Amongst all the paperwork I had to sign when I became a parent I didn’t realise that nestled somewhere between the birth certificates and the endless hospital forms was a franchise agreement for a Toys R Us megastore.
How else can I explain my house being full of wall-to-wall plastics? We used to have a double garage but now we park on the driveway as the girls and their toys have established squatters’ rights. Just about every storage space in the house has been taken over by toys in every shape and colour.
Now when I was young I had toys of course and I fondly remember my Star Wars action figures, dart gun and Ipso blocks (they were plastic blocks with lollies inside). And the tree in the backyard. And rocks. Such a simple time.
But today’s children have to have everything. Including iPads (no doubt to help keep track of their toy catalogues) and every derivation of well… every variation.
Because it’s not just the fact there are thousands of different toys to choose from – each franchise has a million variations and accessory packs.
So our twins have what appear at first to be copies and duplicates but are actually cunningly different modifications. In other words this second one has two tiny orange dots on it Daddy so it’s OBVIOUSLY totally different.
I’m joking of course – my girls don’t say “totally” or I would disown them. But the bit about the nearly identical copy being passed off as a different toy is true.
And it’s not as if the twins need anymore anyway (and indeed for their past two birthday parties we’ve asked people to not buy presents) but storage keeps diminishing as the toy population booms. Balls, bikes, tea sets and of course the Queen of Retail *shudder* Barbie.
Now Barbie by herself isn’t a problem (no body issues in this house yet other than my own ‘abs of flab’) – it’s what she comes with. Accessories. Clothes. And more accessories. It’s a plethora of little weapons that will inevitably embed themselves into my feet at 3am because the concept of “putting stuff away” is foreign to anyone under the age of 37 apparently.
But I can’t just buy Barbie and her seemingly endless wardrobe. Nooooo. I have to get her friends, her boyfriend, her sisters and her entire family (including a horse). Basically I’m supporting her and her complete network. Somewhere along the line I have become Barbie’s pimp. Except I’m driving a CX7 while Miss Mattel gets around in a Ferrari!
Which I paid for.
I should point out my girls don’t ask for all this stuff. They just keep getting it anyway. In fact in over four years they’ve each only asked for one specific toy. And they didn’t get it (hey don’t look at me – I was away, I still feel bad about it and santa became the scapegoat).
Most of this problem comes from having wonderful friends who have contributed out of good intentions. In fact on their third birthday party the girls received so many presents we put half of them aside. And then forgot about them.
On a completely unrelated note is it bad to “regift” presents to your own kids? I’m asking for a friend of course.
Maybe it’s time the girls got acquainted with the Joy Of Rocks…