Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Toys from HELL

This past weekend, I asked my children to write their letters to Santa. After reading them, I was struck by three things:

(1) Essentially, their lists were comprised entirely of whatever useless crap they had just seen advertised on television.
(2) My children are not sweet and charming Norman Rockwell-style angels who understand the true meaning of Christmas – despite multiple viewings of the Charlie Brown special where they appeared to have absorbed something. They are in fact mercenaries. They want everything and may be ruthless in their efforts to acquire their objectives. If there were a way for Hawk (age 5) to receive the entire Toys-R-Us Christmas catalogue – he would rub his hands in Mr. Burns-like satisfaction and cackle.
(3) Most of what they want sucks monkey balls, and I am not buying it for them.

 These are are some of the things they asked for and my thoughts on whether I will allow them those items into my house.

A Puppy: I need a puppy like I need a bigger ass. Our much beloved geriatric dog died last summer, and you know what that experience taught me? I am the only one in our house who picks up poop. And I am currently potty training a 2-year old half monkey and there is a limit to what my gag reflex and patience can handle. Yay or Nay: NAY. An all–caps NAY.

Pillow Pets: My children love Pillow Pets the way Ryan Seacrest likes dudes. They go ape-schmidt for the damn things. They yearn for them. My 2-year old freaked out every time she saw the ladybug one, screaming “MINE PILLOW PET! MINE! MINE!” like a tiny blond German dictator regarding Poland. My 5-year old son wants the dog. And my oldest daughter has to have the frog. The frog Pillow Pet is the Edward to her Bella. She does not think she can live without it. She is willing to give up every other toy on her Christmas list for this frog. I assured her that wasn’t necessary but let her know I was sorry she would be learning about diminished expectations and kissing frogs at such an early age. Yay or Nay? Yay (reluctantly).

Barbie Glitterizer: This genius of a toy basically blows glitter all over the place. Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea? I recently heard glitter described as the herpes of crafting supplies. I didn’t even think that was funny because I’m still dealing with the aftermath of “Glitter Parenting Fail '08”*. Someone even emailed me a description of this product several months ago, and I thought it was a joke. BUT IT’S REAL, and now she wants one. Yay or Nay? Hell nay.

*Glitter Parenting Fail '08 refers to a misguided project involving glitter glue and valentines. Two years later I am still finding glitter glue in places that it should never, ever be.

Barbie Totally Stylin’ Tattoo: Here’s the product description: “This trendy Barbie® doll comes with over 40 tattoos! Using the enclosed tattoo stamper and stickers, girls can wear the designs or use them to decorate Barbie® and her fab fashions. It’s hours of temporary tattooing fun!” Several of my best friends have tattoos and piercings. I understand that it’s fairly normal – even for moms – to decorate one’s body in this fashion. But 40 separate tattoos? Seriously? Because who wouldn’t want their daughter to grow up looking like the smelly pirate hooker who broke up Sandra Bullock’s marriage. Yay or Nay: NEVER EVER EVER EVER.

Creepy Crawler Bug Makers: This is a product where you form slimy bugs made of gelatinous goo that spurt more slimy goo when you squash them. Then you get to do it all over again. With increasingly dirty goo. Or you can spend more money and buy replacement spooge. So let’s see… It’s completely disgusting, it creates a huge mess that I will be required to clean, the bugs can be used as biological weapons against sisters which will invariably lead to ear-piercing shrieks and it costs almost $50… Yay or Nay? Never-in-a-million-years-are-you-out-of-your-damn-mind

Moon Sand Ice Cream Shop: If glitter is the herpes of crafting supplies – Moon Sand is the chlamydia of Play Doh substitutes. And the best part about this particular toy? IT LOOKS LIKE FOOD. And yet, it is not food. So if I were to buy this product, I would spend hours of my time trying to keep my toddler from eating it, nagging my older children to clean it up, and approximately 90% of it would end up inside my vaccum cleaner by the first of January. Also, I understand from Stark Raving Mad Mommy's awesome list of crap she won't buy for her kids, that her family actually got this at one point and it sucked. Yay or Nay: Nope.

Ripstick: This product is sort of like a skateboard, except that if you have excellent balance and technique, it becomes self-propelling. It should come with knee and elbow pads and a slot to store your insurance information because this device has a fairly good chance of causing a trip to the ER. However, it is an outside toy that encourages physical activity, and it is gender neutral, meaning it will get a lot of use by multiple kids. I may have to wrap my children in bubble wrap, but at least they won’t be watching TV. Yay or Nay: Yay, I guess.

Nintendo DSi with seventeen trillion games: My 5-year old wants a DS. I’m not even sure he knows what one is. But he wants one BAD. And this child is totally obsessed with Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, and Lego Indiana Jones as it is. Hence, we had to make the Wii contract. Plus, it costs a damn fortune, and he wants every single game known to man along with it. Son, you’re five, and I am neither a famous rapper, Tori Spelling, nor insane – so you are not getting expensive electronics for your birthday that you will break within days. Yay or Nay: Maybe next year.

iPod: My 7-year old daughter wants an iPod or better yet, an iPhone. And she’s not kidding. Because one of her friends has one. First of all, you're seven.  You're not getting a cell phone.  And while I might be inclined to get a you an MP3 player that is cheap or a hand-me-down, I don't think I will because you have a tendency to lose things like your shoes. And your jacket. In between the house and the car. Yay or Nay: See above. No way.

Baby Alive or any toy that poops: Last year for Christmas, my daughter Thumbelina received a talking, moving, deeply frightening “Baby Alive” doll, which was immediately christened by my husband as 'Creepy Robot Baby'. The worst part? The doll urinates and defecates. I had to change that doll one time, and a new rule was instituted that my children can now recite: NO TOYS THAT POOP OR PEE EVER AGAIN. And this year, there is a robotic dog that eats and then poops out its food. And my children see it advertised and they say “Oh! Mommy can we have… Oh that’s right…” and they hang their little heads because of my rule. Yay or Nay: N-to-the-AY.

Gorilla that sings Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” when you squeeze its paw: Target has a big shelf filled with stuffed animals dressed in holiday garb that play Christmas carols when you poke their bellies in a special spot. They are pretty annoying and absolutely cacophonous when my children reach the shelf and then gleefully turn them all on at the same time like crazed chimps and then jump around hooting. But there is a special one on that shelf. A female gorilla that plays the Ke$ha song "Tik Tok" when you squeeze its paw. Because nothing says “the season of perpetual hope” like a primate singing “…before I leave I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack." Yay or Nay: Don’t even ask.

This is a truncated list. There’s a lot more. Perhaps you have some additional items you'd like to share.  Feel free.  And while I’ll get my children stuff that they want for Christmas and hope that those gifts will not turn them into little crack-heads, there’s always the fear... The fear that a relative will give in to their bad judgement and send a Bratz doll and then my head will explode. Happy Holidays.

xo, Lydia

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