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August 10, 2008

Teeny Tiny Torture

J0438902 I have three girls so maybe you all-boy moms can shed some light on a little something I'm wondering about: how big are your boys' toys? As I recall, when my nephews switch from playing kill-the-guy on their complex video game system to playing kill-the-guy-who-shares-my-bedroom, they use large implements such as light sabers, Incredible Hulk hands, nerf rocket-launchers, etc. When they were younger, there were blocks and balls and remote control cars. The playroom in my sister's house has large baskets and big plastic bins to hold all of these materials, as well as a t.v. much bigger than ours so the boys can keep track of their cars, warriors, and athletes in their virtual world.

Switch over to my playroom. I have a few big bins to hold our wooden building blocks, divalicious dress-up clothes and the menagerie of stuffed animals. Then there are the medium sized baskets holding the Groovy Girls and the inappropriately proportioned plastic dolls whose names I don't even want to dignify with a link, and finally, the intricate network of baskets, bins and shelves holding the plethora of toys that range in size from merely small to microscopic: Polly Pockets, tiny ponies, Littlest Pets that someone decided weren't little enough so the company had to create even more minute versions that your child is guaranteed to lose within 24 hrs. of opening the package.

Who is the evil genius who decided that little girls like to play with little things? Did he (and you know it had to be a "he") cross over into the dark side of kiddie marketing from the anthropology department of some university, armed with the knowledge that women are not only nurturers but gatherers? After all, if your child is playing with the 10 inch tall plastic doll that looks like a hooker she must realize on some level that there's only so much space available in the playroom to accommodate the little hooker, her friends the pole dancers, and their wardrobe of platform shoes and leopard-print coats. However, if she plays with a tiny plastic hamster whose disturbingly bulging eyes suggest a serious thyroid problem, some primitive part of her brain begins to panic that there simply aren't enough of these precious objects to last through the winter.

And therein lies the crux of the problem for me.

Because of the addictive nature of the gathering instinct my girls accumulate vast troves of these ridiculously small toys, and as they increase in number they decrease in value. Where is the wee turtle that sits next to the diminutive poodle in the mini ferris wheel? Oh well, can't play with that any more. Where are Polly's microscopic shoes and her miniature dresses? Hm, suddenly having her put on a click-and-change fashion show isn't quite as appealing. I suppose my contribution to the attrition of the beloved tiny toys is the savage joy I feel in "accidentally" vacuuming them up, or the disorder into which I inadvertently throw their little tableaux when I put them away in the ongoing battle against playroom (and bedroom, and living room) chaos.

Maybe I am just paranoid in seeing a deep-seeded conspiracy to turn my precious little girls into chronic consumers who will one day progress from wanting to buy more and more little plastic pets to wanting to buy more and more Manolo Blahniks or Prada handbags. Well, I've got to go, got to get back to sorting microscopic pets and such so I can move on to cleaning and organizing my closet full of shoes.

Original New Jersey Moms Blog Post


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