Great article. But if you want to know the full-bodied, throat-grabbing, oxygen-stealing experience of useless toy propagation, you should try having triplets.
Yeah, three of the little buggers, eleven years old now and all boys, luckily. Even my wife agrees that teenage girl triplets might have been cause to slip away and join the French Foreign Legion.
With the arrival of “the guys” we were inundated with well meaning gifts from friends and relatives. Rattles and stuffed animals appeared by the carload. I can’t recall ever buying anything like that myself. My wife and I were too busy changing diapers and making formula to indulge in the gift-giving urge that seems to overcome friends and family of multiple children (by multiple, I mean triplets or higher, twins, as real multiple parents know, don’t count).
I have a theory that the United States armed forces would do well to recruit the parents of multiples to run the quartermaster corps of the various military branches. Keeping after multiples brings out innate organizational skills in a person, not to mention a keen development of the herding instinct.
When it came to toys, my wife and I have always been in perfect agreement. As soon as we received that first set of three “ever fun and educational sound effect” baby toys, we knew that we had a mission. With a vision of a house full of chatting, talking and squeaking junk to goad us on, we absolutely forbid anyone, grandparents included, to give any audio-active toy to the boys. Being a meek person myself, I left the enforcement of our rule to my better half, who could give glaring lessons to Howard Dean. Word quickly spread among friends and family: talking toys for the triplets are taboo.
And the boys have not suffered from our decision. To the contrary, my wife and I are game people. The boys have grown up in a house filled with board games such as Monopoly, chess and Scrabble, and plenty of card games, especially Pinochle. We also let them play video games, making sure that the games are age appropriate and with the simple rule that the game must be for multiple players, or if for a single controller, that everyone must have a turn. That turns the video console into a social experience rather than a machine for creating brainwashed solitary preteen zombies.
I personally consider it a holy duty to teach the boys how to play poker and pool, so that they can have a meaningful college experience when they get older (I used to add pinball to that list of “must learn games for college” but I’m afraid that bar room pinball machines have gone the way of the dinosaur).p>I heartily agree with Mr. Henry’s strategy for disposing of useless toys. He has taken a step that most parents shy away from. Keep up the good work, and remember, a good game of eight ball will serve your kid much better than an extra class of postmodern English Literature. br> —
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?