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No more toys. And I (mostly) mean it

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published June 18, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

I wavered as I gazed into his pleading amber eyes. So young – he was just born in April. So soft, his fur supple beneath my fingers.

Then I snapped to and realized what I had to do. I tossed him into the garbage bag with his littermate, tied it shut and tossed it out the door.

This year’s Easter bunnies were history. So were last year’s, and Big Guy’s duck from the year before that. They joined a safari’s worth of critters – a gorilla, chickens, elephants and some neon green puffy thing of indeterminate genus.

We’re down to less than a dozen plush playmates, and if you think that sounds like a lot, you should see the pile that just got sent to the stuffed animal shelter. Four remained because they’re cute and expensive – Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Mickey Mouse. The rest will go in due time, and they will not be replaced.

I have declared a toycott.

My epiphany came this weekend, when the guys got into a virtual knock-down, drag-out over a milk jug. Little Guy had it, Big Guy wanted it. That’s the way it goes with everything of late, and the timer trick no longer works. Big Guy’s perverted it until it’s become part of his plot to drive Mommy mad. The kid’s good, I’m telling you.

A milk jug, for Gund’s sake. Something I was about to throw away until Little Guy tugged at my shorts and pleaded, “Want it! Want it!” He ran to the patio with it, where it joined a collection of water bottles and butter bowls that currently held most favored playthings status. Give the guys water, dirt and something to put it in, and they’re occupied for an hour or more.

I thought back to their presents from Santa last year and reviewed how many they actually play with. The list was only about six long, and between Santa and relatives, they received a dozen or more gifts.

Two sets of Duplo blocks were big hits, especially since they came in a giant wagon and fire truck. Big Guy’s keyboard and microphone remain in favor, as does Little Guy’s Elmo work bench. Little Guy’s Fisher Price school bus is about ready for new tires, and Big Guy’s airplane has flown around the world many times over.

The rest – pretty much wasted money.

I realized I was buying toys for me, not them. The cute little Dress Me Elmo? Never drawn a second’s interest. The toy cash register? Strictly a passing fancy. The Dora the Explorer card game? Big Guy would rather match socks. Woody and Buzz? They come off their bookcase perch occasionally, but it’s not as if the guys would miss them if I hid them in a closet.

So I hereby resign from toy-buying, with the exception of birthdays, Christmas and the occasional Thomas fix.

I will stop carrying home cute checkout line crap to salve a conscience guilty over having snuck out of the house for an hour. I will no longer study Web sites and catalogs at Christmas as if I’m cramming for the SAT.

If my first reaction to a toy is “aw, how sweet,” I will not buy it. They are boys, and sweet usually isn’t a big selling point.

For I realize that as long as I continue to buy milk, toilet paper and the occasional pair of shoes, my children will have plenty to keep them amused.

My resolve will be tested quickly.

Little Guy’s birthday is this week, and I’ve already overspent on a Thomas the Tank Engine tent. I think this will wind up being worth the money, though. They took one on a test drive during our Day Out With Thomas trip and were mesmerized.

Big Guy’s is next month, and he’s told me that all he wants is a scooter just like the kid next door’s.
There’s one at Target this week for $25. Sold!

And if I don’t make it in time for the sale, I can always wrap a milk jug.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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