Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kickin' It Old School

Thumper and I went toy shopping Sunday. Retail toy shopping, even. Since cheapness counts, we only went retail because we had a $50 KB Toy gift card, and we went to the one in the Round Rock Outlet Mall. Even after shopping, we've still got half our $50 left on the card, so we can go do it again some day! Since he's stuck home alone with his old man all the time, he loves being out among other people, so he thoroughly enjoyed walking through the outdoor mall. He flirts with the ladies and stares like a stalker at other babies. He was on sensory overload in the store, and probably increased the length of his arms by a half inch or so stretching out to reach that one! No, that one! I! Must! Have! That one! His eyes were open so wide I'm surprised the conjunctivitis germs didn't just fall right out for lack of anything to hold on to.

Since I'm a curmudgeon, I didn't want to get him anything with corporate characters. He doesn't need to become an Official Disney Consumer just yet. And when Sesame Street Live! was in town, several people said to me, "So I guess you'll be bringing your little one next year!" I responded that if he never found out there was any such thing as an Elmo, I'd be a happy man. I know; good luck with that, right? Well, so far, anyway...

I also didn't want anything that required batteries for flashing lights and repetitive songs that leave Mrs. Rodius walking through the office singing, "Would you like some cookies? Here they are. Five different shapes in my cookie jar! You can take them out; you can put them back. Five little cookies make a yummy snack!"

So we kicked it old school. We're rollin' low tech. We went back to the Brilliant Basics™. First, we (and by we, I mean I; he would've picked out a dozen more stuffed animals if I'd left it up to him, and he's already got an army of them in his room that get up to who-knows-what in there at night) picked out Rock-a-Stack®. Shaking the "swirling beads," Mrs. Rodius pointed out that "When I was a kid, we didn't have this." I guess she's got a little curmudgeon in her, too: "When I was a kid, we didn't have no fancy 'swirling beads.' We didn't need swirlin'. We had plain, solid, primary colors, and we liked it that way!"

Then we decided on the Snap-Lock® Beads, another classic. The shapes have been updated since the '70's, but still, generations of foster kids chewed on these things at my house when I was a boy.

Then I saw the pièce de résistance. I was sure this would be the one he'd be scooting all over the floor with: the Bead Ball. What baby wouldn't like that, with the stuff, and the moving, and the rattling around?

Well, of course he doesn't give a rat's ass about the Bead Ball. And he'll poke at the snap-lock beads with his two little teeth for a minute or so before he loses interest. He'll play with the rock-a-stack a little longer, but once he gets all of the rings off the post, he figures he's won the game and starts looking around for that damn cookie jar again.

These kids today! They don't appreciate the classics! Beh!


Saint Richard said...

We liked it! We loved it!

And then one day, one of those beads would fall off their cheaply made strings and hit us in the eye. And we'd say, "OH NO...MAYBE THIS WASN'T SUCH A GOOD IDEA." But it was too late. We were blind. And we liked it!


Anonymous said...

GENERATIONS of foster kids???!!!! My God, son, how old do you think we are????!!!! Wait, don't answer that.

And I'm thinking Grandma and Grandpa need an approved toy list, stat.

Love y'all, PureLight

anniemcq said...

Can I give you a great hint for a toy? It does make sound, and it does have lights, but the baby makes (or unmakes) the music. It was the only sound toy I could stand, and I'm convinced it's why he loves music still:


I, Rodius said...

No approved toy list necessary. Your relationship with the boy is your own; you can always do what you see fit. I have no illusions that he'll remain forever unaffected by the power of Disney marketing.

I, Rodius said...

anniemcq - $50??? You don't happen to have a used one you're looking to get rid of cheap, do you? The reviews looked good. I'll keep my eye out for it.

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