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.