Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Toys I hate

One of the unknowns in foster care (and, therefore, in foster-adoption) is what--if anything--the child being placed in your home will bring with him in terms of possessions. Often, it's what the child doesn't have (a toothbrush and clean underwear, for example) that is most vexing for foster parents. In our case, it was the other way around: Oliver came home with a vast selection of clothes and toys that weren't necessarily what I would have chosen but were his. I wouldn't have simply tossed them all over a style preference anyhow, but as it turns out, I am required by law to keep these items until we are legally his parents--outgrown, spit-up stained onesies and all. I literally had to sign paperwork cataloging each pair of baby socks and promising to maintain them in good condition. The state is nothing if not thorough, readers.

The clothes have been easily put away in bins as they were outgrown. But the toys? Not so easily set aside.

likes his toys. Therefore, I can not justify hauling them into a Rubbermaid bin and snapping the lid shut on his enthusiasm ... not matter how much I long to do so. It would be wrong. Somehow, it feels far more wrong than the undesirable but well-intentioned gifts I have spirited away before my bio kids could get overly fond of them. Maybe I'm over thinking this (which I have certainly been known to do) but the fact is, these toys--no matter how much I loathe them--are the few things in the world that Oliver has from BEFORE. Everything else is AFTER. And AFTER, I can tell him about down the road. The blanks in BEFORE, however, are likely to stay blanks.

But I still hate those toys. I hate them so much that I have put together a visual catalog for you, chronicling exactly why I despise them ... in the hopes that someone, somewhere, will sympathize with me.

The Shelcore Shape Sorter

This toy ranks very high on my irritation factor list. Why? Oh, the reasons are so numerous. First and foremost is the SOUND. I admit it. I am a purist. I do not want toys talking to my children. Why? Because I talk to my children. Siblings talk to my children. Friends talk to my children. Why on earth do we need TOYS to talk?!?

This little winner makes some of the most obnoxious onomatopoeia-like sounds that one can imagine. Sproing. Biong. Doing. Woing. Yes, if it rhymes with -oing, this truck says it. What ever happened to "vroom"?

But wait, there's more! This truck can move!

No, your child doesn't have to be inconvenienced by that strenuous pushing movement you endured in childhood. This truck does it on its own! How about dumping? No, don't move a finger! This truck does that for you, too.

As a matter of fact, the only thing that you can actually DO with this truck is maneuver the cheap, hollow plastic shapes into the sides of the dumper. Please note that unless
the truck is on a elevated table, your child will have to tip the truck over to get to the shape sorting area. Clearly, that function was an after-thought.

"Crud, Bill. We forget to add an educational component."
"Oh, man! Wait, how about singing the ABCs ... in Spanish?"
"No room for a voice box in this one."
"I've got it? Do we have any of those sorting shapes left over?"

"Slap those on the side!"
"Great idea, Bill!"

After getting frustrated by trying to manipulate shapes unfriendly to child-sized hands into impossibly angled holes, your child can wear themselves out pushing down on the bobbly head
of the little man up front. Due to the mechanism that allows the thing to run solo, pushing it or dumping it manually is not possible. So, bobble man it is. How creative!

V-Tech Learn and Discover Driver

My favorite things your child will learn and discover about driving etiquette through using this toy. Yes, these are direct quotes:

"Out of my way!'
"Slow down, little fella!"
"Pull over!"

It's like Cops ... for your toddler.

Go Baby Go! Sit-To-Stand Giraffe

First of all, this thing is huge. Really, it's a pretty sizable toy for a baby or a toddler. A sitting baby could not possibly handle operating this toy because of perhaps its most frustrating component: those balls you feed into the giraffe's mouth? They shoot down the run and then randomly appear in an exit dish. No rhyme, no reason. Just at the age when you're supposed to be setting up logical patterns to help along those processing skills ... this toy decides to go for the surprise! factor that has left every child who has visited my home and played with it clearly befuddled. And, hey, let me brag--these are some smart kids. All of them are from homeschooling families, and all of them are clearly already ticking off items on the "What Your Kindergartener Needs To Know" curve. But this toy ... nada. Once the "well, there it is!" wears off (usually two or three goes) the kids move on. As well they should.

This toy, too, is equipped with noise. Music, sound effects and, the coup de grĂ¥ce--lights. That, I supposed, makes up for any real fun the child should have had in engaging with this plastic giraffe.


Kindred Blessings said...

You must really hate these toys!

Are you having a bad week? Call me if you need to talk.

Liz said...

lol. i feel you. these are the toys people want to give my children. obviously they do not have children themselves. tourture devices.

Sarah said...

I don't know that much about foster care and I was totally unaware that foster parents have to carefully keep every belonging that a foster child brings with them. Eye-opening.

I'm with you on your responses to the toys. It's a tough spot to be in when they're the child's only "before" belongings, like you said.

(MrsPianoMan from SL forums)