Adventures in Toyland

Or "Christmas morning in my house"

As I reflect back on the first day of Christmas, here are some thoughts:

* This year, Amazon offered "frustration free packaging." Oh, this was brilliant. Of course, miserly me did not pay extra to get the frustration free packaging. I mean, let's think about this. The package has less materials holding the toy in and (I would think) less work to tie and snap and plastic wire the toys in the packages. Shouldn't it cost LESS to package it? And yet, the FF packaging costs more. However, on Christmas morning I may have paid the extra ten bucks to ease my frustration. I mean all of the twist ties and plastic backing behind the cardboard and these little horrible turn around thingies were HORRIBLE to get the Mommy Gotta Go Doll out of her cutesy box. It took longer for me to get the dang doll out of the package than it took my five year old to get tired of playing with it. And speaking of Mommy Gotta Go...

*This doll is creepy. She talks. It's like SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU'RE DOING (cue up the scary psycho music here). She has this maniacal laugh when she "poops". I put that in quotes because she doesn't actually poop or pee, the toilet just makes the sounds when you correctly put the doll on it, then voila! there is little poop and pee in the potty. You can flush the potty and the bottom spins and then you have the clean water. How nice. Battery operated, of course, which brings me to another point.

*What the heck is the deal with every single freakin' toy in Santa's workshop needing batteries. I thought I was homefree. Most of the toys on Christmas morning came with batteries included. Well, they're crap batteries. They last for, like, five minutes, and then you need new batteries. I bought a huge pack of double AAs, a pack of Cs, and Ds, and we're out now. Two days after Christmas, and there are no batteries. You know how I knew when the toys just got ridiculous? When I saw a Sit and Spin which needed batteries. HEEEEELLLLLLOOOO, PEOPLE!!!! IT'S A SIT AND SPIN!!!! WHY THE HECK DOES IT NEED BATTERIES???? Can't a kid sit down and spin himself without having it done for him??? This is why everybody is obese in this country-because if we can plug it in or stick double AAs in it, than by all means let's make it do the work for us.

*Bratz. I believe I have ranted about the Bratz before. Big lips. Big heads. Honestly, if these Bratz were real people, their anorexic bodies couldn't support the monster heads. They'd be all bent over with their heads dragging the ground which is really not cool at all. Well, my kid wanted a Bratz journal. That's all I heard from November on. Oh, the letters written to Santa; oh, the essays sounded out at school; oh, I just have to have it! So, $35 and for what? This plastic irritation in which you have to trace a "secret sign" on the touchpad on the front to open up the journal. Inside there is a shallow pocket with 15 pieces of paper in it. And if you don't trace your secret sign exactly as you are supposed to, there is this obnoxious buzzer. No worries. After five or six tries you can just turn it over, press the reset button on the back and make a new secret sign on the keypad. Okay. Let's think about this. You have your secrets in the Bratz diary. You don't want anyone to know them. Do you think your brother won't figure out he can just hit the reset button on the back and make his own secret sign to open it? The Bratz journal is not very secure, and it is darn frustrating to try to get it open even with your secret sign. I think the Bratz people ought to pay ME $35 dollars to keep their crappy journal.

*Lock them in their rooms until seven a.m. This is what I'm thinking about doing for next year. Can you believe one of my kids woke me at five o'clock in the morning to go open presents? I mean, COME ON!! I went to the midnight Christmas Eve service at church. I rang the bell at 12:15 signalling Jesus' birth. I don't want my eyes pried open less than five hours later to see what Santa brought. The toys will still be fun at seven, won't they? So, I'm in my robe and bleary eyed while a flurry of wrapping paper is flying through the air. BANG! BANG! BANG! Those are the sounds of toys hitting the floor in rapid succession after they have been unwrapped. Where's the next one!!?? My kids are definitely hunters. They are all about getting the thing. Once they have, it's okay. But spotting it for the first time, taking it down for the kill, there is the thrill....

And so we have several hundred dollars worth of toys with batteries in them cluttering up the parlor. As I glance over at my precious children, I note ironically that they are playing quite contently with $3. worth of clay I bought on a whim at Kroger to stuff in their stocking.

Today is the third day of Christmas-the three French Hens day. Don't exactly know what French hens are, but what I do know is that it is still Christmas and will be until those wise guys finally make it to the baby Jesus for Epiphany in January. For myself, I'm getting rid of the FULL FRUSTRATION packaging, but the tree stays up until after the fifth of January.

Here are movies my kids made with their $3. clay. The first one is by my daughter. Her interpretation goes like this. The slug bugs go to the snowman and ask him where the baby Jesus is. The snowman tells them, and they go. So, this makes me feel like something of the true meaning of Christmas is getting through. How wonderful! The second one is by my son. The little guys go by taco car to the movies. I might need to work with him a bit more...