We are pretty good friends with another family here in town, and they have a daughter who is a year older than WeePiglet. Let's call her Rabbit. The girls get along really well and are good buddies to each other.
Rabbit's mom is a nice enough lady and we get along as well as can be expected, when you consider she is the polar opposite of me in political viewpoint (and all that can be inferred from that).
Anyway, Rabbit's mom likes to give WeePiglet her daughter's hand-me-downs. I feel uncomfortable with this setup sometimes, because we are doing pretty okay, financially, and the Rabbit family is struggling a bit. So I feel weird taking things from them that I could easily buy, and most of the time I tell her "no, thank you, WeePiglet has plenty of clothes right now."
So Rabbit's birthday has just come and gone, and I thought it would be nice to tuck $50 into her birthday card with a note that says "hang on to this cash so you and WeePiglet can go shopping for back-to-school together!" I thought that since WeePiglet ends up with half of Rabbit's clothes anyway, we might as well start buying them.
On the way out of the party, I stopped MomRabbit to give her a heads-up about it. Her reaction was strange, to say the least. She seemed angry at me, almost, and said "why on earth did you give her so much money?"
Um, because it's her birthday? And it's for a specific purpose? Also, she's nine years old. Where is she going to spend $50 if not under her mother's supervision?
It was really confusing to me, and I'm wondering now if I did something wrong or breached some sort of etiquette by doing this. I feel really uncomfortable about it.
ETA: Do you guys think it was weird because it was cash? I mentioned in a comment that I know we spent at least $50 on both of MomRabbit's kids' gifts for Xmas, and they gave WeePiglet a similar amount of stuff for Hanukkah. But because it is actual cash, maybe that's making it weird?
Another commenter suggested that a gift card might have been a better way to go about it, but $50 is still $50. How is a gift card changing the situation?
ETAETA: Okay, so I couldn't shake this discomfort and so I reached out to MomRabbit and asked her straight-up, if what I did was wrong/inappropriate. Turns out, this is not on me at all and that I was just a victim of fallout from an unrelated situation. People are strange.
We talked it out and I asked her point-blank about some of the issues folks brought up in the comments and she laughed at me and said "I bought her an iPhone. Do you really think I'm upset that you gave her money?" Then she explained why she reacted the way she did and I get it, and we're all good. So then I figured what the hell, might as well discuss the hand-me-down situation so I did that. We are now on the same page - she just never thought that she should donate them when there is a perfectly useful kid sitting right there. I explained that WeePiglet's dresser drawers and closet are already bursting at the seams and that we appreciate the thought, but it's just not necessary at all. We worked it out. Some people can't see past their own doorstep sometimes. Plus, WeePiglet and Rabbit are just about the same size now, so by the time Rabbit grows out of something, WeePiglet has, too.
Thanks for everyone's insight - you are all just the best people, you know?