Friday, 30 November 2012

Me Vs Toddler

Now that K is the grand old age of three, I'm at the stage where I can no longer get away with buying her what I'd like her to have for Christmas. Despite avoiding the three P's wherever possible (pink, princess, plastic), she tells me that pink is her favourite colour and coos "Ooo! I like that!" at any piece of flashing pink plastic on the Milkshake ad break.

I'm also having to answer all kinds of odd questions about Christmas. I explained to K that Santa checks if she's been good (I'm planning on milking that one for all it's worth) and if she is then he'll leave her a present under the tree on Christmas Eve (or is it meant to be in her stocking? Can you tell I'm still new to this?)

K: Why does Father Christmas come down the chimney?
Me: Because he parks his sleigh and reindeer on the roof.
K: What?!
Me: *Googles image of Santa's sleigh being pulled through the sky by reindeer* See!
K: But how does he fit down the chimney?
Me: He has to breathe in.
K: How does he see in the dark?
Me: Uh, he has a magic torch.

And so on, usually ending with an exasperated "just because" from me.

We paid a trip to the V&A Museum of Childhood a couple of weeks ago. I'd like to say that it was a fascinating and educational trip but the truth is that we didn't make it past the cafe. Once K and her friend had finished tipping their food all over the floor eating, they wanted to run up and down the stairs screaming, so we took them out to Bethnal Green to run around in piles of autumn leaves (for me that's 80% "awww isn't that adorable" and 20% "please don't let there be dog shit hidden in there") but before we left we had to stop to look at the amazing gift shop as it stocked all the beautiful, well-designed toys that I lust after. The kind that shout "Look! I have great taste!" As my friend G and I admired them, I admitted to her that I just want them because they look cool, I don't think they would actually get played with.

To show you what I mean I will pit one cool toy of my choosing against one of the eyesores that K has asked for.

Round One
Miller Goodman Shapemaker (£32.00) Vs Hello Kitty Oven (£29.99)

The Shapemaker is wooden, retro, and simple. For nearly the same price we have the Kitty Oven that K has taken a shine to, which "really brings baking to life for your little one". Well as much as sticking a plastic cupcake in a pink plastic box can. I can't quite bring myself to look at it face on.

Winner: The Shapemaker, the drawback being that for those with OCD tendancies you'd never be able to put all those blocks away in the box without it forming one of the designs.

Round Two
Magical Menagerie Kit (£16.99) Vs Peppa Pig Girls' Time Teacher Watch (£9.49)
The menagerie is graphic loveliness. I can imagine these sitting on a bookshelf in a very tidy bedroom. Like the ones in the Ikea Live magazine where the poor kids seem to have no toys at all. And then we have the Peppa Pig Girls' watch. The fact it has GIRLS in the description irritates me more than the actual pinkness of it. K has made sure that Nanna knows that it's the present she's expected to produce this Christmas. I'll be making sure I supply lots of extra-long sleeved tops.

Winner: The watch as it is educational, although I'm hoping it will have a short life-span so I can get her a Flik Flak instead.


Round Three
Playplax (£18) Vs Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess Songs Palace (£49.99)
Yes, Plaxplax is plastic but it's a 60's design classic and it looks pretty when the light shines through it. Fisher Price, hang your head in shame for this pink and purple monstrosity. Where to start with the whole Disney Princess thing?: those simpering sound bites; the highly-flammable polyester dressing-up sets, the waiting around for a prince to come to their rescue. And this toy is so big - there would be no hiding it behind the sofa when the mums come round. £49.99 gets you a whole host of noises and the bedroom has a 'moveable bed' - I always knew those Princesses were easy.

Winner: None here, only losers. Playplax has the retro thing going for it, but doesn't have the versatility of other construction toys like Lego.


I've concluded that I'm hankering after toys that remind me of my childhood. It can only be subconscious nostalgia that spurred me to buy this for K (from ELC)...


When I used to have this as a kid (Fisher Price)...

And as for baby E...
I could get him any number of lovely baby toys but he'd still go to his favourites for a chew...


Not a sponsored post - shocking I know! Prices I've quoted are taken from V&A and Argos at time of writing. Hairbrush and remote control are priceless.

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