New crouton, floor beds, potential hippiery, and gift obligational awkwardness.

1. I am extremely slow with changing the link over in my sidebar blog roll – well, it’s only one link, so it’s more of a blog crouton than a blog roll – so I figured that the people who don’t read this site through a feed reader have probably stopped checking. But I just changed it! Which doesn’t mean you should stop visiting Not Bagels. It means I got off my lazy butt. Well, no. I stayed on my lazy butt while I changed the link.

2. There are still spots open for The Blathering! (This is my roommate. We’re both sadly excited to spend depressing awesome nights away from our babies. We’re looking forward to sleeping. It’s going to rule. In a bummer kind of way.) Why don’t you come to The Blathering? If you don’t want to go because you don’t do bars and karaoke and nightlife and cocktail dresses, that’s not a good reason. I’m shooting down your reason. I don’t do those things. I’ll bring Settlers of Catan for us. Looks like I’ve poked some holes in your defense. See you there.

Unless you do like to go out for drinks and dancing and ride mechanical bulls. Then guess what? That stuff will be happening, too. Looks like you’re SOL on reasons for not going to The Blathering.

3. People ask me a lot where I find all of my in law stories to read and be outraged about, and I will tell you my trick. Find a really active set of forums somewhere – any kind, but ideally some that cater to ladies, for the most part. Wedding forums, or pregnancy forums, or really, anything. Then just do a search on one of the included message boards for “MIL.”

Baby name forum?

Wedding forum?

Pregnancy forum?

Anything. Anything at all. Any kind of topic. Whatever you can think of, there’s a forum for it. And if there’s a forum for it, there’s someone talking about how their in laws RUINED IT.

A current favorite, though? It’s got parents-in-law AND children-in-law on the SAME MESSAGE BOARDS. It’s GLORIOUS.

4. Here’s my baby:

She’ll be moving in to her own room sometime in the next few… a while. My mom is coming to visit and we’re going to work on putting together her room, both because I need something to do other than pretend to be totally into it when my mom wants to stand around and gush about Penny (not a gusher, myself) and also because Phil is not especially interested in baby bedroom creation.

We’re doing a floor bed. I think we have pretty good reasons for choosing the do a floor bed, the main one being that we won’t have to buy a crib. Second main, I guess, is all the benefits of and reasoning behind doing a floor bed make logical sense to us.  I haven’t yet decided if we’ll do a crib mattress or toddler bed mattress for the floor bed, or just go ahead with an adult twin. If you’ve done a floor bed, what did you go with? Any tips? I’m kind of nervous about where to put it in the room. I don’t want her to roll between it and the wall, but will she be heavy enough to really wedge it away from the wall with her body? I’ve never seen a picture of a room with a floor bed in any place but a corner, so I assume it works out.

Any first hand floor bed experience is greatly appreciated.

5. With all the cloth diapering and the floor bedding and the intent to skip rice cereal and purees and instead follow a baby-led weaning style of introducing solid foods, sometimes I feel like I might be turning into a hippy. I mean, if someone had told me they were doing all of those things, before I had my own kid, I’d definitely think they were kind of a hippy, in a harmless way.

But all of these things, when I’ve looked into them, have just really made logical sense for us. Note how I’ve italicized selectively so that the wild Internet understands that our choices have absolutely nothing to do with their choices in any way. Anyway, is this how people become hippies? I thought you started out hippy and made your choices based on levels of crunchiness (which, by the way, I HATE – I mean, the word crunchy used as a descriptor for these types of things, mainly because I think it’s stupid). But maybe the road to being a hippy is paved with adorable cloth diapers and floor beds.

For me, though, I think what it actually comes down to is that I hate spending money on things I don’t like or personally need. I don’t need a crib, thus, floor bed. I don’t eat baby food, therefore, Penny can eat what we eat and like it. I don’t wear diapers, so… okay, I like the diapers. So I spend money on them. THEORY HOLDS UP. Not hippy, just cheap.

6. Also my baby:

7. Your opinion requested, but not a reality, rational, or fact-based opinion. A FEEEEELING opinion.

We got two cast iron enameled casseroles as generous and lovely wedding gifts. I loved them. Okay, actually? I loved that I owned them, because they made me feel like a lady who might some day make something that would require that very specific type of cooking vessel, instead of just dragging out the biggest pan I can find and using it for everything. And one time? I used them both to make soup, because I am a lifelong container misjudger and started with the small one and moved to the big one.

But Arizona isn’t really a place where you make a lot of soup, or make anything that needs to sit in a very heavy pot in a very hot oven for a very long time. I guess other people probably do, but I don’t. So, in the time I have owned them, I really haven’t used them too much.

Reading Princess Nebraska the other day, I found out that they have been recalled, because the enamel can crack and send BURNING HOT SHARDS flying at you. So, I can take them into Macy’s for a full refund, in the form of store credit, I believe.

Since they were gifts for the wedding, I feel obligated to replace them with something similar, since the givers intended for me to have cast iron enameled pot thingies, and had chosen them off my registry, in fact, where I had CHOSEN THEM FIRST, myself. So I should take them back and replace them with other heavy pots, even though I didn’t use them too much. Because maybe someday we’ll move somewhere cold (PROBABLY NOT, WE’LL BE IN ARIZONA FOREEEEVVVEEERRRRR) and I will need them. Maybe I will grow into a lady who uses those kind of pots, just like I grew into a lady who only has 1 out of every 5 or 6 dinners turn out inedible, instead of 1 of every 4 being good, 2 being edible, and 1 going straight into the trash.

Or maybe, I could cut myself a break, and just stick to the spirit of the gift and get something kitchen-related. Sheldon did just eat our good slotted spoon.

But, like I said above, I am going to start working on Penny’s room, and I bet that Macy’s has one or two cute things that we could use. Or I could put it toward her floor bed. But the gift givers did not BUY Penny a present, they bought presents for Phil and I. They didn’t know about Penny (or that Penny was 10 weeks underway at the wedding). But Penny-room-items are what we need, though at the time of the wedding, we DID specifically request, via registry, these pots that I actually never use.

So. Internet. If you end up having to return a gift, do you feel (note – FEEL – because I KNOW I can do whatever the hell I want) obligated to replace it with something similar? Would the fact that it was a gift from a registry that YOU CREATED, thus something you SPECIFCALLY ASKED FOR, have any effect on your response?

Understand that I will absolutely do whatever the hell I want when the time comes. I just want to know if anyone else has ridiculous feelings of obligation tied into the whole gift return/exhange business, and since I am the most average girl in the world, I AM SURE YOU DO.

Should I live in fear of someone coming over and saying, “Hey, where’s that 2.5 quart casserole in cobalt blue that I got for your wedding? I’d love to SEE IT!”

Even better, do you have any stories about awkward gift returns? Have you ever gotten something so awful/tacky (my pots were neither, I’m just EXPANDING) that you had to immediately return, donate or throw it away? Has anyone ever come over and asked to SEE the gift that you returned/donated/threw away? OH GOD, WHAT DID YOU EVEN SAY?

98 thoughts on “New crouton, floor beds, potential hippiery, and gift obligational awkwardness.

  1. Dr. Maureen

    I agree with everyone: Get whatever you want. When people buy off the registry, they want you to have what you want, so. I am a gift person, and I mostly hate registries and avoid them if at all possible, and even *I* would not be offended in the slightest if you returned the pots I bought and got something totally different.

    No one seems to be telling you horrifying stories about “Where is the X I gave you?” but I have one. When we were getting married, my MIL told me that her frail 92-year-old mother wanted to get us a set of Corelle dishes, so please pick out what pattern I liked. She and her mother have always used Corelle dishes because of their practicality (thin, light, hard to break. But here’s the thing: I didn’t like any of them. I also really dislike their thinness, even though it is part of the appeal, particularly for a 92-year-old. They ARE very light and hard to break. I admit this, and admit that they are pretty easy to store. I also like how they are smaller than regular dishes. But as far as looks, I hate them.

    However, did I mention the frail 92-year-old part? I figure, if my fiance’s 92-year-old grandmother wants to get us Corelle dishes, then get us Corelle dishes she shall. So I picked out ones with a cute snowman on them, because he was cute. My MIL said, “But those are winter dishes, you’ll only be able to use them in the winter.” OK, then. So I picked out the ones I disliked the least, and we received a full set of 8 or 12 place settings. Probably 12.

    And then my MIL bought us matching glasses, a spoon rest, placemats, servingware… all on a pattern I chose because I felt fairly neutral about, but even if I liked it, I don’t think I’d want 400 things on my table with the exact same pattern. The placemats were a particular thorn in my side, because I do not use placemats, and this placemat set had 4 billion pieces; there were placemats and coasters and, I don’t know, SILVERWARE mats or something. I stored them in our apartment in the package, and then when we moved I couldn’t find a spot for them, and finally threw them away in an enraged fit of “I HATE THESE EFFING PLACEMATS” pique.

    The glasses I particularly hated; I am pretty neutral about the pattern on the dishes, but actively disliked it on the glasses.

    So. I never use the dishes, (disclaimer: We do use the dessert plates because they are a very convenient size, and I give them to toddlers as dinner plates because they are so light and almost unbreakable) because I don’t really like them, and I harbored some resentment about how they were forced upon me. I do KEEP the dishes, because I must admit they are incredibly handy when I have a party because they are so thin it’s easy to store so many plates.

    All this is to say that one night, my in-laws were over for dinner, and my MIL suddenly burst out, in an I-just-can’t-stand-this-not-knowing-any-longer way, “Why don’t you ever use the Corelle?”

    Caught off guard, I said, “Because I hate them.”

    Isn’t that awful? She was clearly hurt. And as complaining and whining as this 10,000-word comment is, I love my MIL. She’s really wonderful.

    So my advice is: Should your gift-giver ask where something is, do your best not to insult her directly to her face. Learn from my mistakes.

    Alex Reply:

    “Because I hate them.”

    You win. This is the greatest thing I’ve ever read.

  2. Mary

    My Mom wants me to tell you (and I agree with her), that you should get whatever you want after you take back the recalled pots!

  3. Megan

    I always read your blogs but this is the first time I’ve ever read the comments.

    Oh my God, are they always this awesome and hilarious? What have I been doing with my life? WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN READING YOUR COMMENTS? I accept my total failure.

    Your comments need a like button. Facebook and Pinterest and Google+ have conditioned me to encourage hilarity by immediately pointing out how awesome a comment is. And it makes me twitch that I can’t +1 all your comments. So, just sayin’. They should make a thing like that for blog comments.

  4. Sarah Bakker

    I haven’t read the comments, but I would definitely by a full size twin mattress for the floor bed. You will be spending significant amounts of time in it over the years, and it sucks trying to read bedtime stories while your butt is hanging off the edge. Trust me. Also our mattress is in a corner.

    I would probably feel guilty about returning the gifts for something different, but I would do it anyway and develop an elaborate excuse about why I don’t have said item.

    Sarah Bakker Reply:

    I have now read the comments, and to the poster above, yes, they are usually a very entertaining read.

  5. LemonFresh

    I have no expertise on floor beds, but it sound logical to me that a twin mattress would be the most practical – both for you to join Penny in, and because she won’t grow out of it. Oh! And then you don’t have to worry so much about it coming away from the wall, because it’s heavier and has more surface area to have friction with the floor.

  6. Arwen

    On the baby-led weaning food thing: my parents never gave us purees when we were babies (even though in the 80s that was definitely the thing to do) because they were poor-ish and the type of no-fuss parents who didn’t put extra effort into unnecessary things. So… we ate what they ate, and it was fine.

    Fast-forward 25 years to when I’m having my own children, and am I ever happy to find out that eschewing purees is, like, a THING now. (I’m assuming you already read that Dutch article about how self-feeding solids makes babies less likely to choke, etc.?) I was never going to do traditional baby food anyway because, like my parents, I am lazy and no-fuss. But now I can do it without compunction! It’s *not* slacking, it’s based on a principle!

    Also: cloth diapering, co-sleeping, baby-wearing the crap out of these kids. I can’t believe what a hippy I am.

  7. Mary K

    We use a full size bed that I already owned. She sleeps about half the night by herself and then when she wakes up I just lay down with her and we both go back to sleep. I say get the bed you’ll use longer. I don’t really see the point of a toddler bed, any other bed works just the same and works for longer. And with a full size, the two babies will be able to sleep with each other when I’m ready to not sleep with them.

  8. mjb

    Thanks for letting me know about the pan – I have it, and I used the heck out of it, so I’m really disappointed. I’ll take it back, they’ll give me the money sure, but the Le Creuset one that is it’s equivalent is at least $100 more. Boo.

    My sister-in-law came by our house this summer during our garage sale where we were selling something she had given us as a gift. Oops.

  9. Sarah in Ottawa

    Though we haven’t done the floor bed, we’re cloth diaperers and big proponents of baby-led weaning. When we started it with Teddy, my mother nearly had apoplexy. My Nonna had to tell her “Maria, it’s what we did with you in Italy.” Teddy enjoyed it early on. Veronica did not. I have to admit – I caved and bought a few purees (maybe 15 or 20 jars) and tried to feed her those. She couldn’t have cared less and only wanted to nurse. And at about 11 months, it’s like a switch flipped. She’s all about feeding herself and won’t even eat apple sauce, let alone pureed food. Parenting is nothing if not an exercise in learning what you DON’T know.

    As for gifts, I’d exchange them for anything you’d like. If the givers ask, you can honestly tell them that you returned them because they were recalled. You put them on your registry, so they have no reason to feel as if they’ve given you dangerous goods or something. Plus, were I the giver, I know would prefer that you buy something you’ll use and think fondly of me as the gift is in use.

    No awkward moments, per se, but I do have a funny story. One of Dave’s cousins and his wife gave us a funky lamp as a wedding gift. Fast forward 4 years and they (and their 3 kids) come to stay with us to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa. The kids end up sleeping in the room with the lamp whose provenance we’ve all forgotten. The kids manage to break the lamp, so the parents are mortified and give us cash to replace it. “Where did you buy it?” they ask. I answer honestly – “No idea”. The only person who remembers the lamp’s actual origin was my mom. Whoops!

  10. Ann

    Can’t speak about the floor bed, but i would buy a regular size bed. Do you really want a tiny toddler bed (and sheets and blankets) that won’t work on a normal size bed later?

    If your pot has a recall, you need to get it out of your house for your safety. Now! Go, go go! It could explode any. second!

    I did exchange several wedding gifts, even things i registered for. I got one set of green towels that matched nothing since no one got us the matching shower curtain. I exchanged those for more glasses. I’ve since replaced every towel we received because it’s been more than 10 years and they were ratty. Things do wear out.

    I received a set of salad plates with the Lord’s prayer on them. Nicely done I guess, but soooo not our style. They were picked out by the wife of a good friend. I had never met the wife; he married after i moved. And they have never been to visit. I needed table linens and I think of him every time i use them.

    The only gift that got a one-way ticket to goodwill was a humongous, crystal, candle-holding ….thing. It sort of looked like a giant goblet. It came from a guest that was on my MIL’s list. She didn’t know the woman had remarried and changed her name and my husband had never met her. (Why did we invite them again??) I knew this is someone I would never see again.

    My MIL and SILs often buy me clothing that is too small. Yes, I’m smaller than they are, but not that small. Seriously I’m a medium, just average. I haven’t worn an XS since I was like 8. If I know where the item came from I’ll return it. If not, I thank them, and put the item in the giveaway pile to bless someone else.

    There is never an obligation to keep a gift forever.

  11. andie

    re: floor beds. After months of quasi-sleep and just being fed the fuck up, we decided to try cry-it-out in her crib. Worked for 1 week; then she didn’t want to go down in the crib for a nap, but went down at nite. 3 days later; no crib at nite. Bad days man, just bad. So I come home from work 1 day and she is asleep on the living room floor on a pile of blankets. We traded off nites; him sleeping on the couch with Alli on the floor, me on the futon with her. Today, we are working on getting her moved back into her bedroom, sleeping on the futon. Can provide pics, but it is shoved in the corner with her crib on one-side so she can only access from 1 side. I hope to be sleeping back in my own bed next week. We have a baby gate for the door, toys on the floor, a low-wattage lamp (he swears she’s afraid of the dark) for a nitelite.

  12. Alex

    As a giftER I wouldn’t care what you did with the exchanged pots but as a giftEE I can totally see the guilt that would ensue. I’ll side with the gifter side of me and recommend you get whatever the heck you want.

    Now I have to tell you the story of the most awkward gift I’ve ever been given.

    After 48 years of living at home, my aunt recently decided that now is the time to move out on her own. Aunt has a very large doll collection. My Mom called me a few months ago and was like “Aunt is getting rid of stuff for her move and is thinking about giving each of her nieces/nephews a doll. Is this something you’d want?” to which I replied, of course, “HELLS NO.”

    A month passes and Aunt shows up at a family dinner with gift bags for all of the nieces and nephews. She’d decided to give the dolls anyway. Which is all well and fine until Husband and I got home and opened our gift to find not just a doll, but a paper mache CLOWN DOLL. It is horrifying.

    Needless to say the thing was promptly put in a box in the basement. Aunt doesn’t visit us very often and I am already panicked about what we’re going to do when she next comes by the house. She also made some allusion at one point to putting it in our future kid’s room. That is just…not happening.

  13. NellaBean

    No one’s asked in the past 11 years to see their wedding gift to us. In fact, I recently told my sister-in-law how much I was enjoying her wedding shower gift to me (a wall self for my kitchen where I change decor with the seasons, don’t judge me) and she didn’t remember what I was even talking about. So I asked what she thought she got me and she couldn’t remember that either. Made me start to wonder what I gave to people several years ago – if it was off their registry I don’t actually recall!

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