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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Noisy Toy Prerogative

We celebrated Erin's first Christmas in December. To make it special we spent our holiday visiting her grandparents and her aunts. We expected that she would be loaded down with toys; so many, in fact, that we avoided buying her any ourselves.

We were not disappointed. And in full accord with the rule that says "If you don't have any kids buy the loudest and most annoying toy for those who do", Erin's aunt bought her this little gem.

The Leapfrog AlphabetPal Caterpillar.

It has many settings, music, colours, letters, and it will make some kind of noise with each foot that is even looked at in too direct a manner. It also has a large button on its back which, when depressed, encourages it to burst into a full song. And, if you pull it by its string it will sing the Alphabet Song.

That's a lot of noise for one little piece of plastic.

Because I knew this was a particularly obnoxious toy, with only marginal usefulness for my 10-month old daughter, I let her play with it only occasionally. But for some reason, perhaps because I'm evil, I turned it on tonight and let Erin go to town with it after her mom came home.

Erin poked it; it sang. Erin lifted it; it sang. Erin crawled around with it up on its side; it almost had a fit trying to figure out which of its many songs to sing (because many little feet were being crushed at once as Erin darted from room to room with it).

Erin's mom warned, "You have 5 more minutes with that thing, kid."

5 minutes passed. And a couple more. And the noise was maddening. I don't know why I let it go on; I can tune things out better, I suppose. But eventually I noticed a change in my daughter's play.

When she would drag the caterpillar around and it was quiet she was happy; but if it started singing she was getting upset. I imagined her inner monologue including several expletives and repeated exhortations for the plastic demon to "Just shut up! Shut up! Why can't you just be quiet?!?"

The toy was so annoying that not even my daughter could tolerate it for more than ten minutes.
But I toughed it out; I outlasted her.

As I reached down to finally turn the thing off I sent a mental message to my sister, my loving, considerate sister who had gifted us with this excellent torture device:

"I win, sis."


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

We used to have one of those.

I just had a flashback.

Backpacking Dad said...

"used to" speaks volumes.

I'm going to "used to" have one of them soon too.


You're funny. Annoying toys seem to pacify me in inexplicable ways. Actually, that kind of explains a lot.

Jessi Louise said...

My kids are older now and I'm so used to the noisy toys that they almost never bother me. They might bother everyone else in the room, but I can totally tune them out.

Backpacking Dad said...

From now on she gets Nerf.

I love sweet, silent, Nerf.

Do they still make Nerf?

How many sentences can I end with "Nerf"?

For the philosophers of language in the room, that's three; I know.

for a different kind of girl said...

Um, yeah, there's still plenty of Nerf stuff. However, now, my boys have Nerf dart guns. While the toys are quiet, the boys playing with them are a whole lot of loud!

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Did Phyllis buy that caterpillar? I don't remember buying it. I bought her a huge teddy bear (quiet) and two very pretty dresses (quieter).

Backpacking Dad said...

Yes you bought it. Or maybe mom did, but I'm pretty sure it was you.