Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Advice This Holiday Season. Don't Fall Victim to the Toys

As we're dealing with all of those battery operated toys this season, I thought I'd thought I'd share a column I wrote for the Kingston Whig Standard, that was published two years ago.

My own chilling experiences.

It got a bit botched up in the archives with the opening at the bottom, but this is how it was originally written.

A Game For Ernie

In our golden years, my husband and I have accepted the task of raising a grandchild. This can be very rewarding, but not without it's challenges. However, if I had to cite one complaint that would surpass all others, it would be the toys. Not that they are strewn all over, but the toys themselves. With our own children the worst we could expect was picking lego out of our feet, riding a matchbox car down the stairs, or having them blow something up with their chemistry set. (though it was usually just "Hey mom, smell this")

But my grandson's toys have the ability to manifest themselves into life forms that awaken at the slightest hint of a human presence. If I walk by his bed a little voice from underneath calls out "Hi, I'm Ernie. Let's play a game".  And though I've now resorted to suggesting a game that involves Ernie and an open window, he's relentless.

But that's not the worst of it. Entering my grandson's toy room can be like a trip to Hades. Truck lights beam, sirens go off and big purple dinosaur tells me he loves me. The book shelf comes to life with Dora wanting me to go exploring and an invisible game demanding that I find the letter 'g'. Before I can even find the game, a buzzer sounds and I am taunted with 'Wrong. Try again."

Even in the night the slightest movement will generate barnyard sounds, screeches and squeals that appear to be coming from the toy box, though I've never felt brave enough to attempt to locate the source.

You probably think I could simply turn them off. However, even if I was able to locate the cleverly concealed switches with their iconic symbols, they never work. They merely kick the toy up a notch. Oh, take the batteries out, you say? Now there's a good idea.

In another attempt to remind me that they are smarter than I, they hide their batteries behind tiny little doors, held in place with tiny little screws, embedded so deep inside that even if I could find the right tiny little screwdriver, I couldn't target that sucker if my life depended on it.

So I have decided to surrender to the toys, until I'm better equipped to launch a counter attack. But for now, I must go. Ernie is calling me. He wants to play a game. I was unable to locate the right screwdriver, but have found the perfect hammer. "C'mon Ernie. Let's play!"


All the best of the season to everyone.

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