As I discussed last week, Christmas is a double-edged sword.
The kid got way too many toys for Christmas and he had way too many toys already. But it’s not always the quantity of toys that is the problem. It’s the quality. Some toys are educational, some are musical, some are harmless and some are the devil.
Every kid has received a gift that immediately becomes the bane of their parents’ existence, for a variety of potential reasons. After a morning spent nursing a headache one of those gifts had given me, I reached out online and asked other parents what one gift they wished their child had never received, and why.
Here were the top three responses, plus one slightly more universal item:
1) Musical Instruments/Headaches – Gotta agree with this. My son received a little drum set this Christmas. Not only is it a drum set, it’s ELECTRONIC. There are sensors that make different hitting surfaces, all shaped like actual parts of a drum-kit – in this case a bass, snare, tom and cymbal – sound like the corresponding drum. Which is fine, less breakable. What’s NOT fine is the electronic component that a normal drum-kit does not have (except maybe Neal Peart’s, which I think also includes a pizza maker and pottery wheel), and that plays a circus-music version of Todd Rundgren’s insipid “Bang on My Drum All Day” OVER AND OVER. Incessantly and forever and ever. Add this new torture device THREE keyboards, a recorder, band-in-a-box (maracas, triangle, tambourine, clackers), two electronic guitars and one actual guitar, and it’s like living in my high school band room.
2) Play-doh/Messy – Other parents know better than I the dangers of Play-doh. Until recently, all my kid did with his was make it into a ball and throw it – which was better than when he used to EAT IT. Of course, I’m learning fast, thanks to the little shape makers that he got for Christmas. These things let him shape the strange-smelling clay into fake fruit and food (way to discourage the eating thing, Play-doh!) and always leaves immeasurable amounts of Play-doh residue all over the place. It’s gross. I’d actually almost prefer he eat it. At least that way it would go right into his diaper instead of in every nook and cranny in the house. Easy cleanup!
3) Legos/Pain -This is another toy that has only recently made an appearance in our house, but I am already dreading the pain the jagged little building blocks will cause me in the years to come. Countless parents blamed their children’s rapidly increasing lexicon of curse words on Mom and Dad’s mishaps with Legos. I’m not looking forward to it.
4) Anything that takes batteries/Headaches & Debt – This includes musical instruments, stuffed animals that talk and sing, things that light up, cars and trains that hum and roll… Not only are these kinds of things headache-makes, if they take batteries they are wallet emptiers. Batteries are expensive! My kid got a battery-powered Thomas the Train Engine toy that he hasn’t stopped battery-powering since Christmas Day. At this rate he may single-handedly revive the economy purely out a need to power his stupid train.
After hearing from other parents with kids around mine’s age, I’m almost at the point where I want to buy my son a laptop and a cellphone, just so I can get rid of the rest of this crap.
At least that way I’d get a new gadget or two that I’d actually like to play with. Though I’m totally into those Indiana Jones Legos.