Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Toys

I find in the weeks following Christmas that I am spending a lot of time playing with Christmas toys. I don't mean that I am putting together the toys Sweetpea got for Christmas, (though that's part of it, too) or even "playing" with the "toys" (e.g. wooden teapot and teacup puzzle) I got for Christmas. No, what I mean is we've had this phenomenon happening the last few weeks that seems to always result in more involvement from me than from Sweetpea by the time it's all said and done. The scenario usually goes something like this:

"Mom, can I play with (insert new toy/craft here) tonight/today/tomorrow?"
"Well, I don't know, honey, I still have to put it together and I'm not sure how it works." "Well, will you read the destructions (i.e. instructions) then?" "Yes, just give me a few minutes to finish what I'm doing." Thirty seconds later: "Mom, are you ready to read the destructions yet?" "No, dear, I haven't finished what I'm doing. Please give me a few minutes." Fifteen seconds later: "Mom, I'm still waiting for you to read the destructions so I can play with my (insert new toy/craft here)." "Sweetpea, I'm aware that you are still waiting, it hasn't even been a whole minute yet. Let me finish what I'm doing, please." Forty-five seconds later: "Mooooooommmmm, are you dooooooooonnnnnnnneee yeeeeetttt?" "Oh for crying out loud! If I get it put together and tell you how it works, will you leave me ALONE?!?" "Yes, Mama." So, I drop what I'm doing - because, you know, making dinner so we can eat before midnight or moving a wet load of laundry that's been sitting in the washer to the dryer so it doesn't sour, or cleaning up a flood in the laundry room cannot possibly be more important than putting together Sweetpea's toys - to put the toy together or get out all the pieces of the craft and tell her how it works, or what she needs to do to make the craft. The time it takes to complete this depends on the toy/craft. If it's a stupid Polly Pocket something or other, you can bank on the fact that while the pieces may fit together, they don't stay together, and I will be there at least 10 years forty-five minutes trying to make the damn thing work. If it's a craft, I can usually count on the fact that explaining it to Sweetpea one time will simply not do. It's not that she can't/doesn't understand. It's that she usually hears step 1 and doesn't pay attention to steps 2 - 105. On top of that, if she doesn't like how they tell her to do step 1, she'll do it the way she thinks it should be done. Anyone who has ever followed any directions done a craft should be able to see the difficulty with such an attitude. After I'm relatively sure she probably understands, I go to finally try and finish whatever task I left undone to silence my demanding child. After about two minutes of working on my task, I will hear the following: "Mooooooommmmm! This isn't working right/I can't do this! Can you come help me?" "Sweetpea, you are old enough to be able to figure that out on your own. Why can't you do it yourself?" "This is booorrring! I can't do it." Side note: Sweetpea only kind of understands the meaning of boring. While she seems to understand the definition is "not fun, or uninteresting", she uses boring when she does not want to do something, or something is frustrating her. "It is not boring, you're just not trying very hard. Try again." Ten seconds later: "I still can't do it! Will you help me?" "*sigh* You can too do it. You just don't want to. Why did I put this together/get this out for you? Try again." Five seconds later:
*sound of crashing materials/toy pieces having been thrown across the table/room* "I'm no good at this!" Picture pouty lower lip and whiny 5-year-old voice. "Ok, that's enough. If it's that big a problem, maybe we'd better just take it back to the store." "NOOOOO! Maybe we could just do it together?" Translation: mommy, this is not turning out perfectly/the way I want it. Please do it for me. "*double sigh* Fine." So I once again drop whatever task I am currently (still) up to my armpits in, so my demanding child will stop whining. I go to try to help her do whatever it is she's trying to do. This will work for a little while, since I will once again show her how to do it correctly, (or put the stupid Polly Pockets something back together again) and still make her do it herself. This will have the effect of keeping Sweetpea occupied for about 15 minutes, maybe half an hour - if I'm lucky. Then what happens, you ask? Then she does get bored with what she's doing, and either stops trying to do it their way (i.e. the right way) and does it her own way, or she stops doing it at all. Which then leaves me to fix what she's done, or to do it by myself. Some examples? She got Melty Beads in her stocking this year. Do you remember Melty Beads? I loved these things as a kid. These are beads that you set on a peg board in a patterns to make a shape, then put a piece of waxed paper over them and iron the paper. The beads "melt" together and stick, permanently forming the shape. I'm not really sure what you're supposed to do with them after that. They may have some of the same uses as Pixos. Anyway, Sweetpea got about 3/4 of the way through the first shape, and accidentally knocked some of the beads off the peg board. Then came the "I can't do this" and so on. She and I fixed the upset beads and finished the shape together. I asked her if she wanted to do another, and she said she did. So, I carefully carried the peg board upstairs and set it down on the ironing board, and turned on the iron to heat up - thinking we could put the second shape together and I could iron them both at once. When I got back down stairs, Sweetpea had the second package open, and had emptied the bead packet into our bead bowl. But as soon as I sat down, she didn't want to do it anymore. There was something she was more interested in on t.v. And, of course, she didn't want to clean up the mess, either. So I ended up putting together the second shape myself. That's right. I put together the Melty Beads without my daughter. And then ironed them both, which took 10 times longer than it should have, since I couldn't seem to get them to melt evenly, regardless of the fact that I WAS using even pressure as I ironed, as directed... Next, she received do-it-yourself suncatchers from her Aunt for Christmas. These are made by Elmer's (that's right, as in glue.) The suncatchers themselves are already made. You just have to use the paint pens provided, and fill in the colors. When the paint dries, it dries with a look of stained glass, so the sun can shine through. The difficulty with these is that there are some tight corners that the pens don't exactly fit into, and squeezing the pens too tightly results in the overflow of paint over the black dividing lines that make the design of the suncatchers. With the first overflow I heard, "I'm just no good at this." The result? Instead of getting to paint my own suncatcher, as was originally Sweetpea's plan, I got to go behind her and "fix" all of the overflows on her suncatchers. I was actually still doing this long after Sweetpea had gone to bed. And guess what? The suncatchers are still not finished. And I don't think you even want me to get started on the stupid Polly Pocket race track that I spent nearly a million years 2 hours trying to get put together, only to find that it falls apart the minute you try to race a car on it. Needless to say, Polly Pocket playsets that require assembly have now joined Bratz in permanent banishment from our house. Let me tell you how very much I'm eagerly anticipating getting out the Candy Jewelry Maker. So far the attempts to start that little project have been successfully thwarted, but I feel my time is quickly running out...

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