If you’re happy and you know it, stop the song

January 29, 2009

After a not-so-pleasurable trip to the dentist this afternoon, I arrived home to find a giant box at our front door.  So I put the baby down, made sure the cat wasn’t trying to escape, and then lugged the box over the threshold and into the house.  Knowing and dreading what was inside I avoided the box for a good hour– nursing the baby, calling my mom, eating a snack, etc. When I did get to opening the box it was just what I had feared it would be: another toy!!

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Now, I know I should be grateful for all of the love that people are showing our child by buying him lots and lots and LOTS of toys. I am, in fact, incredibly grateful for it all and the thought that has gone into all of the gifts.  But it has got to stop.  

I can’t take any more versions of “If you’re having and you know, clap your hands.”  I can’t take any more ugly, garishly-colored plastic monkeys.  I can’t take another “developmentally appropriate,” activity-driven machine that actually prescribes what my kid should be doing rather than just letting him play and explore the world around him.

What is wrong with his plastic mixing bowl and measuring cups? What’s inadequate about his blocks? Didn’t kids play happily and develop appropriately with those toys for years and years?  Why do the toy companies have to play with our insecurities and push these new toys and being necessary?

And let’s be honest, it isn’t as if the Fisher-Price Sing-Along Toy is going to guarantee my child’s entrance into an elite college or university (even if that were the end all, be all).

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