Posts Tagged ‘children’s toys’

You know when a visitor puts away the clean dishes and manages to put almost everything in completely the wrong place? And you spend months looking for the can opener because you don’t know where the hell it’s been put?

Well, my kitchen cupboards are always like that. It’s like nothing’s ever had a proper home and just gets shoved in wherever it fits best at the time. And no, I’m not quite willing to admit how long it’s been since I last saw my can opener, especially considering I’m the one who probably put it away. Let’s just say that it’s been a long long time since anyone attended a can opening in this house…

But surprisingly, it’s a completely different matter when it comes to the organisation of toys in boxes. Underneath that thin veneer of utter chaos, there is complete order. No, really: each and every toy has its place. And only I know where those places are. 

Now, most people might dread those playdates where the contents of every single toy box has been summarily emptied and kicked about a bit. But not I, no. Mess is mess is mess is mess. It’s the words “Let’s pack these toys away!” that I dread the most – whether it be from a helpful visiting parent, my husband, or the World Champion of Tidier-Uppers. Because, as I said, only I know where everything goes. 

“Oh, please don’t worry yourself,” I say. “Please.

But if they really insist on helping, of course I graciously smile and thank them, all the while driving my finger nails into the palm of my hand. And the minute they’ve left the room, I immediately set about putting their wrongs to right, muttering all the while under my breath. My little half-spoken rant usually goes something like this:

Now why would you put Duplo in with the Glow-in-the-Dark blocks? Duplo doesn’t glow! Does. Not. Glow. Uh, and that’s certainly not a Dolly Dress now, is it? It’s a Barbie Dress. You don’t need to be a genius to see that Baby Annabel ain’t ever going to fit in that little purple number… And – oh dear god – Lofty doesn’t go in the Cars Box. He goes in the Guys Box because he’s so clearly a guy and not just a vehicle! He’s got a face, people. A face! And, arrrggghh!… The same rule OBVIOUSLY applies to Bertie the Bus except, actually, he goes in with the Thomas Trains box. Even though he’s not actually a train. But OBVIOUSLY he’s still part of the Isle of Sodor’s extensive public transport system and … What the hell is Autobot Jazz doing in the Cars Box? What part of “Robot In Disguise” don’t you people understand? Sheesh! He needs to go in the Transformers & Bionicle Body Parts Box under the bed … and… OH. MY. SWEET. FUCK.  Who put the Star Wars Lego in the Little Lego Box – don’t they know how expensive that shit is and what a living nightmare an incomplete Lego Separatist Spider Droid can be… and… oh… DANG IT! DANG IT ALL TO HELL!

And I end up emptying everything back onto the floor so I can do the whole thing properly, which I do until I get interrupted by some child needing a drink and/or a bandaid or I just grow bored and wander off and the whole thing gets deserted mid-project. 

It’s really little wonder my house is such a tip.

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Ho, friggin’ ho.

It’s interesting how the last of the Spirit of Christmas evaporates roughly the same time as the last of the Christmas booze. One might even think they were directly related to each other – at least when it comes to the adults, I hasten to add. The children certainly don’t need stimulants of any kind to get all hyped up for Christmas, although the presence of sugar in almost everything they eat during that jolly time certainly helps. 

Because my Eastern European heritage dictates we do our big meal (and our big drinking) on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day itself ends up being a bit of a wet fart. Except for my kids at least, it’s a wet fart with substantial follow-through: presents. And, let’s face it, for kids it’s All About The Presents. For the adults in my house, it’s a bit about the Presents, but only as something to occupy the children while we recover from the night before. 

I must say I didn’t choose the presents too well this year. That last-minute cheap-as-chips Spiderman convertible car that I bought at the local markets for Tiddles’s stocking is a prime example of why you should always Try Before You Buy. 


When fully armed with batteries, this car drives around and around  in circles, occasionally stopping to open its doors and fold back its roof, all somewhat surprisingly to the strains of the Vengaboys’ song “Kiss (when the sun don’t shine)”.  Except I’m beginning to suspect his latest choice of car and music,  these days Spidey might like to only kiss where the sun don’t shine. It’s just a hunch. 

Anyways, it turns out the thing is Indestructable – as my sister Princess A pointed out, with barely-disguised horror-slash-wonder in her voice, it must be made of the same materials that the Terminators are made of. You cut off a wheel and it keeps going, round and round, up and down, “Kiss kiss kiss when the sun don’t shine woah-oh-oh, woah-oh-oh.” With a bit of luck, the SQMY batteries (the branding of which looks spookily like SONY from a distance) that it came with will run out soon and prove to be irreplaceable. 

And then there was the Pixie’s “Disney Princess Karoaoke Headset”. For one thing: look at the headset.


That spectacularly bejewelled headband is so incredibly inflexible and so damn small that even Tiddles McGee (aged 2) can’t put it without screaming like someone in a Scorceses film with his head in a vice. I’ve noted that there is no actual photograph of a child wearing it on the box because that would probably contravene Geneva Convention guidelines about using torture devices during peace time, especially involving minors. And as for the “18 All-Time Favourite Melodies” that the Princess Karoake Headset boasts? I’m thinking, maybe “Head on the Door” by The Cure or  “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, or even my karaoke speciality “Wind beneath my wings” (I kid you not) – but no. We’re talking tinny Hammond Organ versions of “This Old Man” and “Three Blind Mice” and all played so fast that even rapper emcee Twista, with his 11.2 syllables-per-second delivery, would struggle to fit in the lyrics. All in all, a dud present. 

In despair, I turned to the onerous yet relatively quiet task of constructing the Star Wars Lego V19 Torrent Fighter with Mr Justice. Check out STEP ONE in the accompanying visual instructions:


Huh? Are they trying to warn us off trying to plant the lego in the lawn? Or is that supposed to be a warning not to have shag pile carpet in this current climate of polished floorboards? Yes, okay, okay, I get it. You’re not supposed to put the lego on the floor. But don’t the makers of Lego realise that ALL lego ends up painfully underfoot at some point or another and that some pissy little diagram ain’t gonna adequately cover their fat-cat arses from the Class Action I’m going to file when I finally work out what exactly a Class Action is and what I have to do to file one (it’s on my To Do List, people, along with “Lose that Baby weight”, “Tidy the House” and “Get a Good Night’s Sleep”).  

Anyway, consider this scene: I’m almost having a nervous breakdown trying to work out if the next piece in the instructions is dark grey or black and the Pixie’s sitting at the same table, eating a middle-of-the-day bowl of cereal using the world’s smallest ‘dolly spoon’ and slurping her milk. Now, this would annoy me under normal circumstances, but under “starwars lego circumstances”, it threatens to push me over the edge all together and while I’m trying to get her to use another spoon, Mr Justice manages to tip an entire tub of our carefully pre-sorted lego onto the floor, resulting in me groveling on my hands and knees frantically collecting every last precious tiny piece – because if we lose just one piece the whole Torrent Fighter simply will not hold and of course with The Pixie still slurpin’ away with that spoon of hers all the while. And it’s at that moment that Tiddles McGee appears to lose it before I do and starts running around the house shouting “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” – or at least that’s what I think he’s shouting until, thankfully, he uses the internationally-recognised hand signal for “duck” and I realise that he’s trying to say “Quack”. And phew! Crisis averted: it turns out I’m not such a bad parent after all, if only one who is “hungover like a bastard” and disinclined to find out why her youngest child has suddenly decided to be a duck. 

Anyway, one of my readers – a certain “naptimewriting” – asked for rants to rival those rabid monkey blogs and I hope I’ve delivered – I do so aim to please. Now if you’ll now excuse me, I’m off to try and work out how to improve my Technorati rankings before those rabid monkeys get there first.

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For a long time now, I’ve been increasingly suspicious that there is someone high up in the ranks of Fisher Price who is deliberately fucking with a whole generation of parents. Don’t get me wrong: my kids love their Fisher Price toys and I love that my kids love these toys because that gets them (literally) off my back for a few minutes. But there’s something else there, something underlying all this Toy Joy, something sinister. For the past six years, I’ve been collating an extensive dossier on Fisher Price which I’m hoping to present to the team of 60 Minutes for a big prime time humdinger of an exposé. And when that exposé happens, it will shake the very foundations of the world we live in, such as when we found out that the man who brought the world Bambi was a nazi-sympathising fascist pig or that Jennifer Beals didn’t actually do the dance sequences in “Flashdance” (although she did do her own welding which has got to count for something, right?).

For one thing, there is all that packaging. Is it just me or does the amount of wiring and sticky tape and plastic casing seem just a touch excessive? It’s the kind of security one might employ in an inter-prison transfer for Hannibal Lecter rather than in the delivery of a plastic home and contents to a small child. Even an adult armed with the Jaws of Life can’t free those plastic toys from captivity in less than an hour – which, let’s face it, is one hour too many in the eyes of an impatient child on Christmas morning. 

And then we have the music. The music! Last Christmas, Tiddles got given an FP fire engine which he loves. Loves! But let’s consider, for a moment, the lyrics of the charming little song that fire engine plays:

Up and down, down and up…
Watch my ladder lift up pup…
With a beep, beep, honk, honk, all around the town…
Up and down and round and round.

Harmless enough, you say? Now put it to the tune of “This Old Man”, have a choir of ultra-cutesy American kids sing it and punctuate each phrase with the sound of dog yapping. Are you still feeling okay? You’re obviously made of strong stuff. Now, indulge me if you will, and play it again. And again. And then again. And then once more for good measure. How are you feeling now? Yep, I thought so. Look, do yourself and everyone around you a favour and just take the toy outside and give it a good kicking, will you? Please? 

The rather large omission of an ON/OFF switch on a large percentage of the Fisher Price range arguably lends a song like “You Can’t Stop The Music” a much more threatening tone. There are always one or two musical toys which lie on the bottom of our toy boxes and get set off by the slightest of tremors, such as the ones created by Tiddles after the excessive consumption of baked beans. And of course the battery hatch on these toys requires the ever-elusive Phillips head screwdriver to get it open and thus gives safe harbour to seemingly self-renewing batteries that leave that Duracel Bunny gasping for breath in the dust, big puff that he is.

But in our household, nothing quite matches the diva-esque tenacity of the musical teapot my sister sent The Pixie for her birthday, which needs to be on a completely level surface for it to stop tinkling menancingly in the background like the theme music for “Rosemary’s Baby”. Stranger yet, is that the accompanying cups in the tea set have two holes drilled in the side of the cup, so that if you drink from them holding the handle with your right hand, they leak their contents all down your front. Which means any time The Pixie and Tiddles have a tea-party, they end up looking like they’re contestants in the toddler division of a wet t-shirt competition. I mean why would you do that to cups in a children’s tea-set unless you deliberately wanted to push an already floundering parent completely over the edge? So I’m saying “Screw you and your evidently Evil Agenda, Fisher Price” and I’m teaching my children to drink left-handed. Ha! And when I’ve managed to finish my dossier, I’m going to hand it to 60 Minutes and I’m going to do that left-handed as well. That’ll show them. That’ll show them all. But, as I said, I’ve got to finish collating that dossier and before I can do that, I’ve got to get that damn “Up and Down” song out of my brain and… what was I saying again? Never mind, I’m off to the Target sale to get Tiddles a Little People Crack Den to add to his ever-expanding Little People empire. Toodle pip!

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