Before I had children, like many Mamas, I pictured the perfect little family life we would have; me and Mr P cosying-up on the tastefully selected, mute-coloured, sofa and the little ones happily playing around us with their pastel painted, wooden, age -appropriate toys. Looks lovely, doesn’t it, something straight out of The White Company catalogue…
Nine years later and, for reasons obvious to anyone who is actually a parent, that picture never materialised. And while we always tried hard to keep the main living areas ‘clutter free’ ? the wooden toys always turned out to be a bit boring and were never played with or loved as much as the awful bright, tacky, plastic ones!
A good toy will stand the test of time, a great toy will live on in legend. Recently at my Mother in Laws, all my children loved playing with the 1970s Fisher Price drawing board she’s kept for the last forty odd years (it survived three children and is now on its eighth grandchild). The play value is still as good as ever. Even in it’s day it wouldn’t have made the White Company’s Christmas layout!
We have some toys that have been kicking around at ours for the last nine years, which is quite a long time when you used to live by the philosophy of only owning something that was ‘beautiful or useful’ almost all of these toys are neither.
I live in hope that these toys may one day break irrecoverably, for I daren’t throw them out in fear of my own life should the small people ever find out! These are the toys that are always hidden when we host a play date, the toys buried so deep in the toy basket in the hope of being forgotten about, the toys no one wants to a see a flicker of glimmer of when they’re nursing a hangover, these are the toys I hate the most in our house…
1.) The toy electric keyboard – that plays a tiresome, trashy, metallic, electric sound of beat boxing, strumming, mindless noise. That is programmed to automatically come on on its loudest setting. That relentlessly plays on and on even when no one is anywhere near it. It’s only minor redeeming feature is that on one random setting it plays Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer (slightly out of tune) and for a split second I have a flash back to a life once lived, when I was on a dance floor somewhere and a life filled with fun. This only seems to make the toy even worse.
2.) The Lollipop Drum – on the face of it, this looks like a lovely toy. It could almost make it in to the JoJo catalogue at a push. I bought this for the Small Boy myself (!) as a Christmas gift after he loved it so much at his weekly singing class. What I hadn’t quite thought through was that this toy would not be just a five minute, once a week, pleasure. It would become a daily, incessant, banging, soundtrack to my life. With the added feature of the beater doubling up as a ‘basher’ for anyone or anything.
3. Furby – Furby I think ought to go straight to the top of my list. We have the Furby that is the Furby before the last Furby which, I’m going to spell this out clearly, DOESN’T HAVE AN OFF SWITCH!! Who makes a toy with NO OFF SWITCH! A NOISY TOY, WITH NO OFF SWITCH. Since his appearance in our home I spend a lot of my time shouting agitatedly, ‘don’t wake Furby up’ it’s like having a fourth child only with zero joy. If I’m fortunate enough that Furby has ‘gone to sleep’ (turned himself off after FIVE minutes) I hence-force walk around whispering incessantly, ‘don’t wake Furby up’ and carefully carry him around like I would a precious newborn. Then, making sure not to jolt him once, place him delicately into a dark hiding place, to be banished/kept safe from being ‘woken up’ and in the hope the children will forget about him. Invariably this is in my wardrobe, whereby days later we have all forgotten fleeting about Furby’s existence (!) when I reach for a t-shirt and inadvertently wake the monster up and the whole debacle begins again.
Do you have any of these in your house? Which of your toys are you ready to bin forever?!