crap ‘r’ us

Babies have a sneaky way of taking over your home. One minute everything is where it should be — sofa cushions are nice and plump, shelves boasting your wide and varied taste in books and eye for artful curios. The next minute it looks like a toyshop threw up in your living room. I can’t remember a house I’ve been to in the recent past where the children’s toys have not taken over everything. “No, we don’t have furniture any more. No space you see. But feel free to sit on Bittu’s Thomas Ride On while you have some chai.”
Now, is it just me or are all kid’s toys junk? And by kid’s toys I don’t mean things like rubber balls, building blocks and good old Lego. Am referring to the explosion of moulded plastic goods made in neighbouring countries that promise to up our children’s IQ, improve ‘gross motor skills’ and bleat out annoying nursery rhymes on loop that make you want to blow your brains out.
I just don’t buy these promises. (Except the last one, which is almost always true.)
In addition to my general mistrust of toys, there is also the small issue of hating toy shops. Let me say it once again. I HATE TOY SHOPS. The children on the verge of or in the middle of ear drum shattering tantrums. The parents, eyes glazed over, wondering why they ever put their reproductive organs to use whilst trying to placate their princess with yet another My Little Pony. The ‘helpful’ staff who nod sympathetically when you defer purchasing the £1,200 rocking horse and then say, “Well, you can’t put a price tag on a child’s happiness, can you?”
I don’t remember growing up with this many toys, do you? There was the occasional treat for good report cards and birthdays but that was it. And I think I turned out just fine. Of course another way to look at it is that if I had had all the toys available to kids today I might have been a NASA scientist.
Is this is what motivates (guilt trips) parents to buying these ‘learning’ toys? The innate fear that if they don’t, their child will be left behind while the girl next door becomes the first baby in space? Toys today no longer just entertain and occupy children. They claim to make them smarter, faster and better than the next. Even traditional toys in an attempt to stay in vogue, are making these promises.
A wooden pull-along crocodile makes ‘A satisfying sound and encourages independent play’. Actually it doesn’t encourage anything of the sort. My son expects me to pull the crocodile along while he watches. And is there such a thing as a dissatisfying noise? Other than your child crying at 2 am, I mean.
Many months ago, I was trying to put
together a mobile to hang over my son’s crib. After 30 minutes of failed attempts, I gave up and decided to follow the instruction manual instead. The last paragraph congratulated me for assembling said mobile and then stated: “We are sure that all toys made by us will cause somewhat elicitation for the exploitation of baby’s capacity. You will find that your baby is more clever and cute.” Indeed.

(This week in Zeitgeist)


5 thoughts on “crap ‘r’ us

  1. You are right there are too many toys out there. When we were growing up, the biggest toy that we had was our imagination which we put to good use in fashioning out our games and our toys ! I mean we used bamboos for swords and a bent piece of bamboo with a string tied became an arrow and I became a warrior ! Or leaves that became exotic china plates to serve “meal” and some old tea chests that served as our “house !

    I dont know how imaginative kids are these days.

  2. You have captured many a parent’s rant! Don’t get me started on the number of batteries and assembly instructions for these yukky toys. Didn’t they prove stuff like Baby Einstein does not work?

  3. Babies don’t seem to fancy the good old rattle toys anymore!! They only seem to attracted to the TV remote control or laptops and mobile phones.
    Also the parent’s anxiety on making sure that the toys are non-toxic and well branded is totally nerve-racking !

  4. Intense deja vu happened. I have now, at brat age five and a half, managed to contain his toys to one basket, his clothes to one cupboard and have relegated balcony space for cycles, scooties and such like…all the best. And yes, our kids have more toys than they need anyday. But then I have more clothes than I need too! 😉

  5. Nice post!
    I used to just play with “davara-tumbler” and other kitchen utensils and the “chappathi-maavu” when I was a kid– I had immense fun doing what I did and I definitely don’t feel that I “missed out” on the junk toys kids have today.

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