Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Four stores and many Christmases ago. . ."

I'm not quite sure where my deep-seated feelings about toys started. . .

. . . but they resurfaced in the toy aisle at Sears while some unhelpful employees were checking on some $4.99 wrench set for M they had just announced over the PA. I had plenty of time to roam around those 2 aisles and ponder on this toy thing for a full 20 minutes until they told us they didn't know what on earth M was talking about.

Noisy toys, with buttons and lights and sounds. . . . make me anxious. Very. anxious. Yet, I felt compelled to "Touch my Hand!" or "Try it Now!" and push the buttons. The tinny, contrived racket would begin and I'd immediately look for the shut off button. When none could be found, I would sign loudly, avert my eyes, and walk to the other aisle until the annoying sound subsided.

I finally found a semi-normal push 'n go car - where you push the guy down and the car speeds off with reckless abandon. I secretly and quietly celebrated for having found a normal, old-timey sort of toy. Then I noticed a curious red button. I could not be restrained. I pushed it. And then I noticed too-late the ad on the package touting "Lights and Sound!". As I was scurrying away, acting like I was not the culprit who started it all, I decided that I wouldn't mind my kid having this toy, but that I'd immediately find a way to sabotage the sound.

Suddenly, I had a mental image of myself breaking all noisy toys as they come into the house. Or surreptitiously removing the batteries and saying "Oops! It broke!" Not a pretty sight.

Then, I turned the corner and saw some seemingly harmless baking/cooking sets. I thought to myself, "OK. That would be good." Then I quickly worried about the social implications and what message that would send my girls about what is expected of them. . . Dumb, but so me. Then I thought how girls and boys should both learn domesticity, so either way, baking/cooking sets would not be that bad. I was sorely disappointed by the fact that these were "for play only" and not safe for microwaves or dishwashers. And that's how my hopes for "mommy and me" baking time were dashed.

And then I saw all the baby dolls. Which fah-reak me out! There's the Baby Alive, and the Baby So Real, and the Little Mommy. True, the Baby So Real looks very real, but I don't want my kids to be "little mommies". I want my kids to be little kids. Plus my very feminist inclinations gnawed at my insides and I had another mental battle over whether or not baby dolls will be OK in our house.

It went something like this: baby dolls just teach little girls that having babies is their only lot in life, which could possibly lead to confusion as they reach their tweens, teens, and early 20s - particularly if the fairytale does not materialize. BUT, I played with baby dolls and have made it into my 30s with nary a munchkin in sight, so maybe my thinking is flawed. AND I will, in fact, be parenting them through these years and intend to emphasize the importance of education, so perhaps they won't rush off to have babies at the age of 15.

So. OK. ONE baby doll. Maybe.

But Bratz are definitely out! And I've taken a sudden dislike to Dora and Diego, too.

Apparently, my unborn children are already (and unwittingly) resigned to a life of puzzles, crappy bakeware, board games, books, wooden toys. . . and other such quiet things.

In other news, I read about other people's Christmas gift traditions today. (Isn't blogging great?) I read about parents who don't "do Santa" in their homes, and parents who only give 3 gifts because that's how many baby Jesus received.

I'm garnering ideas by the day. Now, if I could just let go of all my Toy Issues . . . . . . Hmmm, it's a good thing we don't have to worry about any of this for a couple years yet!

[Title quote is from "Toys"]


hayngrl101 said...

mmm, sorry, but you are gonna have to find some dolls you can tolerate because that whole play mommy gig is something that helps to develop literacy skills... which is a must have if you want your kids to accell (sp) academically. true story.

hayngrl101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trina said...

i have to ashamedly admit that i have either hid or thrown away noisy toys of the kids. there is a toy that kaylee got in a cinderella set that was a little blowdryer and when she turned it on it was like "hey harry, what's the most annoying sound in the world?.... aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!" i got rid of it after long enough and then she got another one! needless to say it's gone too!

Jonathan and Katherine Earl said...

Andrew keeps telling us he wants a "microwave", usually when he sees the Easy Bake ovens at the store. He pretends to change his bear's diaper from time to time. Even the "quiet" toys he has he adds sound effects to when playing with them. I also look for toys that have a volume adjust...that way he can have the sounds, but they are not too loud. There is only one toy (a gift from someone else) that I can't stand the sounds on, so the batteries are out permanently. Jonathan and I usually try to confere about any "noisy" toys and decide if we can stand all the racket or not. He also loves the quiet toys and "reading" his books.

Jen said...

we solve the noisy toy issue by proclaiming it a "playroom/bedroom toy" and when one comes out they get reminded that it is a playroom toy and they take it back. aaahhhh it is a wonderful phrase that has saved my sanity!! and dolls are fun. but i gotta say there are way too many freaky dolls out there!! my favorite not freaky doll is a cheap-o walmart doll for $5! gotta love it! I say stop trying to make them real, it is creepy! just make it a doll!!!!!!!!!! anyway that is how i feel! plus i agree w/ the no bratz thing. really who wants their girl playing w/ something named bratz? so dumb!

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