She bought him a “baby laptop” that lights up and plays music, saying, “Well, I didn’t have time to travel back to the 1950s to buy him blocks.” I am very upset that she not only completely disregarded our wishes but also insulted our choices. My husband agrees with me.
We firmly believe in the importance of creative play. Both my husband and I have had this discussion with her several times. Our choice may seem a bit strange, but I feel like she should respect our wishes. I do not want to hurt her feelings but I am considering returning the gift.
I also feel this situation is symbolic of a much larger problem. She questions every decision we make as parents and is constantly making snide comments about our choices. Any advice?
Kidding, or thereabouts. You’re right about a larger problem, but it’s larger even than the snide-comment problem. She could so easily just accept your child-rearing approach at face value. I mean, you’re asking for blocks, not explosives. Instead, she’s reacting to your choices.
On top of that, she’s handling her reaction poorly. She isn’t, for example, attempting a reasoned argument against buying blocks – maybe, “I know you want to make good choices for Baby, but I’m concerned it’s going too far – I’d like some leeway to have a little fun.” That’s something you can work with, even if you strongly disagree. Instead she’s sniping and undermining. You can’t work with that.
You can neutralize this. It takes time, though, plus patience, compassion, careful battle-choosing, and full spousal cooperation. That’s because you need to:
You and your husband are in charge. Good bosses are flexible, fair, fierce.