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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toys of destruction

Baby toys are a nasty surprise you don't anticipate as a new parent. They start out all cute and harmless, fuzzy bears with a "We're so happy to meet you!" t-shirt. Then they graduate to chew toys, rattles and things that can be banged together incessantly. Eventually they evolve to "learning" toys. These are the enemies you are unprepared for.

See this house?
Don't be fooled by the friendly exterior
It is not the funhouse of learning it purports to be. It seems perfectly normal--push buttons, flip switches, open doors to make noises. Baby squeals, parents laugh (or if its the five millionth time, wince). The "noises" are supposed to be cuddly and annoying, not erratic and inappropriate.

The two little birds in the chimney, for instance. Push one down and the other pops up. They say things like, "Little bird down! Big bird up!" Which would be fine if the big bird didn't bellow his lines in an unnervingly I-will-kill-you-in-your-sleep deep male voice. When little bird chirps "tweet!", big bird barks "TWEET!" in a sarcastic and oddly emphatic manner. Loudly. Very loudly.

We expected the programming on the house to be fairly straightforward with a set number of sounds and stories. I swear to God the blasted thing goes off script at arbitrary intervals. Usually it tells the same story when you push the book button. There's a night story and a daytime story. And then every so often, on a schedule known to no one but the house, there's a random just because story. This means that every so often some voice you've never freakin' heard before comes floating out of Baby Flails-a-lot play prison.

This is not cool. Parents have preset slots in our heads to tune out the repetition of noises we hear every day. Random stories and voices throws a spanner in that filter. Keep in mind, we work from home. We are all here, all day, every day. We need those filters. We need them!
The dreaded rolling-thingy in its natural habitat
Then there's mystery rolling device. Supposed to amuse because Baby Flails-a-lot can play with all sides and chase it. Only it also has a proximity sensor and can move without being touched. Yes, some idiot thought a thingamajig that sat around for hours and then suddenly rolled or blared music would be awesome. Not unnerving at all. Not heart attack inducing in the middle of the night or anything.

Let it be known. These are the invaders. Once you let them in your house you can never get rid of them, because the kid's love 'em. That's how they get you, Trojan horse style. In fact, I fully expect that whenever Baby Flails-a-lot outgrows them enough for me to disappear them, they will come back. One night, I'll go to get a midnight snack and in the darkness I'll hear "TWEET!"

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