Friday, December 15, 2006

What To Do About Baby

I have a favorite toy store.

No. Not those kinds of toys.

These are real toys. You know, the kind my kids like.

This toy store is small and privately owned. You will never find Spider-Man, Barbie or Elmo in this store. No video games. No DVDs. No obnoxious battery-operated toys designed to suck your child's brain dry of any imagination.

These are quality, inspiring toys. The kind that make you want to be a kid again.

So, when I come up emtpy handed on Christmas gift ideas for Baby, I head over there to see if any of their very helpful, very knowledgable staff can help me out.

The minute we hit the door the kids scatter, each going to their favorite section. Brother heading to the pirates and knights while Sister skips off to the fluffy, pink side of the store. I follow Baby to see what tickles her fancy.

She zeros in on an electronic keyboard, complete with tiny little seat and microphone stand. She's played with it before, but I'll be honest. It's not my favorite toy in the store. It doesn't even look like it belongs. It looks as if a stiff 2-mile-an-hour wind could smash it to a million little red and blue plastic pieces. I've never given it a second thought.

But the Christmas spirit is upon me and I glance at the price tag. I mean, can you put price on a little girl's happiness?

Apparently you can. To the tune of $68.95.

Seventy dollars for that????!!!

I try to steer Baby toward the cute jungle bongos or jingle bell shakers. She is momentarily distracted when I hear a snooty voice in a British accent say, "Where have you gone? Let's play mue-sick!"

It's the keyboard. Of course, for seventy bucks you get the built in babysitter feature. Perhaps it reaches out and drags your child back if they don't respond within a certain amount of time.

We don't stand around and wait to find out.

An employee catches up with us around the adorable out-of-my-price-range kitchen and offers help.

I pounce on her.

"What am I going to give her for Christmas?!" I ask, shoving my wiggling, ornery little critter at her for emphasis.

"How old is she?"

"She just turned two."

"How about a baby doll?"

"My parents already got her one along with all the cute accessories."

"What about a chalkboard easle?"

"We have one."

"A dollhouse?"

"Got it."

She thinks for a moment and then shows me to the arts and crafts department. She then hands me a tissue paper craft kit. This kit comes with many different colors of tissue, which are to be crumpled into little balls and then glued to little shapes of pre-cut cardboard.

Two year olds, tissue paper and glue. Hmmmmmm...


"Well, what does she like to do?" the saleslady asks.

"Uh, let's see. Draw on the walls, remove all the credit cards from my wallet, watch endless amounts of Dora the Explorer, pull her sister's hair, pound the computer keyboard and run with scissors. Hey! Got any scissors?"

I think I exasperated the nice saleslady, because she disappeared.

And I am still no closer to a gift.

Ideas? Anyone?


Lucy said...

One thing that my daughter got last year for Christmas when she was two (and just turned two at that) was a tea set. Of course, it was porcelein, so it's chipped and such. But she loves it! She still plays with it. We have tea parties often because she loves green tea. Who knew? In fact, I'm getting her a new one from IKEA for Christmas. Theirs is still porcelein, but there are a few more pieces: four cups, four saucers, four plates and a teapot and creamer. I saw a tin one at a store similar to the one you describe, but it was significantly more expensive. But I'm talking maybe $35. The IKEA one is $8.

Actually, I just did a quick search on Amazon and there are a couple of really cute tin ones that are $15 and $20 plus shipping. You might find more on ebay. Hmmmm.

Another thing my daughter has loved are dress-up clothes. Last year my mom went after Halloween and bought tons of costumes for my kids on clearance. Ladybug's favorite was, well, her ladybug costume. She wore it everywhere! She's just turned three now and still dresses up all the time. She takes her naps in Wonderwoman style.

One more. :) Ladybug loves babies. She has more baby dolls than she knows what to do with and they are all precious to her. She has a dolly crib, highchair and stroller that she absolutely loves. She's into all things that are Disney princess, so I believe that's the theme. But she puts one particular baby (a porcelein doll- you know, the ones with hair and pretty dresses and *very* breakable heads - from Goodwill) in the crib every night and kneels down by it to say prayers. So cute!

Hope these ideas help! It can be really hard when you're trying to limit toys and your kids already have everything they could need. It's an ongoing struggle for me. :)

Anonymous said...

As far as keyboards go, they have some really neat ones that light up - large enough for her to enjoy - no seat or stand - but it does have a microphone. At Wal-Mart $10. They also have some other neat instruments that are toddler-friendly, but look more like real instruments. Just a thought... a couple of those and you could play BAND at your house like we do often at ours. :) Rylee

Anne J said...

Maybe you could paint the back of her bedroom door with that chalkboard paint! Then she could draw to her heart's content! Then make a fun bucket full of fun chalks in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and a fun eraser!

Another option might be a Leap-Pad or something similar. Then, she could play and read Dora books and at the same time, they are educational!

One other option for stockings...a disposable camera creates lots of fun for all kids, and they are pretty inexpensive these days. I think you can find them for $5 or less. Then they can capture important memories throughout the day, and after they are developed, you can use the photos for a fun craft like making scrapbooks, thank-you cards, or tree ornaments for next year!

Anonymous said...

This year my 2yr old is getting clothes. He already has more toys than he'll ever need lol.

But Momma said...

Crayola Color Wonder Markers. I have spent a week trolling the house with my big pink eraser undoing the damage that Ace has done with the various writing instruments his brothers leave lying around.

They also have new washable window markers, I don't know if I'm that brave, but I do have a storm door that's usually covered with toddler spit and grim. Markers might be a nice alternative. :)

rocks in my dryer said...

You must send me the details about this toystore...

Allison said...

My daughter is almost two and we did the keyboard...from toysrus. It's by little tykes, comes with a stand and sit and mic. For the great price of $15 (0n sales) and $20 (full price). It didn't get the best reviews...but for the price and her age I think it'll be okay...I also did the aqua doodle. Easy clean up and it's not like that water stick can get on my walls or those little outfits.

I love the tea set idea. I've even seen a dora set...since she loves her sooo much....maybe try that route

jjofar said...

i have boys, 5 & 2, but the color wonder paint set ROCKS! for both of them. their birthdays are close and at their party they got a set...sort of looks like a set of water colors, but comes with a book to paint and they use their fingers. the colors just appear out of nowhere. it is so neat and hours of fun!!

For a Season said...

We did the super inexpensive keyboard from Walmart. It survived 2 toddler boys and my girl. Not bad, for 10 bucks! It was always a favorite.

My favorite gifts are clutterless. Zoo passes, Movie passes, Build a Bear, etc...

Other favorites for my daughter were dress up clothes and play jewelry or bath tub finger paints.