Monday, December 27, 2004

Toy Tsunami Engulfs Household

I suppose you're going to blame US, the parents. For allowing that many toys to be brought into the household. But the fact is, we had no warning. Sure, there was that little temblor on the calendar, referred to by religious people everywhere as "December 25th." But we had no idea the toys would become so thick that we would need some Jaws of Life equipment to make our way from the playroom to the kitchen. And this was a necessary trip, as the children needed occasional nutritional replenishment in order to continue playing. You are thinking we should be buying them clothes instead. Or saving our money for retirement. Or donating cash to the U.S. government to help fund Medicaid. (Oh, sure, we WOULD do that, except the money somehow gets diverted into projects involving depleted uranium, protecting turtle eggs or paying pharamcy companies to run studies saying their drugs are safe.) Well the fact is, we are tired of the old toys. Yes, Hubby and I. We play with them all the time, or banish them into high places (where they sometimes leap out at us when we forget they're there) when there is a Plaything Dispute, or at a minimum have to pick them up. So Hubby and I want all new things to play with! And we weren't disappointed. It started with an outbreak at school. A couple small parties that included toys as favors. It escalated at some neighborhood parties that had cleverly invited Santa to attend the week before Christmas. Toys came with him! Finally, that special day we like to celebrate involving everyone except Jesus arrived. December 25th! Toys. Toys. TOYS! When Hubby and I set it all up the night before we took a picture of it in its pristine state. Then we remembered more toys we had bought months ago, so I retreived THOSE from remote parts of the house. More pictures. We got up the next morning around 7:30. The kids were so excited they couldn't fall asleep the night before. Now they were, ahem, SLEEPING IN. Much to Hubby's and my disappointment. But it wouldn't have been parent-like to shake them awake. You never waken a sleeping child. Not even when the house is on fire. (Then you just carry them over your shoulder still sleeping.) So we couldn't violate the sacrosanct rule. I was tempted to open something up and start playing with it, then maybe put it back in the box. But I didn't. I made coffee and admired the stockings. I was in charge of the stockings again this year. Hubby does not fully understand my obsession with them. It was one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. Getting all the Christmas stuff, and then, just when you think the drama is over, you spy the stocking, STILL untouched! Filled with other cool stuff! Like little games! Candies! And in our case, toothbrushes, floss, pencils, packs of cards and dice. It is like a virtue/vice thing. Go ahead and gamble, but make sure you brush your teeth! ( I never did ask my parents if this was the message they intended to send.) So this year I got them candy! Dice! Pencils! Floss! Chapstick! Toothbrushes! Scooby Doo mini action figures! Glow in the dark stuff! Rubber dinousaurs! And, in what I still consider a coup, I got them each a see through-plastic human body figure with colorful plastic internal organs! As my 5-year-old said when he pulled it from the stocking, "WOW. I wasn't expecting THIS!" Then after a few moments' consideration he said, "Maybe we can use it for a Scooby Doo Mystery Monster." Creative child. When the children finally got up they were dazed at the wall-to-wall toys. Didn't know what to approach first. Hubby filmed every angle while I blinded them with still picture flashes. Before they were completely done opening everything we got them dressed and hustled them off to their grandparents' house so they could get more...TOYS! Big ones! The 3-year-old became engrossed with playing, to the point where he became quite crabby when we bundled him into the car to go his aunt's and uncle's house, where they got...BIKES! Along with lots of other toys. From their aunt and uncle. AND their cousins. Later that evening, the 5-year-old was lying in the playroom in a bit of a stupor. He was at an angle because there were no longer any flat surfaces in the room. Everything was covered with toys, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, game instruction manuals, and objects that moved, flashed, conversed or tried to get you with pincers. Finally he said, "I'm bored." My eyes opened wide. I said, "Bored?" I picked him up. "That's good. Because the toys are going to bed now." I think maybe next year we should just get him a laptop. And maybe fewer toys for me and Hubby.

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