How Do I Tell Her No

9 Replies
Jbear - October 20

This isn't really an infant care question, but I need advice. I have a neighbor with an autistic son. She came over one day and saw a quilt I had made, and then asked me to sew something for her son's therapy. I told her I probably could, although I don't have a sewing machine, and asked her to bring me a picture of what she wanted. It sounded simple enough. Well, last night she came over with a catalog. She had 10 things circled in it that she hoped I could make for her son. I don't mind making one or two things, but I'm not up to sewing an entire catalog. At the same time, I feel bad telling her no. If it was for her, I'd have no problem refusing, but it's for her little boy. She knows I'm not working right now, but I have my hands full taking care of my three year old and two month old. I can't suggest to her that she just order the stuff from the catalog, because she can't afford it. What should I tell her? Even if I made the 10 things she wanted, next month she'd probably be back with 20 more.


P - October 20

Wow that's a toughie... I personally think it was a little much for her to ask you to make so many. Are you sure she wasn't just giving you an idea of what she wanted? If she really wants all ten tell exactly what you said here; you don't have the time to make so many. You have no reason to feel bad, it sounds to me like she's taking advantage of your good nature. I don't want to jump to conclusions because I don't know your neighbour, but are you sure she's not taking advantage of her sons illness? If you have the time, make one or two things but I would draw the line at that. Who is providing the materials?


ruthie - October 21

well, here is what I would do personally, although I don't know the exact details of the situation,... I would go to her with the catalog in my hand and tell/ ask her in a friendly and a little confused way something like: well I was going over making your quilt, and I wasnt exactly sure of what you wanted exactly because you circled such a broad group of things, can you tell me again how you want that quilt...? Ok, i think this comes off right and not at all rude, but at the same time gives her the idea that you are willing to make one of those things... and that also gives you the opportunity to reply kindly in case she would in fact say that she wants all of them,( i doubt that at that point she would say, oh actually i want them all!!!!) you can just say, I really don't have the time for all of them! good luck, let us know what happens


Jbear - October 21

They were all different things: a vest, shoe weights, a stretchy pouch that covers the child from head to toe, a tunnel to crawl through, and a bunch of shaped pillows. It's a little out of my league...I make doll clothes and paper-pieced quilts. The one I had told her I could make was the stretchy pouch. She said she would buy the fabric...once she sees how much it is, she might give up on the rest. It's just hard because she has such hope for her son, that if she can just get all the right things for him he'll be "cured."


kr - October 21

Wow! No machine and she asked you to sew things from a catalog. Can you look through the catalog with her and mention that many of the things would be too complicated? Maybe if she knew just how long it would take she would be inclined to help. Could you offer to have her over and sew together? Maybe you could work on your project and give her pointers for her projects? It would be to her benefit if she learned how to sew. You could make it fun, like a mom's day together, and help her with the patterns.


karine - October 21

i like Kr ideas!! try it out. or simply just tell her that you cannot make everything she wants, without a sewing machine. are the things in the catalogue very expensive?? cause the material will be? you have to think that you have your kids to care for as well. and if you feel too badly, just tell her to pick the stuff that is more important for her son (an amount that you think woudnt be too much) and let her know that is all you can do for her.


NO booster - October 21

oh I have a catalog too... of things I'd like to get made ... do you .... do you think when you're finnished .... ummm that just maybe .... you could ....... it's only 30 things .....


kr - October 21

I was wondering...In the Pacific Northwest teachers have resources to help them work with students with autism. A school district's occupational/physical/orthapedic therapists have access a library full of devices and materials. Those things are for the student's use in the cla__sroom, but very often the student is given permission to take those things home. This would be going way beyond your neighborly duty JBear, but have you suggested to your neighbor that she show the magazine to her son's teacher? There must be other resources in the community that she can access.


ally - October 22

tell her ur 2 mth old is giving u a hard time and to pick out one thing thats her fave as u dont get alot of time lately to sew or to do much, say he isnt sleeping much cause when they arent u cant get much done.........simple.. i like the other ideas given by the other girls too, if u have to tell a white lie do it, even if u have to add when things settle down u will try make some more but for now can she pick out the one she wants most, i am giving u this answer as my little one didnt sleep much today and its hard, u get nothing done especially sewing altho i dont sew, good luck


Jbear - October 23

Thanks, everyone...Sophie has started teething already, so I will use that as an excuse. (My neighbor is the one who pointed out the little tooth, so she'll know it's the truth.) I do wish she could find more resources in the community for her son. She's afraid to send him to public school because she thinks he'll be abused, so she spends all day with him at a private school, not a school for special-needs children but just a regular school. He goes to therapy, too (the catalog was from the therapist.) Anyhow, thanks everyone for helping me figure out what to say.



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