Ah December. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”... Re-read that last sentence and pretend I’m singing it to you in Andy William’s voice. (Click that link if you want to get into the holiday spirit… actually it would be awesome if you listened to it in the background while reading this post). I can’t figure out if this song is sweet or some sick joke. I absolutely LOVE to use this song whenever something is going wrong or unplanned during this season. You know; when you’re in public, trying to get things done and your two year old decides to have a complete meltdown in the middle of the store floor. My typical response is to just look at the nearest gawker and sing-song say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” in my most sarcastic tone possible with a fake smile plastered on my face. This usually stops them from staring as they slowly back away in fear that I may snap at any moment.
Crap, even as I write this, I’m realizing I can be a real sarcastic bitch sometimes… even strangers aren’t safe from my wrath.
While all you friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family members are out there shopping this holiday season, I want to help you out a bit. Whether you realize it or not, there are certain gifts that while you may not give two thoughts to, can completely ruin a parent’s life. Between lack of sleep, work, general stress, cabin fever riddled children, we’re already two steps away from volunteering ourselves to be admitted to the local psychiatric ward. There are a few things that you can help us out with this holiday season. While we appreciate everything you generously give our children, there are certain gifts, that if are received, may result in parents purchasing a voodoo doll with many, many pins and your face plastered to it.
NUMBER ONE: A Musical Instrument.
Before purchasing this instrument, ask yourself a few questions. Do I know how to play this instrument? Is this something I can teach this child how to play? Am I willing to keep this instrument at my own house for them to “practice” on? If your answer is not yes to all of these questions, then the answer is undoubtedly NO. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS ITEM.
The number one offender is a kazoo. Let’s be real- is there a real purpose to this “instrument”? Can it even be considered an instrument? I’m telling you, there is no parent on earth who wants to listen to their child play the kazoo one billion times over the course of the day. The same goes with a harmonica and a recorder; both may just be that last straw to lead mommy to pour herself a shot of straight vodka, prior to 5pm. Stay far away from these items.
A legit instrument (in my opinion…sorry recorder lovers), possibly may be a drum set or guitar. We have been on the receiving end of both gifts, but only because my husband is into both instruments and willing to teach my kids how to use them. While it is adorable and sweet to watch my crew get together and “jam”, lets be straight. They’re two and three…. what I am listening to is NOISE. Not music.
I dream of a day when they can all come together and actually play one song together, but for right now, they’re just banging away. Now, let’s set the record straight. I am not against children learning musical instruments at all, I encourage it. I just don’t want to be around while they practice. I have zero musical talent and the only thing I have to contribute to my family’s little band is my vocal talents… which could be equivalent to a cat slowly dying a long and painful death. Do me a favor guys, and practice when I am not home.
NUMBER TWO: A Toy That Does Not Shut Off
I can’t even blame you for this one, because this one is a secret devil toy that does not advertise it’s capability for being obnoxious. There are certain companies that make toys to engage infants with sounds, etc. Once the child looses interest, it waits a certain amount of time and starts up again on its own, in an attempt to engage the child to come back to it and continue playing obnoxious sounds.
Here is an example of such a toy. I have woken up in the middle of the night to this thing going off by itself, startling me. When you are already sleep deprived, a toy that “turns itself on” by itself enrages you to the point that you want to act out this scene from Office Space and literally smash it to pieces at 3am in the morning with a baseball bat.
A word to the wise on these sneaky sucker gifts- make sure there is an OFF BUTTON before purchasing.
NUMBER THREE: Trucks That Make Obnoxious Noises
There is minimal explanation for this toy. Please just read the description that accompanies it. If it advertises lights and sounds- stay away. I don’t need my kid pressing the “machine gun” button 8,000 times in a row just for shits and giggles at 6:30am. Just don’t do it.
NUMBER FOUR: Anything that Amplifies Their Voice
My kids would literally LOVE THIS. Just know that if you purchase this- it’s getting sent to your house. Similar to #1, there’s already enough chaos going on in my house. I don’t need an excuse for my three year old to yell “You’re a Poopy Butt!” in amplified sound. I hear it enough as it is.
NUMBER FIVE: Ridiculous but “Cute” Gifts
A piggy bank that makes a fart sound every time you put change in it is just not cool. Furthermore, I may be reading too much into this, but anything phallic, even if it’s meant to be sweet, stay away from. I don’t want to see my child playing with what looks like a dildo, regardless of what it is.
And last but not least…
NUMBER SIX: “Fun” but Potentially Dangerous Gifts
My sweet mother sent me this text the other day. I could tell she found something and was excited about it. She meant absolutely no harm and thought this was a cool gift.
In am positive that in her head, she envisioned this fun activity:My mind immediately went here: I was cool with the idea, as long as she was willing to write a blank check to cover the ER Bill.
Bottom line? We are in the age of technology- if you are unsure of what to get someone for the holidays, ask the parents for an Am azon wish list. You can’t go wrong there. Money is always good, contributions to college funds, and most importantly, it’s important to remember that the sheer fact that YOU are there spending the holidays with them mean more than anything else. They may not remember that coloring book you got them when they were 5 years old, but they’ll remember you being there to help them open it.
And don’t forget… It’s the most wonderful freakin’ time of the year.