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'AITA for making my cousin-in-laws buy my daughter a new doll after their kid ruined it?' UPDATED

'AITA for making my cousin-in-laws buy my daughter a new doll after their kid ruined it?' UPDATED


Disagreements around parenting can cause some serious rifts with extended family. Luckily, the internet is always here to offer a willing ear and some advice.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for insisting her in-laws buy her daughter a new doll. She wrote:

"AITA for insisting that my in-laws buy my daughter a new doll?"

This past Christmas, my mother got my daughter "Amy" (4F) a doll she'd been asking for. It's a baby version of Mirabel, from the Disney movie Encanto. It quickly became her favorite. My husband's cousin "Nat" has a daughter I'll call "Julie" (6F). I wouldn't classify her as "spoiled," but she does have a tendency of disobeying other people.

There have been numerous occasions in which I asked Julie to do something ("please sit down", "please don't touch that", etc.) and she either ignored me or went behind my back to do the opposite. While I understand that she's a child, Nat rarely makes any attempt to educate her daughter or correct her behavior.

Last week, Nat and Julie came to visit us with some other relatives. Julie saw the Mirabel doll and asked my daughter if she could play with her. Amy refused. Julie protested, but I spoke with the girls and managed to get them to play with other toys. Some time later, the kids sat down to watch TV while me and the others got dinner ready.

When we went back to the living room, Julie was gone. After a short search, we found her in my bathroom. She had taken not only the Mirabel doll, but also my nail polish carrying case. Julie had used my nail polish to paint the doll's hair, face and dress. It covered most of her facial painting, matted her hair and ruined her clothes. Amy saw what happened and was devastated.

When we asked Julie what she was doing, she said she was giving the doll a makeover. Nat and Julie left in a hurry. The next day, I asked Nat what she planned to do about it, she suggested that the girls apologize to each other (Julie for painting the doll; Amy for not sharing it in the first place) and "hug it out", and offered to give me a couple new bottles of nail polish.

I made it clear that Amy didn't need to apologize, and while I didn't care about the nail polish (they cost $4 and Julie didn't empty the bottles she used), I did expect Nat and her husband to replace the doll. Nat refused.

She said that it wouldn't be fair for her to waste money over an "innocent mistake" a child had made. She also doesn't think Julie should be the only one apologizing, as none of this would have happened if Amy had agreed to share in the first place.

I asked her twice, she said no both times. Finally, I called her husband and explained the situation. He apologized profusely and agreed to buy Amy a new doll. He stopped by on Saturday and gave it to us. He also brought Julie along and made her apologize to Amy. Apparently, Nat and her husband fought over this, as she kept insisting that Julie was just a child and they owed us nothing.

So now, in addition to saying it was entitled of me to expect a new doll, she is blaming me for their fight. My husband is on my side, but my MIL thinks I should apologize, as this has blown out of proportion and I could have dealt with it more gracefully. She also thinks it was wrong of Amy to refuse to share. AITA?

Redditors had plenty to say in response.

PenaltyAggressive810 wrote:

Oh my god how infuriating. There is no reason your daughter should have had to share her doll in the first place. MIL is way out of line for that. Your daughter shared her other toys. You know damn well that other little girl did that to your daughter’s doll deliberately out of spite.

I’m angry at you for even considering for a moment that you’re wrong in this. The other daughter’s mother is so far out of line it’s insane. NTA and for the love of god never let those AHs in your house again.

OP responded:

I do think this was more of a "not knowing how nail polish works" situation than her trying to ruin the doll out of spite. Julie has been interested in "makeovers" for a while. She also asked us if we couldn't "wash it off."

PenaltyAggressive810 responded:

She knows how nail polish works. If she didn’t know she was doing something wrong she wouldn’t have hid while she did it. She was told she couldn’t play with that particular doll. She then took that particular doll and ruined it with nail polish. She knew exactly what she was doing.

FragrantEconomist386 wrote:

NTA. Nat is not raising her daughter right. Fortunately her husband seems to have more of a handle on how things should be done. As for your daughter: She should not be made to apologize for not sharing. You have the right to refuse sharing the stuff that is important to you. Julie is heading for a difficult life if her mother is allowed to determine her direction.

OP responded:

Amy usually shares everything. Earlier this month, my older son accidentally broke one of his toys, and Amy got very protective of her own. She had a playdate with another cousin weeks ago and refused to share any toy at all. We've been trying to teach her to share again while still being careful, but I told her it was okay for Mirabel and some other favorites to remain off-limits.

forgeris wrote:

Every sane person is on your side, so NTA. At least spoiled girls dad has some common sense running in him. I wonder why do people hang out with shit relatives and then complain about issues that they cause, I give everyone fair chance and if they blow it then they are gone out of my life and I couldn't care less about them whining and complaining, everyone get's what they deserve.

OP responded:

Mostly because they're not always sh*t people. Nat's husband has a daughter from a previous relationship who is good friends with my older son, and Amy and Julie get along well most of the time. Nat is also not a bad person unless it comes to Julie.

OkMark6180 wrote:

Did you give her the painted doll?

OP responded:

No, we still have it. They left quickly after the incident, and we haven't seen Nat in person since.

AndSoItGoes24 wrote:

Losing the doll is certainly part of the discipline for Julie. She doesn't get rewarded in any way for being destructive and striking out at her cousin by making the doll undesirable to her.

(But, TBH with you, I would replace the doll myself and my cousin and her kid would not be guests in my home anymore. Your cousin doesn't want peace. She wants to play victim as though not being attentive to her own child in someone else's home is somehow the homeowner's fault.)

OP responded:

Oh, the doll's already been replaced by Nat's husband. And I have no interest in giving Julie the painted doll.

5CatsNoWaiting wrote:

OP, if Amy is as tender-hearted about her toys as my sibs were at this age, a replacement Baby Mirabel might not be 100% what she needs. It's probably possible to get the nail polish off Original Baby Mirabel with a qtip and some hand sanitizer (or rubbing alcohol). Test it on a relatively hidden spot first, of course.

Then Amy can have Twin Baby Mirabels, which might be awesome. NTA, of course. I hope Julie doesn't grow up to be evil. My cousins turned out OK, but one of them did go through a monstrous stage for a while.

OP responded:

My main concern was that she'd painted on top of the doll's face paint. So even if we could remove the nail polish, we might remove the original paint as well.

A week later, OP jumped on with an update.

I wasn't going to write an update, but I thought I'd let you know that I read your comments and decided to follow your advice. I still don't think Julie's actions were completely intentional. The nail polish she's used to is the kind that peels off, so I do believe she genuinely thought we could wash the doll later.

Even if that's not the case, I wouldn't villainize a 6-year-old. Yes, I know children can be cruel, and I'm not saying Julie's too young to understand she was doing something wrong. I just don't think the reasons behind her actions were as vindictive as people are making them out to be.

If I had to blame anyone, it would be Nat. Especially because not only did she protest against Julie apologizing to Amy, but she also never apologized herself. All that said, there are two pieces of advice from the comments on my previous post that I decided to follow. The first is that Nat and Julie are no longer welcome at our house. We're not cutting ties with them, as we usually all get along well.

Also, we're immigrants and they're some of the only relatives we have in this country, and that's not something we want to sacrifice right now. So from now on, we're only meeting them at their house, public spaces and events we're not hosting. That might change in the future, either when Julie gets older or if we ever sense a change in their behavior.

My son's 9th birthday party is coming up, and we made it clear Nat and Julie aren't welcome. We did invite Nat's stepdaughter (her husband's child from a previous relationship), since she's friends with my son. Nat's not happy about this, but we don't care. The second piece of advice I'm following: during the weekend, my husband and I bought a big wooden box, which we'll leave in our closet.

Whenever we have guests over, our kids can fill it with whatever toys they don't want to share. We all painted and decorated the box with stickers and ribbons on Sunday. As for the painted doll...Amy has seen Toy Story a few times. She didn't want to throw her original Mirabel away or give her to someone else.

We gave the doll a bath, and though we couldn't get the nail polish off, Amy decided to keep her. So now, she has two dolls: Mirabel (given to her by Nat's husband) and "Crazybel", her older twin sister. Tea parties have been interesting lately. I think that's all. Amy is happy, and my family is doing great. Thanks everybody!

The internet jumped on with a lot of responses to the update.

extinct_diplodocus wrote:

Thanks for the update! Part of your restrictions should be MIL never gets unsupervised time with Amy so that you can keep her from trying to brainwash Amy that she must share.

OP responded:

MIL still lives in our home country and was visiting us when this happened. She's already left, and we probably won't see her until July.

cryinoverwangxian wrote:

I think you made good choices. There are people who professionally restore dolls damaged like this. You can find them online if you want tips, if Amy wants you to, but it sounds like she’s come up with a great solution. Creative kid!

OP responded:

Crazybel is part of the family, I wouldn't dream of changing her hahahah. If Amy ever wants to, I'll do my research and see what I can do. Knowing my kid, though...Crazybel will stay crazy.

Kingsdaughter613 wrote:

Just FYI: alcohol may get rid of the nail polish. There are doll forums here with good restoration tips.

OP responded:

It would be too risky. One of the eyes and half of the lips are almost completely covered by the nail polish. And Amy has the new doll now, so there's no reason to try to make that work right now.

Sad_Cup3904 wrote:

Very glad to see you aren’t running with some of the more unhinged comments that make it out to seem like this child, who made a mistake and seems to have very little in the responsible parenting department, at least on the mothers side, is some evil villain. Seems like some of the people on AITA just really have angry, sad lives.

OP responded:

Yeah, I was a little shocked by that. Children can be cruel, but they're still kids. It's always been clear to me that this was a parenting problem, not just Julie deciding to destroy Amy's toys. Nat's "mutual apology and hug it out" logic was the main reason the "adult" part of the problem even started.

2moms3grls wrote:

Love that your daughter didn't want to get rid of her because she is "damaged." That's a good girl right there! And some good parenting.

OP responded:

That's Amy for ya...

The part in Toy Story 3 that made her cry the most was the evil bear's backstory. She didn't want Crazybel to feel like she was being replaced.

IllTemperedOldWoman wrote:

Be careful about punishing the 6 year old by withholding family connections for years, over something she did when she was 6. You lose moral high ground over time.

OP responded:

We're not withholding family connections, she's just not coming to our house.

It sounds like OP got it all squared away in the end.

Sources: Reddit
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