Toys are Overrated (Especially on Christmas)


My kids play with their toys for about 2% of the day (enough time to pull them all out and make a mess), and the rest of the day is spent following me around saying things like,

"Mama, whatcha doing?"
"Mama, where is Daddy?"
"Mama, what is that noise?"
"Mama, what are the neighbors doing?"
"Mama, I don't want you to get anything done ever, or drink your coffee without reheating it 12 times before you give up on it entirely, or go potty without my company, or ever get to take a shower."

Before you get all judgey and say I'm a terrible Mom because I want toys to babysit my toddlers, let me just say that I adore my sweet boys, I love their persistence and their continuous ability to speak without stopping to think about what to say next...or breath. I love spending time with them and I love that they want and thrive on my attention. Go ahead and judge me if you wish, but every once in a while a parent could use a few minutes of the kids playing with the toys that they spent lots of time and money picking out for them. If I spend $40 on a simple wooden train set, plus countless amount of time setting it up into a figure 8, complete with overpasses and tunnels, it ought to be able to give me half a cup of coffee or a few bites of cereal before I have to answer another round of never ending toddler questions.

Oh, and that's another thing, why are toys so freakin' expensive? I mean, have you seen how much a Tickle Me Elmo costs? When people told me that kids were expensive, I didn't realize how much of that expense was going to fall on entertaining them alone! My kids saw a toy tractor at the store the other day, they thought it was the coolest thing ever.
"Maybe for Christmas." I said, with real intentions of possibly getting it for them for Christmas, until I saw the $50 price tag for a yellow piece of plastic on wheels.
"Why are toys so expensive?!" I asked my Mom.
"Because they can be." She said.
Well, I guess that's true. Supply and demand, folks! Parents are willing to pay a pretty penny for anything that could possibly give them a minute on the loo in peace. So, they take out a second mortgage on their house and buy their kids awesome toys that they are sure to love.

Here is what really happens:

Christmas morning rolls around and your precious youngsters run down the stairs to see all the pretty packages under the tree, labeled beautifully with the burlap and chalkboard gift tags you saw on Pinterest and stayed up all night making. They excitedly rip open their gifts, tossing the elaborate gift tags and wrapping behind their heads; they jump up and down with glee as they see they have received the fire station set that they have always wanted.

"Open it, open it, please!?!?" They proclaim.

You are so excited to give them this gift that has been sitting in your closet since Black Friday-- when you stayed up all night and stood in mile long lines outside in the freezing cold in order to get them this toy. So you tell your husband to hurry and grab his pocket knife and you both go to town trying to get this sucker open. Once both of you have spent 45 minutes opening the theft-proof/child-proof/parent-proof/wild animal-proof packaging and set the toy up for them, the kids have already found a new interest: the box it came in. So you go ahead and let the children be entertained by flimsy cardboard for a few minutes while you learn everything there is to learn about the new toy you just assembled. Eventually the box they were playing with rips and the little ones reluctantly come over to check out their new novelty toy. You teach them how to put the firefighter in the fire truck and how to make the lights flash, how to turn on the siren and honk the horn (something you will come to regret by the first time you finish microwaving your coffee), you tell them the names of all the figurines it came with and how to make the plastic water splash out of the hose in order to put out the plastic fire.

Once you have them settled with their new toy, you skip happily to the bathroom to take a shower. You turn the hot water on, step into the steamy tub dreaming of coming out clean, with untangled, soft hair and smooth, silky hair-free legs. Then at the exact moment the warm water hits your greasy hair, you hear it, the creak of the door opening slowly, the patter of little feet on the bathroom tile and the sweet toddler voice saying,
 "Mama, I need help peeeeese, firetruck water, can't do it."
"At least he is enjoying his new toy!"  You think to yourself as you wash your hair with one hand while holding the shower curtain closed with the other to keep him from ruining you Christmas by peeking in and saying "Eeeew!"

You barely have time to rinse the shampoo out of your hair before you realize he has gone from bugging you in the shower, to throwing parts of his new toy into the toilet bowl (seriously, nothing is sacred with these kids). You jump out of the shower with shampoo still running down your forehead and into your eyes, your hair rattier than it was before and your legs anything but smooth. You quickly shoo the blue eyed, curly haired, sticky fingered boy out of the bathroom, tell him to go play with his toy and that you promise to join him after you get dressed. You close and lock the bathroom door behind you, quickly dry off and then slowly re-open the door hoping to sneak into your room to get dressed without being spotted, but there are two little boys sitting cross legged outside of the bathroom door waiting for you, with their new toy completely abandoned in the other room. And so it begins all over again.

"Mama, whatcha doing?"
"Mama, what happened shower?"
"Mama, how about go to Papa's house for presents now?"

Well, at least you got to wash your hair.

A word from the not-very-wise and not-very-experienced Mom who likes to think she is learning along the way, just give the kids cardboard for Christmas, maybe a bowl of water to throw things in and a recording of all the answers you could possibly give to their many, many questions. You will be able to afford to keep the power on, skip the toy sales and have kids just as un-entertained as they would have been with the overpriced pieces of plastic that make noise and light up.

Now take a deep breath, heat up your coffee and enjoy the time leading up to Christmas knowing you don't even need to go near the toy aisle! Or at least make sure you have a bottle of wine in your fridge when you get back from shopping. The truth is, we love the look on our kiddo's faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning. Whether we are answering their many questions while pushing trains on a wooden train set, putting firemen into their fire trucks, or reading their new book with them, it really is some of the best time spent, even if our coffee is sitting across the room getting cold and our legs are so hairy that they blend in with the carpet.








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33 comments:

  1. I agree totally. Pretty much all my kids toys were abandoned by the day after Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My kids are 4&7 now and I'm pleased to report we are getting some real use out of the Christmas toys this year! I also often get to pee all by myself. And the occurances of getting a shower without first giving in to exhaustion is much improved. Hang in there momma! I'm pretty sure we all hate toys ;)

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  3. Where have you been all my life (or at least for the last couple years!)!? Lol! I am a 44 year old...raising my grandson for the last 2 years. Every-thing-you-say-is -the-gospel!!!! That awesome wooden train set....uhhhh....we have it (along with all the other 9 million toys). The only reason I am able to finish my business on the toilet (#1.) is because his trainset was upstairs! And those NEVER ENDING QUESTIONS!!!! Lol!!! Love your blog! Love your humor!!! Can't wait to read more!

    PS
    I do not remember it being like this when I raised my 3 boys....did I somehow wipe it all from my mind? Truly, God must have given me a bit of Alzheimer's or else I would never take on such a task again! Lol!

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  4. Nice to see this post I want more articles similarly like this.

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  5. I think kids have entirely too many toys. A limit of ten is enough. When they get a new one, they give an old one away.

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  8. There are many types of toys for babies out there in the market. Only buy high quality toys with durable and safe materials. Make sure you are buying from a reputable baby toy store to ensure your baby's safety. Justin

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