Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why do they hate us?

We all have them, those relatives without children who give gifts they don't have to live with. We parents look at them and blanch, mentally calculating either a) how fast we'll have to move to get it away from the child before the packaging is open, b) how long the batteries will last, or c) how long before the child loses interest and it can go out to the trash. The answers: a) break the sound barrier, b) too long, and c) WAY too long.
Now, not all of child-free people are clueless about gifts. One "aunt" has given an adorable wall-hanging duck clock, some assembly required. The "assembly" was attaching the bill of the duck with two screws and a small Phillips screwdriver (all included). This was a wonderful gift, not just for the clock, but also the screwdriver fits every toy's battery compartment, saving Mom and Dad precious time looking for the right screwdriver.
She has also given a cute pair of purple Keds tennis shoes, which have been worn by both our girls. She knows who she is.

Then there are the gifts on the other extreme. We were once given what we called the Haunted Guitar. It played one song (loudly). It had neither off switch nor volume control and was motion-activated. It could be sitting on the couch and the dog walking by would send up enough vibration to activate it. Seriously, we heard it going off after it was in the closet. Through the wall.
It went to Goodwill.
We were once given about a pound and a half of bubble gum. This was when Madeleine was 3, Dale not yet 2, and Rachel newborn. It went missing before the kids saw it.
This year, we were given electronic music makers, one for each child. Squeeze the trigger and the sphere on top spins into quarters, revealing Santa Claus an inch tall and playing three rapid-fire electronic melodies: Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and something else I've blotted out. When I say "rapid-fire," I mean the first seven notes of Jingle Bells are so fast they sound like one. And they come with a dozen gumballs.

There. Now I've vented. What was the worst thing YOUR kid got for Christmas?


At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little kids like yours get noisy toys and gum.

Teenagers like mine get DARTBOARDS. From people with 6 kids in the family, no less.

I know a certain family of 6 kids who will see some trumpets and drums come Christmas Eve....

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the old days (like ten years ago), it was possible to open Christmas presents without a sharp pair of scissors or a knife in the room. Now, since everything comes sheathed in Inpenetrable Plastic, we have to pass the scissors around to parents who are struggling to actually get to the present itself while the recipient is jumping up & down in the middle of the floor.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Daisy said...

Thankfully, nothing too bad was given this year. But for my eldest's first Christmas, her godfather (husband's childless brother) found a toy like your haunted guitar. It sat on a rotisserie, had lights, and played techno music. No off switch, and as far as I could tell, no batteries. She loved it, of course. It is still here, though whatever power supply it had has dwindled. We have a storage room, all concrete, under our garage. We put it in there, and we could still hear it going off upstairs. That one's going to be tough for anyone to top.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've received our share of inappropriate *dog* gifts, including large quantities of treats that would actually be fatal to one of them. My dad just wants to spoil them, I think, but we prefer hugs to lethal doses of fat and chemical-treated rawhide. People also like to give them squeaky toys, which have insanity-making potential, but luckily the dogs just ignore them.

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Bible keychain that when you squeeze it plays the entire Hallelujah Chorus. Would you like me to send you a couple of those?


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