Some time in the next few days, you will receive a letter detailing an extensive list of wishes from my children. Before acting on it in any manner, please carefully consider my preemptive list of un-wishes:
Moon Sand, Aqua Sand, and any other granular substances passing for playthings. I realize that at first pass it seems like a fantastic idea to give small children canisters full of colored sand for indoor use. However, once unleashed, very little of the sand is ever capable of returning to encasement, and it will leave in its wake a bevy of stained clothes, soiled carpets, and gritty tabletops. Unless you are also bringing us a cleaning crew to hover at the ready, leave the sand at the beach.
White apparel of any kind, child sized. Certainly, children look lovely and angelic in white clothing. For about two-and-a-half minutes. Then they take a sip of orange juice and cough-spit droplets on their collar. They have a bite of their PB&J and promptly use their shirt front as a napkin. They hold a purple marker and absently rake it across their right pant leg. They go outside for no longer than five minutes before acquiring a deep grass stain on the seat of their shorts. Until they are old enough to walk down the aisle wearing white, stick to clothing with colors.
Talking toys. Once upon a time, children used their imaginations to talk with their stuffed animals. We don’t need Limbo Elmo goading us to see “How looow can you gooo?!” and then persisting in “Uh-oh!…Uh-oh!…Uh-oh!” every time he is, inevitably, toppled under his own top-heaviness. We can do without Dora’s shouting insistent commands in not one but two languages. This year, let’s go old school and kick it quietly with our snuggle-buddies.
Polly Pocket Dolls. At the risk of leaving our children’s dexterity unchallenged, let’s avoid any dolls requiring 1/2 centimeter-long shoes. Polly and her many miniature accessories are not only frustrating to wrangle, they hurt like a giant bitch when they jab into your bare heel. If you need a magnifying glass to see her jewelry, it’s safe to assume the doll is too small.
K’nex, Imaginext, Magnetix, and other building toys that may or may not make clever use of the letter x. Building toys are great for kids who are old enough to actually build them. This is important, so let me say it again, as clearly and succinctly as possible: Building toys for big kids=Yay! Building toys for little kids=Life-sucking tedium for Mommy. If the box says, “12+,” let’s go ahead and hold off ’til after preschool graduation.
Light-up shoes. Never in the history of children has there been a kid who needed incentive to stomp and jump around. It’s in their nature; they don’t need shoes to blink bright red strobes of encouragement at them. And, frankly, their parents don’t need migraines, either. Lay off the shoe lights.
Toys that are twist-tied, stapled, and taped inside the box. I am confident I can find a better use of half an hour than spending it fighting to release a toy from its elaborate bondage. If it’s really in danger of breaking free from the confines of a factory-sealed box, I’m pretty sure I don’t want it in my house anyway. Go light on the heavily restrained toys.
It’s possible I’ve left off my list some other important un-wishes, so please look for my fellow parents’ comments below. You don’t want to tick us off. I don’t mean to threaten, but your very existence depends on us.