Thursday, December 22, 2011

the worst presents your child will get this holiday season

when i was two years old, my aunt got me drums for my birthday.

she didn't yet have any children of her own.

so a few years later when my cousins were born, my mom made sure to get them the loudest, most annoying toys in existence.

now i find myself a parent and the proud recipient of toys i want to smash with a hammer.  naturally, though, my children only become attached to the presents i hate the most.... meaning i'll have to chase down the person who bought them with a hammer.  i kid!  i kid!  (mostly. by which i mean i will hunt them to the ends of the earth.)

well, the holidays are upon us.  and all the evil toys you've managed to talk your children out of/hide when they weren't looking/pawned off on other people's kids/donated to goodwill will now make their way into your home, whether you like it or not.

here, for your enjoyment, a few of the things i'd like to set fire to the most:

The Ugly Sweater

the ugly sweater usually comes from a relative, meaning you'll have to wrestle your kid into it long enough to take a picture for great-aunt tilly.  if you're lucky, you will get a matching set for you, the kids, your spouse and possibly your dog.  and i have a feeling you'll be lucky this year. apologies to fido in advance.

The Lego Set of Doom

good lord, do i hate these freaking lego sets.  the box may say "ages 4 and up!" but it doesn't matter, because they can only be assembled by someone with an engineering degree.  each lego set shows a picture on the box of a bulldozer/thermonuclear reactor/actual working velociraptor that will take approximately 7 working days to finish.  

bonus: once completed, you are not actually allowed to play with, touch, or even look at said thermo-bull-raptor because it will fall into one million pieces and you'll have to start the entire process over again.

The Loudest and/or Most Breakable Toy Ever

some toys are loud.  some break repeatedly.  but most of the toys my children get possess both of these qualities.  does a toy fire engine really need to be as loud as an actual fire engine?  toy manufacturers seem to think so.  

the "level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss" is 90-95 decibels. the "level at which pain begins" is 125 decibels.  every toy in my house that makes noise is approximately 126 decibels.  volume switch? not necessary! you'll lose hearing soon enough and then it will be a non-issue!

even better is the toy that breaks, over and over and over again.  it's the gift that keeps on giving! think you just fixed the shovel on that toy excavator?  think again!  "didn't i just fix barbie's magic wand?" you did.... but look! magic! it broke again!  WHEE!

The Evil Catalogue Insert

my husband and i have become toy-opening ninjas.  as soon as the kids rip their gifts open, we swoop in, mission impossible style, to extricate the accompanying catalogue before our children can set their greedy little eyes on them.  because once they do.....

.....expect the actual present to lie forgotten and neglected on the ground as your kid pores over the millions and billions of OTHER things they could have gotten but didn't.  thought you got them exactly what they wanted?  WRONG!  it was exactly what they wanted until they saw additional options.  options that you, clearly being the horrible, awful, meaniepants parent that you are, didn't think to get them.  i hope you're happy.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

...and giving, and giving, and giving.  you got the racetrack!  good for you!  it was the last one on the shelf and you knocked over that parent pushing a stroller to get it!  hooray!  oh wait, i'm sorry - did you think that you got the entire racetrack?  nice try, amateur.  

the latest toy company trick that has me cursing the heavens are those which promise an entire world, only to deliver a lamppost from that world.  maybe a mailbox.  possibly just a shoe.  because who thinks to check the fine print when the shiny picture on the front will do?

don't worry, though - you can assemble the toy you actually wanted once you upgrade and buy the Street Kit, People Kit, Car Kit, Upgrade Kit, Gold Star Kit and Best Parent Ever Kit, all for only $49.99 apiece!  oh, except that Best Parent Ever Kit - those are sold out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

things i didn't appreciate until i had children, volume 2.

ah, the good old days.  when a bottle of wine and a block of cheese counted as "dinner."  and when "late" meant 2am instead of 10pm.  who am i kidding, if the phone rings past 9:30, i'm convinced someone is dead.

all these things considered, though, the weekend was still made of of three distinct parts: 1) being wickedly hungover and lying around in bed until noon, 2) eating some kind of greasy food out of a take-out container on the couch, and 3) wash/rinse/repeat the actions of the night before.

parenthood does not allow this.  and i really, really didn't appreciate the ability to be nauseous all sunday morning without having to be yelled at by dora and her map.

in the unfortunate event that you allow yourself a tasty adult beverage or two (or three), the Morning After is almost guaranteed to consist of three new distinct parts: 1) being wickedly hungover, 2) being woken up at 5am by your lovely children who are very excited to jump on your head and force you to put a toaster waffle in the oven, and 3) you silently praying for the Babysitting Fairy to come and watch your kids so you can vomit in privacy with some dignity.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

things i didn't appreciate until i had children, volume 1.

so there were a number of things that i just took for granted before i had kids. simple things, really - like going to the grocery store. alone. or picking up prescriptions from walgreens. alone. or pretty much anything. alone.

every morning i make it my duty to take a nice hot shower and pretend to take care of my appearance so that i don't look like a hobo when i drop my kid off at school. it's the only ten minutes of the day that i have to myself. and it is magical. except.....

...the worst sound in the world is that of the bathroom door opening while i am in the middle of my nice steamy alone time. (not nearly as sexy as it sounds.) nice clean alone time now means answering a barrage of questions, offers for company and, best of all, my husband asking me "are you done yet?"

no. no, i am not.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

you can run, but you can't hide from your children in the bathroom for long

dear husbands,

here's a little secret: your wife does not suddenly suffer from lactose intolerance. it's just that the bathroom is the last place she can justifiably hide from her children.

note to my husband: i would never do this. ever. maybe just once. once a day. or twice. twice a day. probably more on weekends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

this is your lingerie drawer.... on toddlers.

yeah, we all like to pretend that we're the hot milf at our kids school.  or maybe that's just me.  don't judge.

it is, of course, easier to pretend how hot and put-together i am when i'm not wearing my uggs and my husband's sweatshirt that says "my weiner does tricks" underneath a picture of a dachshund.  again, don't judge.

while i fancy myself to still be the cool chick i was in college when i worked at victoria's secret for a semester and ended up with a drawer of garter belts, the reality is a little different these days.  by which i mean drastically, completely different.

yeah.  that's a sad state of affairs.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

possession is 11/10ths of the law.

toddler law, that is.

i was inspired to create this lovely venn diagram after a playdate.  or a weekday.  or every day of my life that more than one child is involved.

not mentioned:  the crappier the toy is, the higher the desirability level.  example: brand spanking new monster truck with remote control = low desirability; small sharp metal truck missing one wheel that lived under the couch for six months and was recently found by my bare foot = the equivalent of women fighting over louboutins.

Friday, October 2, 2009

we're on facebook!

little dictators is back! great news for all three of you who have been waiting with bated breath.

we are pleased to invite you to join us on facebook. ( feel free to stop by, check things out, or become a fan by clicking on the handy link to the right.

thanks for following along with us and we hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

no throw: bottle holder for babies on the go

.....and we're back! after our self-imposed blogging vacation, little dictators is back online just in time to save you from having to pick up that sippy cup your adorable child just threw on the ground for the 115th time.

the no throw is a thick velcro strap with one end that securely fits around your child's sippy cup or bottle. the other end has a leash-style handle, allowing itself to be looped around your tot's stroller, high chair, car seat or whatever stationary seating arrangement they have decided upon for 5 minutes.

the no throw's double ended sturdy design will keep your child's cup of choice at arm's length, no matter how hard they try to fling it across the room. and believe me, they'll try.

i'll admit: i got this as a baby shower present from my friend maire, who assured me that it would come in handy. i was doubtful. and i was wrong. it's a lifesaver.

the no throw is available in most walgreens stores, as well as online at amazon and many other locations. it's an inexpensive way to save your sanity. after all, the cost of one no throw strap is significantly less than it would cost to go to therapy after muttering "no... i won't pick up the bottle! don't throw your bottle again!" in your sleep for weeks.

p.s. a mom friend of mine pointed out that the no throw can double as a stroller leash. a great solution, since i live in hilly san francisco and have nightmares about runaway strollers. simply loop one end of the no throw to the stroller handlebar, the other around your wrist and you're good to go!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

little dictators vacation!

hi folks..... as you can tell from the lack of posts, we're on a mini vacation around here at little dictators headquarters. (um, yeah.... our vacation looks nothing like the above image.)

we'll be back soon with more fabulous products that your child wants but doesn't need.

see you soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

jack's big music show!

my cousin has her hands full. she has two boys (a 6 week old and a 20 month old) and even on a good day she barely gets a chance to catch her breath.

she called me two days ago to tell me the news: they're all sick. "ugh," she coughed at me, "i'm exhausted. both boys have colds, i feel like crap, and i just need five minutes to blow my nose. i've been through every episode of sesame street we have on the dvr and if i have to watch dora the explorer one more time, i'm going to go loco. ACHOO!"

i feel your pain. as i've mentioned before when talking about my other favorite kid's show, i'm not a big proponent of letting your tiny tot watch a bunch of tv, but i'm not amish. and sometimes when cole is cranky, or i need two seconds to prepare his lunch or, as happened the other night, my child decides he is absolutely terrified of my super nice friend who loves children and was almost a preschool teacher, some child-friendly programming is just what we need. and jack's big music show is just what my cousin needs.

jack's big music show, on noggin (of course) is not only a great way to keep your child entertained, but teaches them about different types of music. the muppet-like puppets of jack, mary and jack's dog mel play a variety of instruments as they demonstrate rhythm, melody, singing and lots of different sounds.

the puppet sections are interspersed with live music segments. a range of musicians, from house musician laurie berkner to an a capella group to lisa loeb (!) perform songs for your child to sing along with. participation is encouraged and children can learn about the unique sounds of all sorts of instruments and types of music from different cultures.

jack's big music show fulfills all my requirements for children's programming. it's entertaining, bright and colorful, shows great interaction, encourages participation, it's educational and, most importantly, i don't want to pull all of my hair out while watching it. it's sweet enough for children but not so saccharine that it turns parents off.

and good news: my cousin's son loves it! they finally have some new songs to sing along with while they're all back on the road to recovery.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

kids organic: healthier ideas for frozen meals

it's the end of a long day. you've built block buildings and knocked them over. you've pushed toy cars all over the house. you've been to the park - twice. you've sung "the wheels on the bus" no less than 700 times.

now all you have to do is make it through dinner and you're home free! what to do when you're exhausted but you still want to feed your child a healthy, well-balanced, organic meal?

shopping at whole foods the other week i stumbled upon kids organic frozen meals. kids organic meals are healthy, well-rounded meals for your tiny tot that provide all the nutrition your children need - with none of the work.

made from locally produced ingredients and served in go-green packaging, kids organic helps ensure that even tired mommies can give their children what they want. each meal is made of all natural and organic ingredients - no translation needed when reading the ingredient list. they're even nutritionally balanced according to the fda's latest food pyramid.

meals are chock full of fiber, minimally processed and come in a variety of kid-friendly options, including macaroni & cheese and baked chicken stars. each entree is accompanied by a fresh vegetable medley and a "dessert" of organic fruit, brown sugar and oatmeal.

kids organic frozen meals microwave in a mere 3 minutes using their revolutionary steam cooking process. let cool for two minutes and voilĂ ! from freezer to table in five minutes flat.

not only are they easy, they're tasty, too. the baked chicken stars got my son to eat chicken - for the first time ever. if that's not an endorsement, i don't know what is. their environmentally-friendly minimal packaging is a huge plus as well. kids organic meals are also healthy enough so that you don't have to feel guilty when snacking on your child's leftovers. not that you would do that, of course.

Monday, August 25, 2008

fisher-price sesame street silly sounds remote Fisher-Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote

my son loves watching on demand. at least that's the conclusion i've drawn after he's stolen the remote no less than 700 times and, almost every time, managed to press the "on demand" button.

apparently, there's something he'd really like to watch that i'm not allowing him to. however, despite his father's protests, he's still too young to watch - well, pretty much anything his father watches.

if your child is like mine, then you'll notice how quickly he gravitates towards electronics. even at just a few months old, teethers are quickly tossed aside while your baby tries to grab and drool on your remote control, your cordless phone, your cell, your pda and pretty much anything you think might be better off, say, not covered in drool.

the problem with most "toy" electronics is that they look like toys. and believe me when i say your child will be most unimpressed by this facsimile. they demand the real thing - or at least a reasonable likeness.

fisher-price must have some actual parents in their development department to come up with this sesame street silly sounds remote. not only is it the size and shape of your own prized controller, but it incorporates your child's favorite sesame street characters. the eyes at the top blink when the right button is pressed and the volume control actually works. your child can press any of the numbers to hear silly sounds, numbers, or the voices of oscar, ernie and the rest of the gang.

the sesame street remote is a great way to keep your child occupied and away from your electronics while entertaining them at the same time. now if only it would keep your husband away from the remote control...