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?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW WANTS TO NAME MY BABY.”

Wedding forum?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW CANCELLED MY CATERER AND REPLACED IT WITH LONG SANDWICHES.”

Pregnancy forum?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW BURST INTO THE DELIVERY ROOM AND CHECKED TO SEE IF I WAS DILATED.”

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? Grandparents.com. 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. Natalie

    Floor bed? please elaborate. I am not familiar with this.

    The only gifts that people want to see are baby clothes, on the baby. So I think you can feel free to get whatever you want. Because I feel certain that if those people had known about Penny, they would certainly have gotten her gifts instead of you and Phil. Wait, is that why you didn’t tell anyone about Penny until after the wedding? Totally kidding.

    For our wedding we got a couple of random things that we could not even find a store to return them to. One was some kind of electric griddle thing and even Service Merchandise didn’t carry it. So we promptly re-gifted it to our friends who got married a few months after we did. We also got a cake-cutting and serving set that was from the basement bargain rack of, like, Nordstrom, or some other fancy dept store. We took it back and I think got about $5. It’s not that we were ungrateful, but the cake serving thing was a fancy set that was supposed to be used on the wedding cake, or something, but of course we didn’t open it till after. So we had no use for it.

  2. Melissa

    Have you recently (as in, since the wedding) bought anything kitcheny with your own money? If so, say THAT is taking the place of the big pots, and you are reimbursing yourself with the recall refund and now spending your own money on Penny’s room.

    That’s what I would do, and what I have done in the past when returning a gift. I just make sure I have something to point to that I can say (even if I’ve never actually HAD to) – hey, I had to take back what you got me for X reason, but this is what I replaced it with.

    Diane Reply:

    Yes! I meant to get to this in my long-winded response. Considering I used all of the words, it’s a wonder I didn’t manage to get them out. There have been times I’ve returned something to one place, like Amazon, but there hasn’t been anything else I’ve WANTED there. But I DID want something on Etsy about the same amount, so I bought myself the Etsy thing and then used the Amazon gift card to buy responsible things, like peanut butter and diapers.

    Swistle Reply:

    Totally agree with this excellent logic.

  3. Diane

    I turned out to be a hippy, too. So weird. I definitely didn’t see that one coming. I even ended up overhauling our eating and banished soda to the “sometimes” pile and man having kids really put a damper on my Lean Pockets consumption. “I can still have them sometimes!” I thought, naively. But no. No I can’t. Because now they don’t taste good anymore. Neither do the Lipton noodle packets and the Rice-a-roni. GIVE ME BACK MY ABILITY TO ENJOY PROCESSED FOOD, CHILDREN.

    Not fast food, though. I’m not that much of a hippy. A Wendy’s #1, please. Large sized.

    As for the GIFT. It would depend, for me, on who had given me the gift. And I can’t even break that down into the different types of people and how I’d handle the situation, because it would honestly depend on the specific person. From the perspective of the person who gave the gift, which you didn’t ask for, but I’m telling you anyway, because I figure I am also pretty average, I would want the returner to get whatever they needed/wanted most. When I buy off a registry, I’m trying to make the recipient happy by getting them something they picked out. If they receive the gift and it sits in a cupboard 364 days a year, well. I’d hate for them to keep it out of some sense of obligation.

    Swistle Reply:

    I like THIS point TOO. When I buy off a registry, that’s what I’m thinking too: “I want to get them something they want”—ideally something that’s also fun for me to buy. And if you’d had fancy diapers on the wedding registry, I would have SNAPPED THEM UP.

    Swistle Reply:

    Er, not that you said fancy diapers. It’s just what I’m picturing in my Sample Example.

    Jessica Reply:

    I bought Lean Pockets last week for the first time in forever, and I didn’t like them!! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? You’re saying my children are to blame?

  4. Jess

    I feel no such obligation to buy anything even close to what people bought me, in a similar instance.

    I’m also going to go google floor beds, as I have never heard of them. Between that and reading in the shower, gosh… ;)

  5. Laura

    i harbor a rather strict interpretation of gift intent. i would return it and get something similar and i would totally assume that i would become the sort of lady that would use whatever vessel any day now.

  6. Meghan

    I say get whatever you really need and want. Once a gift is given, it is super-tacky for the giver to ask to see it or know what you’re doing with it.

    For our wedding, the two worst gifts were a “wedding time capsule” that we were supposed to fill with wedding memorabilia and bury. However, the metal canister it came in was rusted around the bottom and my husband knew it was something they dug out of their garage that had suffered flood damage. So it was TACKY, it was USED and it was DAMAGED. The. Hell.

    We also got a salad bowl with plastic spoons and a knife set from the dollar store from the supposed richest guests at our wedding (not that I care since I didn’t even know who they were). The knives didn’t even cut the thin plastic bag they were wrapped in.

  7. Kristina

    I say get whatever you want when you return the pots. Unless there’s a real chance of the people who gave them to you coming over and asking about it, I think most people would rather you have used the money to get something you could really enjoy and use.

  8. Sarah

    Hello! I’ve been reading you since I went through all of the Vlogbrothers archives, and I totally know what you mean on the “I am not a hippy and yet make hippy choices” thing. I imagine if I did have a kid I would be all, attachment parenting! cosleeping! possibly cloth diapering! and yet I am incredibly not that person in day to day life. On that pragmatic note, I just got married pretty recently and we registered at Bed Bath and Beyond specifically so that we could return all the gifts for cash. People from my hometown like to give actual gifts, but we live in NYC and have no room and no need for a lot of stuff, so I figured it was a fine compromise. Necessarily, then, we will not be using pretty much any of the cash from the returns to buy stuff similar to the registered-for items. I guess I would say I would feel bad returning a gift if there were some sentimental value to it, but pots and pans? I think generally the registry gift-giver just wanted you to have something you can use, and hey, now you can use Penny stuff. I don’t have any good awkward return stories, but I am looking forward to reading everyone else’s. Thanks for making my workday less boring.

  9. Swistle

    A favorite part: “Looks like I’ve poked some holes in your defense. See you there.”

    My feeling is that we can exaggerate/distort this situation to see what makes sense. For example, if the pans wore out or broke instead of being recalled, would I feel like I needed to replace them with new pans, or could I spend money in other ways? I realize it’s not strictly parallel (they WERE recalled, and the money comes directly from that), but it’s parallel ENOUGH to let me think, “No, I have had these pans for awhile, and I have written the thank-you notes for them and then looked at them and enjoyed the idea of them for nearly a year, and now the money I get from their recall can be spent on non-pans.”

    But I would also have the feeling that I’d LIKE to spend the pan money on something wedding-presentish, and that doesn’t go along with my other feeling, so.

    Luckily I have a THIRD feeling, which is something along the lines of that a registry is for what a person wants at the time, and that you had no idea at the time that you would want fancy diapers, and so I feel like it is possible to go back in time and think “I would have rather had the fancy diapers than the pans,” and now buy the diapers.

  10. Sally

    Oh, I would totally buy whatever the hell I felt like because it’s basically FREE MONEY! I like to imagine the gift-giver would be pleased that I get to appreciate their gift twice, but also, I wouldn’t care that much. And if they do ask, you can just tell them the pots were recalled, which is totally the truth. I return the shit out of some gifts from my mother-in-law EVERY CHRISTMAS. She loves buying me clothes, but thinks I am skinnier/more fashionable than I am, so I thank her, keep one thing that looks nice on me so I can wear it around her, and exchange the rest for something I like. No guilt whatsoever. If it would make you feel better, you could buy me some throw pillows with your store credit.

  11. Susan

    So, we did a floor bed by default, but it wasn’t called a floor bed, and I didn’t know there really was such a thing. Anyway, our daughter started out life in a crib, and we had this cool idea of putting a SCREEN DOOR on her bedroom. Yeah, a wooden screen door, so that the cats would stay out but we still could hear and see her. Cool idea, huh?

    Anyway, I started my business like the week after she was born, so suddenly I was working on the computer at home with a newborn. And of course no day care or babysitter because I WAS HOME! Who needs child care while they work when they’re at HOME? So, basically I was working day and night, and pretty soon I just put a bunch of blankets down on the floor next to my computer and that’s where the baby slept. For really a long time, I don’t even remember. (That is, when she wasn’t sleeping in our bed. Don’t get me started YES she slept in our bed, they didn’t have co-sleepers back in the dark ages before the Dawn of Time.)

    It was super easy for me because I could just pick her up and nurse any time, and if she woke up a little bit I was there and everybody was happy. I tell you, it was YEARS before she was able to sleep in the dark. I’ve heard that’s bad for babies, but what did I know at the time?

    Oh, and years later when she finally did sleep in her own room (we got rid of that gently used crib), she figured out how to remove the screen from the door to escape. Wily child.

  12. Meredith

    Here I am again, @peacelovemath, the stalkery twitter future-cloth-diaper-er that @notperfect linked you up with.

    You should totally return them and spend the money on whatever. I’d feel slightly guilty too, but I’d still totally do it, because of course they’ll never know. Someone got me this fugly cast aluminum, like, bread plate? That had a very country little house picture on it and said something like “home is where the heart is” or some cheesy shit like that that I hate. And then I happened to be in Bed, Bath, & Beyond a few weeks later, and THEY HAD THE SAME PLATE THING. So you know what I did? I totally returned that sucker, and probably bought a pillow, or something else unrelated that I actually wanted. I don’t even remember. But it was great.

    I only really feel weird about stuff that my MIL gets us that I don’t want, since she, you know, actually comes to my house and sees my decor and eats meals we’ve prepared. But I still haven’t let that stop me, because if I don’t like it, it’s just wasting their money and my cabinet space! Whereas if I am able to return it and get something useful, I feel I’ve been a better steward of their resources and mine, so even if it has a tiny potential to hurt anyone’s feelings, I still think it’s a win-win.

    Linnea Welch Reply:

    heh… I got that bread plate thingy too

  13. Jessica

    I think with registies, people generally choose how much they want to spend, then look for something in that range. I don’t think the specific thing they pick means as much to them as if they’d gone off-registry to pick it out. Also, picking off the registry means they wanted to get you something you wanted and would use, which I would hope they still want. So if what you want and would use is not heavy kitchen pots, I would assume they don’t really care if you don’t use the store credit for heavy kitchen pots. But you never know with people…

    The only gifts I’ve ever had people ask to see are baby clothes. And lately my MIL has been asking often “Do you still have the X I gave first child, because I think second child is the right age to wear/use it now.” Thankfully, so far I have always had X and usually had, in fact, already gotten it out for second child. So, I suppose my advice is if you think you might possibly have another kid (even though I know you don’t plan to), consider the type of person who gave Penny something before you decide to get rid of the something.

    Jessica Reply:

    Oh yeah, I also do not do bars and karaoke and nightlife and cocktail dresses, but I will be at the Blathering and I CAN’T WAIT.

  14. Linnea

    Oh, J & I got lots of wonderful, beautiful stuff that WE ASKED FOR for our wedding, which then sat in the very box it came in for… well let’s see, we’ll have been married 5 yrs next week, so… that long.

    We want the stuff. We like the stuff. We fully intend to be the kind of people who will someday use that stuff.

    Thankfully, this is the 4th place we’ve lived in those 5 years, so we usually get away with claiming we just haven’t managed to unpack it yet–which is TRUE… but we sneakily imply that it’s just from the latest move… which isn’t true at all

  15. Sally

    oh! I also wanted to say something about the mattress! 1) I think crib/toddler mattresses are the same. 2) Get the twin mattress. We are about to replace our twins’ toddler beds because they grew out of them, and I’m totally annoyed that we have to buy whole new mattresses when the old ones are perfectly good, just too small. It’s unlikely she will grow out of the twin, ever.

  16. June

    For a normal gift that was given to me and picked exclusively by the giver, I would feel obligated to substitute the same but similar. For a gift from a registry that I picked out, based on stuff I NEEDED, I think I would be OK with replacing it with something else that I needed.

    I base this on the fact that when I get something for someone from a registry, the price is usually dictating what I’m getting them more than the actual thinginess of it. If that makes sense. So I’m not terribly emotionally invested in it. I’m just happy they’re getting something they want.

  17. Jessica

    So, my mom is totally one of those people who hears about these kinds of recalls AND totally remembers everything that she’s ever given as a wedding gift, ever. So she would be thinking, right now, about whether it would be presumptuous of her to call the person she’d given the cobalt blue thingy to, and let them know that she’d bought them a DEFECTIVE gift that could KILL them.

    If you are in touch with the givers, still, I might drop them a note indicating that you’d used the gifts, and were pleased with them, but that they were recalled – and now, you’re happy to say, their gift(s) have been morphed into the cutest ____ for Penny. Enclose one of the bajillions of adorable pictures of your wee one, and they will be powerless to do anything but think how glad they are that you appreciate both incarnations of their gift-giving intent.

  18. Swistle

    Another feeling-based thought, is that what you could be doing right now is just REARRANGING money. Right now you’re cashing in your pots to buy baby stuff. But later, when you DON’T need to spend the money you WOULD HAVE saved up for baby stuff, THAT money can be LATER used to buy a pot that FUTURE you will want/use.

    LemonFresh Reply:

    I like this thought, dubious though its logical foundation may be.

  19. Katie

    My opinion is that when I buy a gift off a registry, I’m just trying to get the person what they want. If what they want changes between me buying the gift and them using the gift, then they should return my thing and get what they really want or need. I didn’t choose something off their registry because I thought was super awesome or anything, it just seemed friendlier than cash. If I made something for you, or told you that something had a great sentimental value, then I’d feel different about it, but most people don’t even remember what they got you for your wedding. I’m always surprised a little when I get the thank you card – “I chose that? How clever of me!”

    And YES, I had once had some freak ask where a gift was when they came to visit and I told them shamelessly that I had lent it to my sister for a party. Should they ever ask again, I plan to say she broke it.

    Sky Reply:

    Filing this away for future use – GENIUS! “… I told them shamelessly that I had lent it to my sister for a party. Should they ever ask again, I plan to say she broke it.”

  20. AnnabelleSpeaks

    I think if I had to return a gift that came off a registry I would be fine getting something completely different, if that is what I wanted/needed. Personally when I buy someone something off of a registry I put enough thought into it to pick what I randomly deem to be “the most fun” thing on there, but I’m not putting THAT much thought into it.

    If it was a non-registry gift I was returning I might feel a little more like I should honor the idea the gift-giver had and get something similar, since in that case they (theoretically) would have put more time and effort and thought into picking a specific gift for me. I’d still probably ultimately get over it and get whatever I wanted though.

    Meredith Reply:

    Yeah, but what if the gift-giver sucks at picking things you’d actually like or use? That’s why I’m 100% for getting whatever you want, regardless of the gift giving situation!

  21. Meredith

    PS: Not that you asked or care, but: my baby shower (and general all-baby-gifts) plan is to immediately put away the things we want, and collect a pile of things we do not want. Then we will go on one huge returning spree, and visit every store that might possibly take any of the items for store credit, and everything we can’t get rid of that way will go on craigslist or, if the perceived potential craigslist payoff is too small, get donated.

    I want to hear more about floor beds, because I feel similarly about cribs, except for the fact that I don’t want to have to pick my kid up off the floor every time I go in there in the middle of the night.

    Also reading in the shower, and also child-led weaning and not eating pureed food–don’t they need iron-rich food after 6 months, and how do they eat stuff that isn’t pureed? Do you just use soft foods like banana, avocado, and mashed potatoes?

  22. Maggie

    Will now hijack this to talk about tacky/bad gifts! We received a number of them for our wedding from my husband’s father’s side of the family. Sadly none of them were returnable because I suspect they were either just random items sitting around their houses they stuck in a box and called it a day or things bought at yard sales or similar. I’m talking about a nonfunctioning wooden monkey clock, a broken horse “sculpture,” and a wine ewer circa 1972 that was so damned random and funny my husband and I can’t bear to throw it away (it’s been 12 years).

    However, just in the last few years I’ve felt empowered to actually return gifts I’ve received that really don’t suit me or my lifestyle. It’s not like I get a ton of these, but I have made some good exchanges and am happy to have something I need more and no one has ever asked about the other gifts. So I’m firmly in the camp of returning it for something you need or would use more often without regret.

    Erin Reply:

    Oh, we got a lot of bad wedding gifts from friends of my MIL. Lots and lots of awful old-lady vases and stuff, and a big fancy decorative plate (like, the plates that are meant to be hung on walls, not eaten off of) that said “Happy Wedding” and had big roses and wedding bells all over it. All of them were, like, Lenox or similarly expensive stuff, but when we tried to return them they were either so many seasons ago that they were nonreturnable, or they were on super-duper clearance and we’d have gotten next to nothing for them. Macy’s actually offered me *15 cents* for one.

  23. Erin

    I say get whatever you want. I’d rather have a gift I gave be returned for something the giftee would actually use than have it sit in a cabinet forever. (Plus, if you ever DO need a heavy cast-iron enameled pot, you can usually get them for a discount at Homegoods, TJ Maxx, etc.)

    As for terrible gift stories, I have an aunt who, to this day (I am going to be 29 in two months), gives me a Barbie doll for almost every gift-giving occasion. If it’s not a Barbie, it’s a Tinkerbell sweatshirt (I have a fondness for Tink, but in, like, Xmas ornament form, not to wear on my chest).

    And to wrap the gift stories in with in-law stories, my MIL has a bad habit of giving me clothes that she has removed all the tags from. And they are never the right size or are a color that just doesn’t work on me, so every. single. time. I have to give it back to her to return/exchange for me because there are no tags so I can’t return it myself. You’d think after 6 years she’d be as tired of having to return every thing she’s ever bought me as I am of having to give them to her and explain why it didn’t work. But no, she keeps removing the tags and I have to keep giving them back.

  24. Brooke

    I think you should get what you need now. We registered for plenty of stuff for the lady I might grow into, and we got a some of those items. Upon thinking about it, we decided to take a couple of those back and get things that we needed in a more immediate time-frame. I figure, if the giver had known that items were ranked most-immediate to least-immediate in our minds, they probably would have gone for something in the most-immediate category. Usually, people want you to have what you most want and will get the most use out of. I see nothing wrong with using a store credit to meet your current needs.

    And no, I don’t think you have to worry about someone asking where your cobalt blue pot thingy is. And if someone did ask, you could be perfectly honest and say that they were recalled and that you used the store credit you received to get ____. It’s not like you took them back because you didn’t like them, and the recall wasn’t their fault – how could they have known? I worry about the same thing, though. My sister got me pajamas for my birthday that were just “ugh” and I returned them. I’m sure when I got visit, she’ll ask why I didn’t bring them. Thankfully, she lives in Seattle and these were Arizona type summer pajamas, so hopefully I can use the “inappropriate for the weather” excuse.

  25. Rhy

    I say there is nothing wrong with returning a gift that has been recalled and buying whatever you want with the store credit. If, by some amazing coincidence, the person who gave them to you actually inquires about them at some point, “they were recalled for safety reasons” is about the best excuse EVER for returning a gift.

    As far as absolutely horrible gifts…I was, at one point, given a salmon pink (I am a redhead, pink NEVER looks good on me), green and brown striped, long sleeved ZIP up shirt (not a hoodie, not a sweatshirt — it was like a button-up dress shirt, but with a zipper) for Christmas at one point. It was hideous in the box. It was even more hideous when I politely tried it on for the gifter. I couldn’t even bear to donate this shirt to Goodwill or something, it was THAT UGLY — nobody should ever be forced to wear a shirt that bad.

    THANKFULLY, the gifter had included a gift receipt in case it was the wrong size. I returned it, with no guilt whatsoever.

  26. Elizabeth

    Dude, the best thing ever about having two kids is that whatever you don’t want, if anyone ever asks about it, you just say that your kids ruined it! And then act sad.

    After our wedding we drove from IL to Memphis for our honeymoon with all of our wedding presents in the trunk of the car and every time we stopped for gas or cheetos or what have you, we opened a wedding present. I feel ashamed to tell you how many of them we left at gas stations. On purpose. It was…not a small number of things.

    Natalie Reply:

    I think maybe they should make this story into a movie. Seriously, I love this so much.

    LemonFresh Reply:

    That does sound like a prety amazing, wacky-hijinks kind of movie premise. With, like, some extra plots and/or adventures thrown in. Very cute framing device.

  27. Kara

    You aren’t a hippie, so much as you are inadvertently (or perhaps purposefully?)following the Montessori thinking on a lot of parenting choices. A lot of what you say follows the Montessori philosophy- floor bed, child led weaning, etc.

    My fears for floor bed would be scorpions. Not that a crib will keep scorpions out fully, but still, it would be above floor level. If you don’t have scorpions in your area, go for it. My kids were all in beds well before their 2nd birthday, and probably would have been happy in beds before their first birthday. Their bedrooms are on the 2nd floor of our house, and I’ve yet to see a scorpion up there. However, we have had some on the ground floor.

  28. Therese

    I’m totally one of those people that has feelings about gifts or money given as gifts and what should be done with it. Example — my grandfather gave me cash after my wedding and told me to buy my wedding china. Now, because people had given me china and/or giftcards for the particular store where it happened to be on sale after the wedding, I didn’t need all of my grandfather’s cash to buy wedding china. I kept the leftover cash in a safe place and said “I’ll use this to buy serving pieces or accent pieces or something.” Well, a few years go by, I never by anymore china, my grandfather passes away (he was 91, sad but not tragic or anything) and I am pregnant with my first child. I decided that I was not probably going to buy anymore wedding china anytime soon and it was silly to just keep that amount of cash stashed away. I decided (and then told my husband through tears — he thought I had lost my mind) that since Grandaddy wanted me to do something special with that money I would use it to buy something special for the baby and then I could tell the baby his Great Grandfather “bought” him [insert item here]. That child is now 2 and I do not remember at all what I bought with that money. That big long story is to say that my suggestion is to use your wedding present recall money on something special but not necesarily a replacement wedding present. If you want to get something for Penny, that counts as special. If there is some other item you want for yourself or your home, use it there. The gift givers hopefully just wanted you have something YOU wanted/needed. If your needs/wants have now changed, well use the money in those new areas!

    Therese Reply:

    I do know the difference between “buy” (as in purchase) and “by” as in (time goes by) but see that in my quick typing I flip-flopped a couple of times. I promise I’m not an idiot. Well, I may be an idiot but not in this instance…

  29. Melospiza

    Okay, what Elizabeth said totally cracks me up. I’m of the opposite persuasion (I’ve been married 14 years and using wedding plates that I hated for 13, even though the great-aunt who gave them to us has been dead for at least a decade…and I still feel guilty, and keep the rejected plates in a closet. Just in case.) That said, it’s possible that 14 years from now you will in fact think that the people who bought you these pots in fact bought you whatever you replaced them with. Or something.

    Also: ADULT SIZE MATTRESS. ADULT SIZE. Otherwise when you lie down beside Penny to read to her or put her to sleep or whatever, and you fall asleep there, you won’t wake up feeling like your feet have been stolen and replaced with ill-fitting substitutes.

  30. Liz

    If I were to return a gift, I do not feel obligated at all to replace it with something similar.
    And what is this floor bed? Is it something new in the baby world?

  31. Andrea

    I got an “antique” goose/swan soup toureen. It has a chip in the paint on it’s beak too. So even if it was a legit worth stomething antique, it’s not anymore. This was not something I registered for. I display it as a joke at home and am saving it to give to my sister when she gets married as a gag.

  32. A'Dell

    I…registered for gifts that I intended to return and turn into china and sharp knives because nobody seemed to be buying the china and sharp knives (what I really wanted) because they broke an unspoken $50 price point.

    I figure a wedding gift is more about acknowledging the event and giving the couple something to start a new life. I would never, ever be offended if someone returned a gift I gave her and turned it into something she really wanted or combined returns to get something BIG that she wanted.

    But, you know, I might be a terrible person so….whatever. I HAVE SHARP KNIVES AND CHINA AND I LOVE THEM.

    Take the pans back, buy whatever you want or need today, not what you thought you wanted or needed back then.

  33. Alii

    I feel that they gave you a thing and that thing is now Yours to do with what you will. If you wanted to glue buttons to the outside and plant petunias, they’re YOURS. Go for it. That money was gone and spent by them and probably forgotten. In the off chance that whoever got you the gift EVEN ASK just say that the dishes nearly exploded everywhere and got recalled and you bought something awesome with the money.

    The exploded part is very important because it makes it sound dire and dramatic and that you buying whateverthehellyouwant means you’re a hero who has saved the planet from exploding casserole dishes.

    I know I certainly don’t care what people do with my gifts. I prefer to give people food or utility items because I know they’ll be used, but if they sell it and buy head-underwear, I don’t really care. It was a gift, I showed I cared, life moved on. It’s like my gramma’s attitude toward stuff: “Have you used it in a year? No? Ditch it. No-one cares but you.” She’s brutal, but her house is always spotless. (Unlike mine.)

  34. Andrea

    I’ve never heard of a floor bed, so I googled it just now and it reminds me of The Sims in that they generally just lay their babies on the floor. Wherever. Bathroom, kitchen, poolside – on the floor. It just struck me as funny (I have no opinion on real life floor beds).

  35. Alorina

    I have no advice on what to purchase with your cast iron pot returns. But if you do happen to replace one or both with a similar, but non-recalled, cast iron pot you must, must, MUST try this recipe.

    http://www.dphowell.com/2011/01/14/forty-garlic-chicken/

    Easy and so, so yummy! There are a few other cast iron pot recipes that are also good but the Fourty Garlic Chicken recipe is by far the best. And presented in witty BRK style.

    Also…

    Blurry Penny = AWESOME!!

  36. Thanks: Management

    Floor bed? so many questions! I escaped the Tye dye (though I wasn’t really good at, just like the colors and the cool bell bottoms!!) and find myself sucked back in due to an underlying cheapness also! Composting for soil, Cloth Diapers b.c I spent a small fortune on disposable with the first kid! Canned homegrown veg/baby food.. Hippie-no LOGICAL-YES!!! (the trail mix and granola binges, unrelated!!) I FEEL you can and you should do what ever you heart desires with the enamel ware $$. A new spoon for Sheldon, Sheets for your floor bed adventure (please take pics so I can see what it is all about!)
    Okay this comment is getting long, bottom line, you could buy new throw pillows with that return $ cuz it is YOURS, and you aren’t alone, lots of us mommies are cheap, and if we had to seriously look at the lengths we go, we’d need to be committed! So don’t feel all hippie about it, it makes practical logical sense! :)

  37. Rachael

    Ditto on the scorpions. We live in Tucson and had no less than 5 (five!) in our house this summer–2 of which were in the kids rooms. (The rest were in our room–ack!) Floor beds would freak me out (I make my husband do a blacklight check of our house on a monthly basis–cat and dog puke shows up on blacklight, as does baby puke–it is gross, be warned).

    Get what you want–returning something that has been recalled frees you from any perceived obligation!

    TJ Reply:

    I do not want to black light my house. I do not. I think that I can live with the mystery, because I KNOW I can’t live with the truth!

  38. moosh in indy.

    I personally cloth diaper and babywear the hell out of my baby because the whole breastfeeding thing didn’t work out so to counteract all the judgy I can come back with BUT I WEAR HER AND CLOTH DIAPER HER BECAUSE I LOVE MY BABY.

    Because we all know that the love of your baby is defined by how crunchy you are in the process of raising him/her.

    My baby is huge compared to yours.

    Return those pots and get whatever you want. Period.

    TJ Reply:

    True story: shortly after Penny got out of the hospital last month, we went in for her 4 month check up, and she weighed 11 lbs, 5 oz. Since her highest previous weight was 9 lb, 9 oz and she had dropped down to less than 9 lbs when she was sick, I was personally impressed with her heft.

    The doctor took her from me to examine her, and as her weight lifted from my arms, I said to the doctor, “ISN’T SHE JUST ENORMOUS?”

    And the doctor said, “Oh, honey… no.”

    moosh in indy. Reply:

    Vivi just had her four month visit.

    SEVENTEEN AND THREE QUARTER POUNDS.

    TJ Reply:

    How much is hair?

    YOUR BABY’S HAIR.

    TJ Reply:

    Also, I finally retired the pump and drag out the boops once a day, and I expect them to quit on me shortly. On that final day, I am going to bust my PayPal account wide open with diapers and diaper accessories.

    BAMBOO VELOUR WIPES! SCENTED BUTT WASH! I’m going to unleash my excellent parenting all OVER this baby’s ass.

  39. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    You asked for a feeling, and so I am going to give you my feeling, which is completely NOT logic-based at all.

    If I had received the pots from a specific set of people (you know, someone I care about and who has the potential to be in my house and ask about the pot but with whom I’m not close enough to be bald-facedly honest):
    I would give the pots back and use the money to buy something similar, even if that something similar would sit in my cupboard. Because of THE GUILT. Which is stupid, but it’s a feeling based response. And I know if I did exchange the pots for something else, I would feel so horrendously guilty that every time the gifter was mentioned or in proximity that the non-pot item I’d purchased would start beating loudly like the tell-tale heart.

    If the gift came from a different set of people (you know, the kind of people you are either very close with and can tell things to or are not close with at all and so never have to worry about them visiting or asking you about the pot or even remembering the pot in the first place [and who really remembers what they get people for their wedding? do you remember? I don’t]): I would return the pots and get whatever else I pleased and only feel a little guilty. Hopefully only a little guilty. (My MIL got me a shirt last year that didn’t fit and the store didn’t have that same shirt that DID fit, so I got a different yet almost identical shirt. And even though I TOLD my MIL that I exchanged the shirt, and she doesn’t care anyway because she is not that kind of gift-giver, I still feel guilty about it.)

    TJ Reply:

    My method is that I need 60 people to tell me to get what I want, and THEN I won’t feel TOO guilty to use whatever it is.

  40. Mama Bub

    I didn’t know that there was a difference between a toddler bed mattress and a crib mattress.

    I think that you gave the pots a chance and since they’re being recalled, you have ZERO obligation to get something similar. I’m all about a person enjoying the gift I give them, so I wouldn’t want you to buy something similar that you’ll just own, but not really use, when you could get something cute and useful. And a slotted spoon, which is only one of those things.

    Plus, I don’t think people come over to your house asking to see the PANS that they gifted you. And if they were that sort of person, you could say that they were recalled. Only a complete WANG would ask what you did with the refund money.

    TJ Reply:

    I don’t know if there’s a difference, either!

  41. Josefina

    We did a floor bed at first, but I don’t know if my experience counts because although we had the floor bed, we didn’t enforce actual sleeping in the floor bed. We co-slept with our kids until they were a million years old & the floor bed was there as an option (that they didn’t really use). We had an adult twin-sized mattress. I do know that I’ve always been amazed at where my kids manage to wedge their bodies while sleeping. For that reason, when we first were transitioning from co-sleeping to bed we just used a folded-in-half comforter on the floor next to our bed.

    I started out the very opposite of hippie, like, sneering at my hippie-inclined friend who was also pregnant and having angst over whether or not to feed the baby organic food. Once I had the kids, certain things just made sense, as you said. I think that I am very much NOT a hippie, though. I just did some things that some hippies probably also do.

    I think that part of giving a gift is the giver releasing it to the recipient, absolutely and completely. No obligation. That said, I’ve gotten more appreciative of gifts the older I get, even if they are not to my taste. I have gotten rid of things in the past, but haven’t done it recently. I think if I was in the situation with the recall and the different needs, I would not feel much obligation to replace the original item.

    TJ Reply:

    I wonder when the shift between parenting by what seems like the right thing to do to parenting by what other people SAY is the right thing to do happened!

  42. Veronica

    1. Thank you for the link. :)

    2. Your baby is precious.

    3. I was not a hippy until I had a baby either. It definitely all started withe the cloth diapers … I think we’re onto something here.

    4. Take those dangerous vessels back and get WHATEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Someone gave you a gift, and now you are giving yourself one. End of story. And if the gift-givers ever come over and request to see them, maybe you could have a copy of the recall notice sitting on top of your fridge, and then just whip it off and hand it to them without a word. That is what I would do.

    5. Thanks again. :)

    TJ Reply:

    Sometimes I read your making an effort Monday posts and it’s so much more efforty than I could ever be that I consider reading it to be MY effort, and then I take a rest.

    Veronica Reply:

    BAH! I laughed out loud at that.

  43. Katy

    Oh goodness, awkward returned gift story! For my baby shower a friend of mine got me a big basket of assorted baby stuff. None of it was from my registry (in her defense, my friend who sent out the shower invites failed to include where I was registered so she was doing the best she could) and I didn’t want or need anything she gave us. I returned everything she gave me except for the basket because I didn’t want to return EVERYTHING. When she and her husband arrived for game night a few days later the first thing her husband says is that he wanted to see the gift from the baby shower. I begin to panic. He’s not being super clear on what he wants to see but as far as I can tell he wants to see the pack of hats she got me. And, um, I don’t have the hats anymore… Just before I was about to awkwardly blurt out that I don’t have the hats anymore because I returned them, she jumped in and clarified that it was the baby hat that another friend had crocheted to look like a boob that he wanted to see. Saved by the boob hat!

    TJ Reply:

    I would like to see the boob hat.

    Cayt Reply:

    I know someone who knit a boob hat and then sewed big black beads on it to be a lotus boob hat. If you are not aware of lotus boob, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, disregard this comment and do not seek out this information.

  44. Elizabeth

    I didn’t read any of the other comments, but I’m all for floor beds. In fact, we would have one if my MOTHER IN LAW didn’t surprise us with a crib. There’s that. In a few months, the crib is being converted to a fun reading fort, and off to the floor Hannah will go.

    I read some Montessori book that advocated floor beds and had tons of tips.

    I’ve never thought of myself as a hippy with the cloth diapers and baby led weaning. Ehh.

    I’m going to the Blathering, and I’m thrilled to know that someone else who won’t want to barhop will be there!

  45. Mugician13

    On the gift return thing:

    First, if it was that specific make/model of pan that is prone to exploding, return the motherfuckers post-haste, whether you’re using them or not.

    Second, I personally don’t understand why any manufacturer would choose to enamel over cast iron cookware. Enamel is a bad idea in the first place, since it’s prone to chipping. Once it’s chipped, it can continue to chip and leave unpleasant particles in the food, or [depending on what’s in the enamel itself] leach unpleasant and/or mildly toxic chemicals into the food. And cast iron is just fine by itself, as long as it’s properly cared for.

    Now that I’ve ranted, to answer your question, my FEEEEELING is… well, slightly conflicted, like yours [although I think you’re well in the clear, as far as the giver asking to see the gift later, since you can just pull out the “Hey… manufacturer recall” card].

    My first inclination would be to go for something similar, but something that you’d actually USE, like say some microwaveable leftover containers, ceramic casserole dishes, a new crock-pot, a new frying pan, or something. If you already have all of the “something similars” you need, then I’d try to keep it kitchen related, but again make sure it’s something you could and would USE.

    On the other hand, I’m sure two enameled cast-iron casserole dishes cost way more than a dollar-store slotted spoon [or even a really pricey one, with the good grip and high heat resistance, and everything… by no means am I calling you a cheapskate with that assumption, I’m just saying a dollar-store spoon serves exactly the same purpose in nearly the same manner, and I know you’re the queen of finding sales & discounts. But I digress…]. So you could easily just use the return for many things that you need and would use.

    My last point [you may now say, “Finally,” and roll your eyes in an exasperated fashion if you so choose…]? The gifters know you and love you [or at least know & love Phil, depending who the dishes actually came from], and the purpose of gift-giving, especially at weddings, is to give you something that will be useful to you, and to serve as a reminder of their love for you every time you use the item. You’re not currently using those, so the only time you’re getting that reminder is when you go through the cabinets looking for what you actually ARE intending to use, happening across those dishes, and going “Oh yeah, Great-Aunt-Twice-Removed Sonja got those for us, they’re really nice, I really should use them, but not tonight.” So, the best thing you could do to honor their gift, in my opinion [which is what you specifically asked for, remember? Our collective opinions?] is to use the money from the return on something you currently do not have but need, AND will use frequently.

    TL;DR: Return cookware. Exchange store credit for something you will frequently use.

    Mugician13 Reply:

    I am so sorry that got as long as it did…

    TJ Reply:

    I should probably put that same apology at the bottom of all of my posts.

    Mugician13 Reply:

    No, it’s your blog. You’re allowed to be as wordy as you like. Commenters, on the other hand, should know when to shut up.

  46. Tara

    Thanks for the shout-out!

    I think you should get whatever you want with your return money. Plus, shopping for baby stuff is so fun.

    We didn’t really get any ridiculous stuff. Well, not that we could return. We did get a LOT of homemade stuff from the old ladies at our church that was… not our style (or anyone’s, I don’t think!). And my aunt decided she didn’t like a rug from our registry so she bought us one that was shaped like a dragonfly(it wasn’t hideous, just not what we wanted!). We returned that rather quickly. We returned a lot of stuff, and wound up with a lot of credit at Target to buy the stuff we wanted/needed.

    OH! My husband’s aunt bought us lingerie. Me a slinky, lacey, RED thing, and my husband a man-thong. And plastic champagne glasses. We didn’t drink then, and the underwear went straight into the trash at home. Not cool.

    LemonFresh Reply:

    Getting a man-thong from one’s aunt must have been… unfortunate. Truly, truly unfortunate.

  47. lenebean

    I completely understand why you asked for the pots, and the subsequent … feelings that they really don’t suit your life, at least not right now. I recently realized that, over the past several years, I have based a lot of my purchasing decisions on who I wanted myself to be rather than who I actually am. My biggest example of this is that I got rid of my very functional desk because I felt that I didn’t have room for that *and* my very simple, easily replaced dining table and chairs. When I stopped and thought about it, I realized I have this person inside that I would like to be–someone who has people over–that is really the opposite of who I really am.

    *Apologies in advance for any typos/nonsensical sentences. My interweb is out and I’m responding from my beloved but sometimes uncooperative Droid.

    So, I feel like it’s ok to get a different type of gift based on a very practical reassessment of who you are, where you live, and what you need. If it comes up, I would probably express gratitude, explain the recall, and say something about how X gives me as much joy.

    Because I’m probably the queen of unrelated subjects, there’s a funny Freakanomics segment that talks about the cost of unwanted gifts. There’s a term for it: “deadweight loss.”

  48. lenebean

    Oh, and also, I’ve gotten to the point with gifts that if it isn’t practical (tchotzkes for graduation, etc., they immediately go into my donate pile. I find extra things like that really take a toll on me because, with ADHD, developing and maintaining some semblance of organization is an uphill battle I fight everyday.

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