago. So I have been subtly pulling back, not offering information, oh-no-you-don't-need-to-send-a-gift-for-______. Tippy's inconsistent at best, full on ignores for months/year+ at the worst, so it's not a big shock to DD not to hear from her. When Tippy sent an ornament with a brunette girl in red riding coat and tall boots to DD, who is blonde and rides western, it just got tucked into the bottom of DD's ornament box to perhaps be discovered at a later date - or discarded entirely.

    Because to me, I'd rather DD be completely ignored than receive something that blatantly says "I can't remember who you are, so I bought the same thing as my other GD" (who is brunette but also rides western).

    Kids are VERY observant, and they will figure out the fake "Oh thank you ____, it's wonderful" will allow them to disappear and not have to interact with these folks much.

    DD asked if she could ask one of my college roommates to be her godmother instead. Should happen 12/23, so I will update everyone if OT is still open.
    "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
    soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."


    Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    Guessing it's more the curse of having a late birthday...
    Like people having their birthdays at or near Christmas, seldom getting two presents.

    (For the longest time I thought everybody had their birthday in the middle of summer, like me)


    Exactly every six months I get presents - it's AWESOME!! And probably was the foundation for some of my OCD tendencies
    "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
    soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."


    Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Martini View Post
    Thanks! It wasn't the not sending a gift, but not even a call or remembering - she is the only granddaughter they have- and they do have me on speed dial when they have a problem. Then again I have decades of history - that I don't want to rub off on her.
    I just wouldn't take it as a deliberate slight, as it truly may not be. My brother has 3 small kids. I love them dearly, but I don't send them birthday cards/presents/calls. I *do* send them whopping Christmas gifts, and when they come to visit here, they always arrive to having their rooms fully stocked with lots of new fun toys to enjoy while they are here.

    I know my SIL thinks I am a jerk for not remembering their birthdays. Probably I should, and they should just be calendar entries or something so I am reminded in time to get presents. But I don't "skip" them out of any kind of disregard.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    kids are pretty smart...so don't let your disappointment flavor the situation. Don't mention anything unless she does and then just say ' I'm sorry you are disappointed' don't make excuses or say anything more. If you have a 'history' of this why not drop a hint, in conversation, a few days before her birthday 'we're doing such and such to celebrate DD's daughter but she'll have her cell phone so she won't miss your call.

    Make an acknowledgment to the relative when they DO remember - 'DD was so happy to hear from you - your call really meant a lot to her' not 'thanks for calling' because that sounds like they are doing DD or you a favor and not in front of DD. And teach DD that calling or sending a card is important by doing that to the others without the expectation of something in return...it teaches your child to be generous.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    for the grandmother's b'day send her a birthday book. Each month has a listing of birthdays/anniversaries and a pocket to store cards you buy in advance because you found JUST the right card.



  16. #16
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    This advise depends on the age of the child since at some point she is going to learn some people don't find birthdays important or loose track of stuff like that.
    However if they have a track record of forgetting her birthday and she is young enough for it to matter maybe a week before her birthday you call them up with birthday presents suggestions. Or say: As you know it is DD's birthday on Weds next week. I saw "such & such" on sale and it would be perfect for DD do you want me to pick it up for her from you?" This way if they don't want to go through the trouble of picking it up/out you have it covered. If they don't want you to get it, you have given them a suggestion and a reminder that her birthday is coming up. Or send a email with a couple of suggestions on presents.
    Or a couple of days before the birthday send them an email saying "I will make sure DD is home between 5 & 6 PM on her birthday on Weds if you want to call her then to wish her happy birthday. She would be so love to hear from you on her birthday"
    For the time being make it easy on them. (At least the grandparents)

    Take this all with a big grain of salt as I don't have kids
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)



  17. #17
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    We used to giggle at my Aunt who used to forget our birthdays and then have the gift show up at some random time a month later.......turned it into a game of sorts (and I love her dearly she is my absolute favourite aunt, she's just scatterbrained). Wouldn't you know it, I have turned into her.....I am terrible at remembering birthdays.......terrible.....I do remember........eventually.......doesn't mean I love my nephews any less, and yes, they giggle just the same as I did and they favourite line "Oh Aunty Pam your're just like Aunty Jen"
    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Thanks everyone- I love COTH for a reality check.


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  19. #19
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    I'm kind of astounded that people think that distant (aka not siblings/parents) relatives are EXPECTED to remember every birthday, holiday, etc. and cough up gifts for every kid in the extended family. Seems rather unreasonable expectations. If they want to do that, fine, but EXPECTING it?


    17 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    My grandmother is a crazy alcoholic who calls her dogs her grandchildren. I'm not sure when or if my mom ever gave me the "talk" about how to expect that she wasn't ever going to act like a grandparent theoretically is "supposed" to act... it was just always that way. Maybe just being realistic about it from a young age was helpful, in that there was never really a watershed "OMG she doesn't give a sh!t about anything besides her dogs and her (cheap) whiskey!" moment?



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