Tink and Dimples have compiled their Christmas lists. This activity entailed sitting down at the computer with pen and paper and dutifully studying toy websites (and Amazon.com) for the season's must-haves (aka most expensive). I have glanced at their lists but have not yet studied them in depth. I have total confidence, though, that upon closer examination there will be at least one item on each of them that is a piece of crap, for lack of a better description.
We have fortunately moved past the days of wanting every.single.toy. advertised on television. One year I actually threatened to unplug all the TV's in our house until after Christmas if I heard "I want THAT!" one more time. But let's be honest - who is really being punished in that scenario? Now their selections mostly include things they've seen at friends' houses. And a wide selection of video games.
However, those days are not far behind us and I remember them well. There are a few toys that once graced the shelves of our toy closet that bore a special brand of hatred in my soul. The kind reserved for mosquitoes and violent criminals. I will share them with you now.
- Moon Sand. I do not understand how this stuff won awards. Perhaps we got a defective batch, but I refuse to give it a rating any higher than craptacular. Its slogan is "Sand You Can Mold!" Newsflash: You can mold all sand. But, if you play with that shit in the house it is going to make a big freaking mess and you will be vacuuming it out of your carpet until you are put into the nursing home. I read the FAQ's on this stuff and there is a paragraph that says - and I quote - "Never let Moon Sand come in contact with detergent as it will remove the coating and render it into REGULAR SAND." Detergent is fancy for soap. So don't wash your hands before you play with it. And don't wash the surface on which it is going to be played with. Then it goes on to say, "When using Moon Sand indoors, it is best to play on a plastic sheet or mat placed over top of carpeting or tile. Hardwood flooring may become slippery with Moon Sand and therefore, is not recommended." In other words, don't let it touch any indoor surface. Reserve gifting this toy to the children of people you dislike. If your child receives it, you'll know where you stand.
- Bratz dolls. Some people may disagree with me here, and that's cool. Personal preference and all. I'm not one of those moms that holds some moral opposition to Barbie and the like because of its less than healthy portrayal of the female body. Whatever. She's got a killer wardrobe and awesome hair. But the whole premise of these little Bratz snots makes my skin crawl. I would prefer my daughter not admire a doll named for a person who by definition is : n. A child, especially a spoiled or ill-mannered one. Their catch phrase is "The Bratz are all about rockin' the hottest fashion trendz with their friends... and some serious attitude!" Yeah. Girls (no matter what age) don't need any encouragement in the attitude rocking department. And let's throw in a bad spelling lesson to boot.
- Easy Bake Oven. Possibly my most despised toy to date. Most moms I know relish the day their little girl gets her first EBO and spending an afternoon together in the kitchen creating tasty treats. WITH A LIGHT BULB. I did not get the memo that I was supposed to be super excited about this. Tink loved this toy. And it was because of her love for it that I allowed it to remain in our house for as long as it did. I would plead with her to "Let's just cook in the real oven! I'll let you crack the eggs and stir the batter and scoop the cookie dough! Way better!" No dice. We were cooking in a plastic box WITH A LIGHT BULB and miniature kitchen utensils. If you are not lucky enough to be familiar with how the EBO works, I'll break it down for you as simply as possible.
- Plug in your EBO. Let it "pre-heat" for at least 20 minutes. You are going to be cooking WITH A LIGHT BULB so it needs to reach maximum heat output. Heaven help you if you accidentally touch it. You might want to go ahead and get out the aloe. And pour yourself a drink right NOW.
- Open the package of delicious cookie or cake mix that cost you $5.99. Do not think about the fact that you could purchase all of the ingredients for a full-size cake for a fraction of that.
- Pour the mix into your tiny mixing bowl. Add one TEASPOON (yes, teaspoon) of water. Stir. This will be either way too little or way too much. If it is too little, add a DROP - literally - no more, no less - of water until it reaches the right consistency. If you accidentally add too much, you are screwed so open another package of $5.99 mix. You are likely finished with your first drink by now, so go ahead and pour another. Don't feel bad about it. Just do it.
- When you've finally achieved a consistency that appears as it would result in a dessert of some sort, either shape it into tiny cookies or pour it into the tiny cake pan that came with the EBO. Then use the weird handle/stick/pusher thing to insert the pan into the side slot, as there is no oven door. Allow confection to cook for approximately 10-12 minutes.
Hey, maybe it's not that bad after all.
**Note: I have heard that the new model of the EBO no longer requires a light bulb. Not sure what the toy geniuses used to replace that innovative cooking component, but I only have one thing to say to all of you that don't have to fool with changing such when it burned out: you lucky bastards.