Pardon me for a moment while I break from my usual introspective, touching, deep posts, but this must be said.
I accept that having small kids means toys. A coffee table that once held an arrangement of candles is now marked by crayon and carpeted in matchbox cars. I don’t walk in the kitchen anymore without first scouting out what is sure to be a mine field of plastic food and rattles. My bedroom – my sanctuary – has two toy bins, which are usually empty because the toys are all over the floor. I’m okay with all of it. It’s like the pile of laundry on the stairs. After a while, you don’t even notice it anymore. You just step right on over it, ignorant of its existence.
I’ve even grown fond of toys I never though I could. When my neighbor brought over a toy drum set with miscellaneous
noise polluters percussive toys inside, she left it on my front step and waved from across the street, clearly glad to be passing it on to another family. Turns out, there is nothing cuter than a toddler playing the snare drum, marching around the house and asking you to join the parade. I consider myself pretty toy-tolerant. I mean, come on. I would have loved a toy drum set as a kid. And the pop-up tent? Instant castle. Or space ship. Or Cave. Worth the hassle.
But there are a few toys that I hate with a passion.
1. Disney Princess TIny Dolls. What the fuck is it about tiny toys that makes them so appealing to kids? Remember Micromachines? My brother and I were NUTS for Micromachines. “Look! I got a new tiny car! It’s exactly the same as my Hot Wheels except it’s smaller and the wheels don’t turn!” These small aristocrats even come with tiny plastic dresses (and sometimes shoes!) that come off. The best part? Apparently the clothes don’t go back on without the help of a parent. It’s inconvenient AND chokable.
2. Squinkies. Even tinier but with less point. At least the princesses are dolls. They can act out stories after their wardrobe changes. But will somebody please explain to me what these are supposed to be and why my daughter wants them “SOOOO bad, mommy!” They are not allowed in our house.
3. Books with sound effects. You know what the great thing about books is? They’re quiet. It’s the one quiet thing in the house that my preschooler loves to do. They’re supposed to be about using your imagination to fill in the imagery and get lost in the story. Those “match up the picture with the sound button” books take away from the story. They wake up sleeping babies. And anyway, I do a pretty wicked impression of a bumblebee opening a squeaky door. I don’t really need it built into the book.
4. Bath Whistles. Or any musical bath toy of any kind. The inventor of these toys couldn’t possibly have had kids. “Let’s see…small children love loud noises…they can’t do anything in moderation…and bathrooms are usually small spaces with great acoustics…I know! A bath whistle! They’ll love that!” FAIL.
5. Candyland. I truly ADORE playing games with my preschooler. It’s astounding how much she understands about strategy and turn-taking, and it’s a great opportunity to work on social skills. I will play Go Fish with her any day. Or Memory. We even have some Disney Princess dominos that are great fun. But Candyland makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Sometimes I stack the deck to make sure nobody goes backward to those “special character spaces,” lest the game last for 35 minutes. And have you seen the art on the updated game? Creepy.
So that’s my toy shit list. The five biggest offenders. Oh, I’ll probably end up putting up with them anyway because I love my kids, but that won’t keep me from complaining about it.
I gotta know. Which of your kids’ toys do you secretly want to throw out?