How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

The Ways a Toy Can Suck for a Parent


The Ways a Toy Can Suck for a Parent funny image graphic

Now that most of us have made it through the gift-buying bonanza of the holidays, you might be saying to me, “Gee thanks! You could’ve posted this BEFORE my holiday shoppageddon!” To which my reply would be, “Hey! I was busy buying toys that I’ll regret or suffer through, too!!!”

Plus, even if I had posted this as warning ahead of time, it probably wouldn’t have helped much to prevent the parental suckitude of the toys you bought for a couple of reasons: 1) the “features” listed above are cleverly hidden from paying customers and, 2) you still would have bought it for your kid anyway, because we all love the crap out of our kids and do stupid things for them all the time – ten times over on the holidays. It’s our job.

As usual, I couldn’t fit all of the ways a toy can suck for a parent, so feel free to fill in the gaps and let me know what words I misspelled or which things I left out. Ugh.

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40 Responses to “The Ways a Toy Can Suck for a Parent”

  1. Monica says:

    Pure Genius! And you are right, getting this information ahead of time prolly would not help. It is amazing how my son who just turned 1 can make my living room a complete disaster area in a matter of seconds once I put him down on the floor with all those new toys. I need police tape to keep back all the visitors without children and a huge copy of this sign as a warning to what they could be walking into.

  2. Leigh says:

    The part about Hair Trigger Activation brought tears to my eyes. Hilarious. Great post!

  3. Amber B says:

    This is all so true! Especially the size part if your buying stuff online! The thing i hate is when you get a toy but you can’t forget the other multiple pieces you have to buy to complete the set! (hot wheels wall track!)

    • andy says:

      Ugh! YES! That missing key component is a killer. Batteries not included is fine, I can blitz out to any ol’ store and handle that. But when you buy some armored space transport and it doesn’t come with the dude who’s supposed to fly that damn thing or some such… FAIL. HOW WILL THE INHABITANTS OF THE DYING PLANET MAKE IT OFF WORLD IN TIME!?!?!?!

  4. Nixxa says:

    I worked in the toy aisles over the holiday and the displays for the leap pad thing scared the living daylights out of me when it was dead quiet at 4am. Nothing in the freaking aisle to set the motion sensors off! Then the dolls with sensors a few aisles over started going off.

    I believe I found the toys that my nephew’s and niece’s aren’t getting. I’m sticking to fluffy, pliable, noiseless toys from now on.

  5. jetts31 says:

    Reconstructing Alien Technology, my favorite. I could after 9years of Christmases with kids, I’m fairly certain I could reverse engineer a UFO.

  6. Rick says:

    You had me at Maximum Security Packaging.

    • andy says:

      I actually have a small scar from getting sliced open by the plastic fortress they put some walkie-talkies Cody got for Christmas a few years ago. I now use heavy-duty tools and can openers on those bastards now.

      • Lisa Webb says:

        We had one toy where you needed to find one of those really small screwdrivers to unpack it, once the finger shredding plastic had been taken off and the ties had been untied from around the wheels!!! We take our lives into our hands every day!!!

  7. amadea says:

    oh andy, these little pointers are all spot-on! couldn’t agree more! but i still think the absolute worst is throwing/giving these dear toys away to charity or the mouth of the dumpster simply because the kids have “outgrown” them. eek! i dread this day!

    hope you had a great christmas! 🙂

    • andy says:

      I know about the “out-growing dread.” I know when it comes time, I’ll be inheriting Buzz Lightyear when Lucas gets tired of him. No joke. I won’t throw him away.

  8. Elise says:

    My nephew has a puzzle at my house that makes sounds when you put the pieces in. Each little puzzle-piece hole has a light sensor, and for some reason, one of the pieces doesn’t block out the light well enough, I guess, because I hear it go off at random times. Like 11:30 pm or 4:30 am or something ridiculous like that. Always same sound.

    • andy says:

      YES!!!!! WE HAVE A PUZZLE LIKE THAT TOO!!!!!!!!!! It’s actually THE toy I was inspired by when I wrote about being freaked out in the middle of the night. When it malfunctions and goes off randomly, the sounds it makes are… imagine a duck, except its a baby duck, that’s a robot baby duck, now imagine a robot boy strangling that robot baby duck. Awful.

      • Kerry says:

        We had the same puzzle here, too. It was the cow. It sat in our trunk while we got around to getting rid of it (because you have to inflict it on someone else, right? At least then they won’t pay top dollar for the privilege). And then our trunk would moo at us.

        More recently (since we moved into a house with a more compact kitchen), Farmer Tad’s cows and pigs make inappropriate noises whenever I squat down to get something out of the lower cabinet. It’s a comment on my butt…in their faces.

        But the kid’s four, so it’s on the high shelf now, while we make sure he doesn’t miss it.

  9. Kat says:

    Last year about this time, my favorite quote from my kid was uttered as I was trying to get through the Maximum Security Packaging.

    He said, “Mom… I fink you should use some scissors. Or a bomb.”

  10. Wow, this list is pretty dead-on. I just posted something on my blog about the hellish “sound sound sound” aspect of toys, but I neglected to mention the ridiculous packaging that requires a flame-thrower and military training to remove.

    Funny stuff!

  11. Emily says:

    We don’t have a problem with hair trigger activation in my house–we have a problem with toys deciding to go off by themselves in another room when there’s NOBODY within a 50 foot radius. Stinky the Talking Garbage Truck was the worst. That stupid thing would scare the shit out of me, and for some reason it always happened when I was watching a scary movie alone in the dark. The kids didn’t like it anyway. Biggest waste of $50!

  12. Vadim says:

    As Dennis Leary said in his HBO Special:

    Don’t buy the toys that make the noise!

  13. Michaelos says:

    Oh wow, I had almost completely put the horrible memories of being on the receiving end of some of those toys out of my memory.

    For the toys going off randomly in my childhood it was almost always the wiring in the walls, if you could switch the dimmer switch in the wall at just the right light level it would trigger a certain toy to go off and a few it was just a matter of building up a static charge and going anywhere near them.

    • andy says:

      That’s amazing. Though my parents would have hated such a dimmer switch effect, I would have loved that as a kid. It would have made me feel like a friggin’ wizard!

  14. Roxi says:

    You forgot to make one for toys we step on that are small and have sharp edges and make you want to go on a rampage throwing toys away forever. Legos, hot wheels, and jacks would all fit in this category.

  15. With two girls in the house, every toy comes with “accessories”. After a while I get tired and the vacuum gets to pick up anything left out in the open. Except for the Playmobil camping car stuff….love that toy!

    • andy says:

      Ha ha! We all know that crazy rattle crackling of a small action figure’s gun, a lego, magnet stamp or such going on a loud, psycho tornado ride inside the vacuum.

  16. Christopher says:

    There is a special place (trash) for toys with no OFF button. Its not even kind to donate those–they just need to stop makig them that way. It’s one thing to be subjected to the sound sound sound sound, but I want to be able to put the TOY in time out, too.

  17. Niki A says:

    I’m a mean mommy, on toys that can take it, I remove the batteries before giving them to my son. The WORST about noisy toys is when the batteries are low and that rocking horse that used to neigh and winnie now sound like its signalling the apocalypse and is going to kill you in the middle of the night.

  18. Rachel says:

    Memories of babysitting in someone else’s house overnight… walking through the house in the dark… toys with sensors sing as I pass…. smashing head on roof…

  19. RyanH says:

    I hate, hate, hate “toys with noise”. We’ve had a couple of toys that were possessed by demons–they’d go off in the middle of the night for no reason whatsoever. Used to scare the sh*t out of me. At least they were benevolent demons, I suppose.

  20. Andy says:

    But demons nonetheless. It’s the worst when you’re scared AWAKE. Sleep is precious enough without some battery-deficient Tickle-Me Elmo randomly shimmying and giggling at 3am.

  21. Beky says:

    I had a stuffed bear that played Christmas songs when you pressed his ear that would go off during lightning storms.

    • Andy says:

      That’s bad. Really bad if lightning storms are like A THING where you live.

      My friend once had a teddy bear that you could do recordings on and I set it off one night at his house. It was him wailing and moaning that he had diarrhea and it scared the crap out of me. Then I laughed myself to breathlessness.

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