Should I question this odd gift from my m-in-law to my daughter?

@much2say (40585)
United States
April 7, 2010 3:54pm CST
This year we did not visit my in-laws for Easter. They're only 5 minutes from us - and we did see them the weekend before. Nothing was officially planned, so we made our own plans . . . which should not have bothered them as they often tell us we cannot come to visit on so and so day because they made other plans already. So my hubby went over there yesterday because they needed help with something. My mother-in-law gave him a Easter basket to give to my daughter. And a card for my baby son. Nice, um, but weird. It was a wooden basket filled with easter grass and cat hair (which my daughter is allergic to). There was one cool chirping chick inside. The rest: one old looks-like-it-melted Hershey's kiss, an punchball in an opened bag (not sure if it was blown previously - we're not going to risk it), and another opened bag which had pens and a white fabric rabbit and egg that was to be colored with these pens . . . looks like some brown liquid had spilled and dried onto the fabric rabbit. What a bizarre Easter basket! The card to our baby son was not an Easter card . . . it was a welcome baby card (they've seen him many times since his birth in November). Inside there was a note written "We are happy you have come to live with us, Love Grandma and Grandpa". We didn't understand the message . . . our son doesn't live with them and neither do we . . . what does this mean? What could this mean? Are my in-laws losing it? I doubt it was to be spiteful about anything . . . they're typically nice . . . but just weird about a lot of things lately.
1 person likes this
11 responses
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
9 Apr 10
I believe that I would be likely to think that they are losing it in some way. You didn't mention exactly how old your in-laws are, but it seems that they are a bit older and perhaps they were having one of those moments where there was some of a lapse in memory. Because of this bizarre experience, I would probably try to keep an eye on them as much as you possibly can and then if you notice that there are other things that seem to be a bit "off" see if yourself and your husband might be able to persuade them to visit their doctor.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
11 Apr 10
MIL is in her late 60's and Alzheimers runs in her family. FIL is 80 and I know his mother became severely senile in her golden years. There are actually a lot of things that are "off" about them . . . but this "gift" takes the cake. I think they realize they're getting "older", and MIL is aware of FIL's mental health . . . but I don't know if she looks at herself as carefully. Believe me, they do tons of strange things - but it's hard to tell if it's because they are signs of some kind of dementia or if they're just not thinking period!!
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
8 Apr 10
no, just say thanks and do what you want with it. seriously, we have gotten a number of weird gifts from my in laws. like one year for my birthday i got a german liqueur which i cannot stand and gave to my hubby.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
11 Apr 10
Yep, that's just what we did thus far. Just said thanks and tossed the poor basket of crap. Hey, at least your in-laws remembered your birthday . . . they never remember mine (but that's a whole 'nother discussion!).
@jlamela (4909)
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
I think those gifts really are weird, but since your parents in law are already on the "sunset" stage of their lives, try ask them in a joke manner why such strange gifts. Try to be nice to them because people in their prime age are so sensitive, some of them are begging some attention, so try to play safe and be nice. Anyway, they did not intend to make harm to your children anyway, they just want some little attention and giving those gifts maybe is one of those actions.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
I think that's all we can do . . . just be nice and sort of joke it off if it ever comes up! I'm sure they were only trying to do something nice for their granddaughter - but this gift was just entirely too weird. I don't think they intended to cause any harm either, but geez, one has to wonder what the heck they were thinking!
@dark_joev (3043)
• United States
8 Apr 10
I would say that mother in law is unstable. If they knew your daughter was allergic to it. I think you may want to be extremely careful because it sounds like it could be dangerous to your kids and you. I wouldn't trust the basket or anything in it. I This is assuming that you know them well being five minutes away from them. I would say that someone may be having mental issues even if they aren't in there older age like 50's they can still have problems start to happen up inside their heads I would use caution about going over there because the mother in law could be really far gone or just starting to go that far away. NOTE: I am in no way a health pro just tryin to spread some helpful "What I would do if I was you." stuff Hope it helps!
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
Believe me, we don't trust my in-laws to ever take care of our kids . . . and so they don't. And we threw out the basket - no sense keeping it around! MIL is in her late 60's and FIL is 80 . . . and there definitely are mental health issues that run in both sides of that family. It's really hard to say if it's because of that or if they're having a senior moment. We are aware of "how they are" - it's just hard to see them that way (especially with bizarre moments like this!).
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Apr 10
All I can say is, some people get really weird when they get older. (shakes head)
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
That is true, dawnald! Alzeimer's runs in MIL's side . . . but MIL is doing pretty well for the most part. But she is forgetful - A LOT - but the amount of forgetfulness hasn't changed the whole time I've known her (some 25 years). But FIL has changed many degrees . . . he was one a stern, confident man . . . now he's just a softie and very emotional.
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
7 Apr 10
As I read your discussion, I thought that I could relate. I am a grandmother and my daughter and grandchildren went to her husbands parents on Easter. I saw them all the week before and I had to work anyway so it was no big deal. I did fix the kids each a little basket. I get how cat hair can get into things...everything. The candy could melt being held onto for a while. Punch ball bag being open was probably not previously blown up. They don't fit back into the packaging right. I think that would be obvious. The welcome baby card is very odd. Was that message handwritten or was it the message on the card? They don't sound spiteful to me either but I agree, it's kind of odd.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
You're right - they're not spiteful people - but perhaps they are grandparents that are just not thinking so well. Their house is filthy with pet hair on the carpets and everywhere . . . so yes, I can see how it could get everywhere including the gift . . . but they should know better that we are all carefully about my daughter and being anywhere near cat stuff (their eye sight probably not as good anymore?). There was only ONE normal silver foiled Hershey's kiss . . . it looked rather old and didn't look like it was supposed to be in the basket. We just threw the whole thing out because it was just plain gross. And the card . . . the message was written in mother in law's writing . . . yes, very odd.
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
7 Apr 10
Was the cat hair deliberately placed in the basket or was it just kind of mixed in with the grass? How old are your in laws? Have they given bizarre, slightly used gifts in the past? Honestly, to me it sounds like they're losing it. I know I've dealt with older people in the family and even just here at work that have some really 'quirky' ways of teaching people lessons or trying to give passive-aggressive little digs or hints. Sometimes it's really skewed but you can at least see what they're trying to get at, but this just doesn't make ANY sense! Very strange...
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
I think the cat hair got mixed in with the grass . . . their place is pretty filthy with pet hair all over the place - so it doesn't surprise me. But I think it's bad especially since they know my daughter gets very itchy in their house - they probably didn't even see it. MIL is in her late 60's and FIL is 80 now . . . and yes, there are mental health issues that run in the family. They're not the type of people who do "mean" things - so that's why I question this "gift". I am thinking they did some cleaning and they found some "stuff" that they thought my daughter would enjoy and just threw it all together. Ugh . . . but that still doesn't explain the card.
@Shawchert (1040)
• United States
7 Apr 10
that sounds rather wierd, maybe you should go up to them and ask them about it.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
Well, my husband was going to question it - afterall, it's his parents. But my thoughts were to just chuck it and let it be. They probably sincerely thought it was a nice gesture for their grandchild . . . that's why I thought we should just let it be . . . but I do have to wonder what they were thinking.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
7 Apr 10
Sounds a bit like they could be losing it.....or having a senior moment.thinking they were doing something good....I wouldn't worry about it until I got more of the same...then I would definately question their sanity!
@much2say (40585)
• United States
10 Apr 10
Senior moment - oy! They're not real "thinkers", so it's hard to say if they're really losing it, or if some kind of dementia is kicking in. That is by far the weirdest gift we've ever gotten from them. Ick.
• United States
7 Apr 10
This could have so many meanings to it. Either your mother in law is absolutely terrible at giving gifts or she's a little unstable. I wouldn't take it personally either way. It is slightly odd that there would be cat hair in the easter basket though. I don't really know how else to explain this.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
9 Apr 10
I think it's a bit of both. When MIL buys gifts, she has no head . . . she is horrible at picking gifts for everyone. And both MIL and FIL are slightly unstable anyway (long story) . . . and they both have mental health issues that run in the family. Well, the cat hair probably got mixed in somehow - their place is filthy and I can tell they don't vacuum often because there is pet hair visible on their carpet . . . but it's pretty gross how it could have gotten into the gift. We just threw out the entire thing . . . they don't have to know!
@lelin1123 (15643)
• Puerto Rico
7 Apr 10
There definitely seems to be something wrong with your mother-in-law. I'm sure she is the one who prepared the basket because most men don't deal with this for Easter. You don't say how old she is but if you guys get along good then something is wrong. I would have your husband check it out because I think this is the beginning of a serious problem for her. Good Luck.
@much2say (40585)
• United States
9 Apr 10
You're right - I don't think FIL had a hand in this gift - he seems to only know how to sign cards - hee hee. MIL is in her late 60's and Alzheimer's runs in her family - but I don't know if doing weird things like this is a symptom. It's actually FIL's mother who had gone senile. But yes, it does seem like serious problems for both of them lie ahead.