Monday, October 19, 2009

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice--Too many toys?

Jenn asked me, How many toys are too many? And my answer/advice to that is: one. That's right, one toy is one too many. I remember back when I was a kid my mother used to hand me a length of string and a hanger and I'd play with it for hours. Eventually I invented the first rough antenna for television sets. (What's that? Sorry, my husband is screaming from the background telling me that didn't really happen. Now, where was I. Right my inventing years) Sometimes she would just tell me to run outside and play. I didn't need fancy "toys" or new fangled "video gaming systems" (Sorry, my husband is now trying to tell me that I was the queen of tetris and super mario brothers growing up. I have no idea what he's talking about.)

So, Jenn, my advice to you is throw away all your kids' toys and stock up on wire hangers and balls of string. It will stoke their creativity. Just be careful that they don't poke their eyes out or anything.

Perhaps this isn't exactly true advice. But, according to my daughter, I grew up in a generation where things such as "playing with toys" and "learning" hadn't been invented yet. A few weeks ago as we were sitting around the dinner table after the kids' first day of school my husband asked her what she learned. "Oh, you wouldn't understand," she said, "we learn much harder things in school than you did growing up." Without missing a beat my husband said, "But I aced hole digging one oh one, what could you possibly be learning that's harder than that?" Then, of course, we both went on to name all the classes we'd done very well in. "Gardening", "sharpening pencils", "Breathing". By the time we were done, my daughter was rolling her eyes, apparently convinced we were even stupider than she gave us credit for. It's fun to annoy your children isn't it?

(Anyway, I better go hide the millions of toys in my house in case Jenn comes to visit.)


  1. Isn't that why we had kids, so we could annoy them.

  2. Now, I know for a fact you had more than a hanger and a ball of string... what about empty spools of thread and toilet paper rolls? I recall that you had those too.
    Isn't it funny that our kids know more than we do?!

  3. Hilarious!

    I'm throwing the biggest garage sale in history- thanks Kasie!

    Really, I appreciate your humor. I needed this laugh today.

    Happy writing!

  4. Aha! I knew it! Toys are unnecessary. Santa and Grandmas are all wrong. Thanks for answering the big question.

  5. I remember having this kind of conversation with my parents. My dad had to walk to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.

    I would love to clear out some toys. I'm tripping over them all of the time, and the kids always want more for Christmas.

  6. Why didn't you mention "waitress annoyance" I know for a fact Jared aced that one. :)

  7. Natalie, actually, my husband aced that one. I still struggle with that from time to time. :)

    Patti, yes, it really is. From the time they were babies my husband and I have been discussing how best to annoy/embarrass them when they become teens. We're so excited. :)

    Annette, man, you're right, I did have those things. I believe we used to play "telephone" with them. No, wait those were empty cups in the old clubhouse out back. :)

    Tamika, thanks. I'm glad I can make you laugh. I love to laugh. I think I need to throw a garage sale too.

  8. Jenn, Santa is half way wrong, grandmas are always wrong because they give our kids the toys that make us insane, mainly the ones that make noise.

    Candice, very true. But I think he aced that one in college. :)

  9. melane, oops, sorry for skipping you, my son started demanding things right in the middle of my responses. Anyway, yes, my parents told the stories as well. It's only right that we carry on their tradition. :) And let's not talk about tripping over toys. I do it every day. Ugh. And Christmas, it's coming at me so fast. I haven't even started shopping. :)

  10. I want to eat dinner at your house. I agree, too many toys, but I'm already making a list (and checking it twice) for my son's Christmas presents. Where will they fit in his already bursting toy collection? I don't know.

  11. All I had was an Aunt Jemima syrup bottle and a pet rock and I turned out just fine. Okay, stop laughing. No really, you can stop now.