When good toys go bad, the problem with gift giving

Very careful amounts of time and energy go into choosing the gifts to give my children for both birthdays and Christmas; not just everything automatically makes the cut.

Sure, the kids can tell me what they want until they’re blue in the face; they can make lists and check them twice or twenty times; they can beg and plead and manipulate me with their sweet little smiles and gigantic brown eyes with those mother-badword camel eyelashes that I so envy- but if it doesn’t pass my guidelines, that bitch is stuck sitting on a shelf for … well, I would imagine some evil aunt, uncle or grandparent to buy.

SNORT. Yeah.
They wish.

For me, a gift isn’t just about the price or size or how sturdy I think it will be when put up against two sugar-cracked out kids. Absolutely, things like that get factored in to the equation- as do things like age range and the price vs. how long I think it will remain interesting to turds who end up playing more with the boxes than the toys inside of them (yes, that old parenting tale is true.) There’s really nothing more frustrating than getting your kid exactly what they want and they toss it aside after playing with it twice, never to be played with again.
Woody would be ASHAMED, y’all. Ah-shamed.

I have tried to order this list of factors, but two keep coming in tied for “most important”- with one nearly eking out the leading edge within the last year- and that would be the question that I think ALL parents who have developed an unhealthy hatred of certain toys should ask themselves before walking up to the cash register:
How ANNOYING will this toy become after repeated use?

It’s important to know these things BEFORE buying. Far too many times has a toy made it past the front threshold only to find out that it had NO volume setting. Who the fuck are these people trying to kill? I’m not the most patient person on the planet- but I figure to tolerate two toddlers at once, and now two mouthy little boys… my tolerance for douchebaggery and jackassery has to be pretty friggin’ high- but a LOUD toy with no way to turn down is going to find itself magically “broken” before a month has even passed.
Once it clicked in my panicked, irritated brain that this was essentially a ginormous waste of money to be buying gifts that can’t even be used to their full ability in fear of adult head explosions is when I decided there would need to be a list to avoid the butthurt my wallet felt and the butthurt expressions on the kids faces when I informed them their beloved obnoxious shitfaced toy was “broken.”

I weep for the decline of
awesome children’s programming

The first to be on the checklist was of course volume. Then tolerance of repetition (a song might sound cute the first dozen times, but when you have that button continually pressed so it sounds like the song is rapping and that goes on for hours on end for days on end for weeks on end… yeah… That toy might be taking a trip to mallet town). Of course if repetition was on the list, you’d also want to make sure that even if the song doesn’t  seem annoying- neither does the voice SINGING the song. The kiddie songs of today are no “skinna merinky-dinky-dink”– they are so hokey and nasally and perky that I want to kick them straight in the throat. Do you HAVE to sing like that? Really? Do you hate your life and choose to make us parents suffer along with you? Then I have to ask myself if it is at ALL possible for this thing to be sat on and ridden around my living room like a vehicle. I don’t know if you’ve ever been circled by a child on a toy… if you haven’t… I hate you, I mean… you’re lucky.
Next I must ponder whether or not stepping on said toy in the middle of the night will either cause me to fall and smash my face, or to consider hacking off my feet like Robin Hood in Saw (are you with me?) Yeah Lego Duplo- I’m looking at you.

Once I started going through the mental checklist (as best I could remember with screeching klingons in tow)- life because just a tad more peaceful. Just a LITTLE bit. The obnoxious toys that once sneaked past my guard were slowly being filtered out as the boys grew out of them (or just got tired of them not making any noise)- but of course, as soon as you become comfortable with kids and the way things are- KABOOM! They mess that shizz UP good and proper.

That is what happened to me on Christmas. Oooohhhhh Christmas, you sneaky sneaky holiday, you!
Thomas and I had put MONTHS worth of thought into the gifts they would be receiving from us- and we had many a-talk with the Jolly ol’ Fat Man in red. We talked so much that we didn’t even start shopping for gifts until late November, y’know… when we were absolutely sure (ahem, yeah.. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)- and we thought we had found the PERFECT gifts. And it was actually something they’d both asked for!

It didn’t make noise. It was age appropriate. They would each be getting one so that neither could bitch that one had something and they didn’t get one too. It was kind of educational- and while they would eventually grow out of it- it would take a good while and then you’d just trade it for another.

Duh. I’m talking about BIKES! WOOHOOO BIKES! The quintessential childhood toy…like….thing! The one we’d failed to get Holden before he turned 5 just because it kind of slipped our minds that kids his age could ride them. Slipped our minds, but didn’t slip his. And of course since he was getting one Parker would need one too- and we scored them both for $75.
They’re happy, we’re happy, our bank account is happy. Win/win/win!

That is the face of WIN.

And along came Christmas day. They were both insanely THRILLED to have receive bikes- but we had no time to play with them. Right after gifts were done being opened, we had to get dressed and go to my Dad’s for the family getogether. Halfway through the visit at my Dad’s, Holden develops a cough. This cough turns into full on NASTINESS. Full on nastiness spreads to Parker and now both kids are sick and both kids want to ride their bikes but it’s cold and drizzling and disgusting and there’s no way I’m letting two sick little buttholes go ride bikes they don’t know how to ride when they are sick and it is cold and drizzly outside.
Even though these toys made no noise- they passed all of our strict guidelines and restrictions- they made noise. It just didn’t come from THEM.

So after all this whining finally did me in I agreed, out of the kindness of my heart (and feeling sorry for little babies sick on Christmas and unable to play with the things they wanted to play with most)- I let them ride the bikes in the house. Even MORE guidelines broken. Mostly the riding on and circling shit like a shark around a surfer in the house and the “am I going to break my neck?” part… those two are important! Gone. And this has continued since the weather has sucked and the hacking hasn’t gotten any better- for the entirety of winter break. During that time I contemplated the true meaning of life and wondered perhaps if there was lead in the paint in this house that may have been ingested. I also thought on more than one occasion of booking myself in the hospital’s mental ward. A bed and meals cooked FOR me!

The moral of the story is: NEVER TRUST THE QUIET ONES. And also, teachers deserve pay raises.

Posted on January 3, 2013 by Holdin' Holden 5 Comments
Holdin' Holden

About Holdin' Holden



  • Love it! I too relented and allowed Michael to bike ride in the house. Such a heinous error in judgment. Hang strong!

    Snarky Redhead

  • My son received a scooter than has been used in the house waaaaay more than I would like
    Stupid snow.

  • 2 Christmases ago Ryder got a scooter. Last Christmas he got a bike. We live in Wisconsin. We have a 2400+ sq foot LOFT. (ALL OPEN SPACE) Many a snowed in day has he ridden his bike in our apartment…and thankfully, at the mercy of our manager, the basement garage (under mom and dad’s watchful eye and only in our corner of the area we can see.) Yes, judgement goes out the window when you try to make a kid happy.

  • I have 3 words for you.

    High. Set. House.

    A pain in the butt for ease of getting outside to play and inside for all the carp that mothers faff around doing all the time, but a godsend when the weather gods conspire to ruin fun.