Monday, June 11, 2007

Things that go beep in the night

eBay is a wonderful thing, isn't it? It takes the sting out of the fact that the spud outgrew his lovely Gap trousers 4 months ahead of schedule by allowing me to sell them on to parents of non-Spud babies for whom the size '6-12 months' is not a total fantasy. We have purchased a lot of things from eBay. We would have purchased the Spud from eBay if we could have except I was too busy trading in my last motorbike for him down the local garage.

We sold on his small cloth nappies and purchased medium ones, we bought the door bouncer, a baby bean bag, clothes, a restraining device safety strap for the high-chair, replacement parts for the breast pump (too much information?)... oh, and toys. Toys toys toys.

We laboured, before the labour, under the impression that we would give our little blob the best of the world that raised us as well as the best of modern life. This meant things like: cooking up all sorts of organic goodness (which he is now sick unto death of); bedtime stories (which he unfailingly tries to eat); exposure to wonderful music (most of which makes him cry); no Television (except, obviously, CBeebies so I can cram his open mouth while Makka Pakka fondles his rocks) and, naturally, wooden toys.

Hah! Wooden toys! Hahahahahahah!!!!!

Well it all started promisingly. We were given a little wooden rattle with a bell in it which swiftly became Favourite Toy Number One. Excellent. I then proceeded to buy the lovely 'Squish' toy on eBay which became Favourite Toy Number Two. Fantastic. We then had a visit from friends who bought over a Demon Plastic Noise Box which, unfortunately, became Favourite Toy Number Three and the moment when everything went terribly, terribly downhill. Bollocks. First the wooden toys lost appeal and then, worse, the DPNB could only hold his imagination for a few moments before he tipped it over, chewed on the battery case and crawled over to disembowel our CDs. Clearly, we needed harder stuff.

One day, after a morning spent rescuing our music, putting the batteries back into our remote contols and re-constructing 'Time Out' page by page we were struggling to entertain him in the car when The Frog bought us screaming to a halt in front of a toy shop and in desperation purchased the V-tech baby laptop, here-to-fore to be referred to as The Most Favourite Toy Ever In The Whole Wide World. This bought us moments, nay HOURS of peace and quiet. Or rather, hours of peace and nail-chewingly relentless beeping noises and barely recognisable jazzy, electronic renditions of old nursery rhymes. And thus began a nasty noisy-plastic-toy abuse problem. Plastic toys. That say things. Just kill me.

What, I may ask, WAS I THINKING???? This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful life! Oh. My. God. These things, you know, they trick you into thinking that they've been turned off and then, just as a tired Spud is turning turtle and giving me that cute sleepy-baby-face one of them will go off and he lurches awake with a nipple-tearing jerk. 'Where's the Monkey?' 'Try MEEEEEE'. 'One, Two, Wheeeeee!' 'Boodly beedly bumbly boo boo be do'. It's like the House of The Living LED in here. And they breed. Once you see the effect on your offspring you HAVE TO buy more. And more!! They're so cheap on eBay!!!! Wooden toys? Pah!! I dutifully put the Spud in front of his wooden peg hammer board and just as he's getting interested in having a bash off goes another one 'boodlybeedlybee' and I think it's 'Old Macdonald ' but I really can't tell and he's off, pressing buttons and grasping at the lights.

The worst thing is that there is so much choice in this world of toys that go 'boo' that after three minutes, the Spud has information overload and has to leave the room. And all his toys, wooden or otherwise. In fact, he spent longer playing with a metal bowl full of water in the garden this weekend than he did with all his hell-toys combined.

Tomorrow, I throw them all in the cupboard and start cutting up a giant cardboard box. I bet we'll get days of fun out of that, provided I remember to soak them all in water to shut them up first.

17 comments:

Rob Clack said...

Hope you didn't really offload your motorbike!
Think you've nailed it with your metal bowl full of water. The little (ie bugger all - I have no kids) I know about this suggests that at least some of the time some really simple things keep them entertained for hours. The giant CB box sounds like a good shout, too.
Love your blog. I'm new to blogging myself (robclacksblog.blogspot.com) so still exploring. And loving it!

darth sardonic said...

this is hilarious! we never pretended we weren't going to load our kids up with noisy toys, but our friends did. "nothing electronic" they said. we bought their kid a little plastic drumset. no batteries required. yes, i am a rat bastard. no, i am not seeking help. they got me back though, they bought my kids a few bob the fucking annoying builder dvd's, which of course they love.

The Good Woman said...

It's when the batteries start dying and the phantom-noises-from-downstairs-at-3am start that I get really wound up. And it usually happens when the Good Man is away. Very Stephen King....

Joni said...

Whoever invented electronic toys without on/off switches needs to be strung up.

There was the Big Bird that responded to light...that in the middle of the darkest night would cry out, "Peek a Boo!" Or try being in a room far from baby, and hearing through the monitor, "Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker's man!" I thought some fool was in my child's bedroom!

Cardboard boxes make wonderful toys. As do metal bowls, wooden spoons, large cooking pots... Whatever you didn't spend a bundle on, of course!

However, that said, those electronic beeps do help on long road trips...

jenny said...

I thought I was going crazy until I read your post and now all is right in the world-- I'm not the only one that thinks those electronic toys are the devil reincarnated! Me being deaf, I don't appreciate that the little I CAN hear is monopolized with beeps and whistles and "boodleybeedleybee" when all I really want to hear is my children. Hubby has quietly stolen a toy here and there and disconnected the batteries and the girls dont even miss it. They will be sold to the highest bidder...

Stay at home dad said...

Ours are mostly lying in the bottom of toy chests now, but I still find myself whistling the tunes periodically...

Sparx said...

Jenny! It's YOU tempting me on eBay! Away fiend! Just kidding - it's a slppery slope.

SAHD - I know exactly what you mean, sadly. I find myself in the same situation, frequently. Argh!!

lady macleod said...

That sounds very noisy indeed. I think you really need to sit down and have a nice, quiet cup of tea - alone.

I love the water in the bowl. I am on board with that!

BOSSY said...

Bossy never allowed toys that required batteries. Too much background static. Mostly because the voices inside Bossy's own head are loud enough THANK YOU.

Krissie said...

We bought a songs-playing Santa-toy to our nephew last Christmas. We didn't quite understand why the annoyed expressions on his parents' faces... Of course, he immediately turned it on. They stayed for an hour maybe and it was enough time for all of us to go crazy.
No electronic toys indeed!
Jeez!

Lindystar said...

So funny as usuall. And thank-you, I WILL try my best to just never buy batteries for any of my kids toys.

I need to write that down in my little "baby notes" handbook I've been making. I don't want kids but lord knows it might happen and I'm going to try my damndest to be prepared. Therefore I keep a file of "baby notes" and put in everything I come accross that sounds like something that I don't know (everything because I don't know shit about kids) or might forget.

Your blog gives me hope cuz you didn't want kids either. Do you remember those days? I think they got wiped out by all of those lovey-mommy feelings and maybe spuds smile.

Self employed mum said...

Steer clear of the Early Learning Centre, every musical toy plays Old MacDonald. We went 180 miles with a wrapped up christmas present for new niece with old MacDonald playing from the boot and just when you think it was over, bump, of it went again. In hindsight I should have unwrapped it and switched it off but didn't like to arrive with unwrapped pressie!! Now I wouldn't care

Helen said...

What's really bad is when the batteries start to die, and then the electronic music and pre-recorded fake laughter in those toys start to sound like something from a horror movie. My husband scared the heck out of me by bumping into one of our daughter's toys one night, and it let out this eerie high-pitched blood-curdling squeal. Sent me screaming from the room and nearly got my husband killed.

Orhan Kahn said...

.. parents of non-Spud babies for whom the size '6-12 months' is not a total fantasy.

Love how you put that.

Elsie Button said...

glad i read this - i was on the verge of giving in to plastic noisy toys that seem to work, but not now! Betty wil have to make do with her wooden spoon and empty crisp packet, which she loves anyway! (that makes me sound really cruel - she does have other toys too...honest) babies are funny though - Betty has this brightly coloured activity cube that someone gave her, which all sorts of things on it - but she spends hours just playing and looking at the label!

Rob Halford said...

It's so cool!

Sparx said...

Lindy - sounds like you're not too sure about not wanting kids if yr keeping a file there lady!

SEM - your image just made me howl...! Note to self: turn off toys on long trips...

Helen - this is happening on one of our toys right now and the drawl is making it amusing enough to be left on...

O-K - thanks!

Elsie - also, try plastic cups in a water-filled bowl. Hours of fun. Or lentils in a plastic bottle - Early Learning Centre eat your heart out!