Dear Toddler Toy Makers,
I don’t know if you are aware of this, but you are the topic of many of my thoughts throughout the day.
I spend time both singing your praises, and cursing your very existence. The duality of man, am I right?
I love you for the blessed reprieve that you give me in those times when my daughter sits at her tree-top jungle station, a gorilla in one hand and a turtle in the other, just quietly playing by herself, giving this tired mom a chance to scroll through Facebook and see all the cool shit that I’m not doing.
I curse you, and curse you hard, when she is splashing around in the tub. I rue your very existence those times that she picks up one of her cute plastic squeeze toys and shoots a steady stream of black moldy water directly onto her naked belly.* WTF, what the actual frak?
So I have decided to make a proclamation — a list of 10 commandments for toddler toys, if you will. I’m coming down from high atop the water table, and have my Magna Doodle and Etch A Sketch loaded with my top 10 list of do’s and don’ts for toddler toys.
1. You shall not build a toy that does not come completely apart for cleaning purposes.
I do not want to have to break out the baby bottle brush to reach parts of the toy that somehow my daughter was able to lodge a wet cracker into.
2. You shall not overcomplicate things.
Better than being able to take the toy completely apart, how about you just make the toy all one piece? That means no seams, no holes, and no cursing at the sink as I try and use my fingernail to scrape slime off of a ridge inside a tugboat.
3. You shall not allow any water in, without a way to get all water out.
That’s how you get mold, and that’s how toys get disgustedly thrown away as my daughter watches in horror from the tub.
4. You shall remember that things that get wet, grow mold.
Water books are super cute in theory, but not in function. If it’s getting wet, then there should be no textured areas on it where mold and slime can hide.
5. Remember the parents don’t always have all the answers, or all of the tools.
If I have to unscrew something for a toy and the screws are not a standard size, then the toy should come with a screwdriver.
6. Honor the father and the mother.
If the toddler can work it, then we should be able to as well. Don’t overcomplicate things. I don’t need a 2-year-old making me feel like an idiot because I can’t figure out how to work the toy. I do a good enough job of making myself feel like an idiot all on my own, thank you very much.
7. You shall not make toys that make a parent want to commit murder.
Noise, how about the toys just don’t make any? And for the love of god, if it’s going to make noise, can it please not be one that is high pitch and repetitious (what I wouldn’t give for no more sirens)?
8. You shall not put cloth where it cannot be removed for cleaning purposes.
If it’s covered in cloth (like those super cute couches that unfold into a bed), I should be able to remove the cloth and wash it (like those super cute couches that unfold into a bed). Also, that cloth should be made to survive both the washer and the dryer (Toddler Clothing Designers, I’m coming for you next).
9. You shall not power toys with those ridiculous watch batteries.
They are tiny, I never have them on hand to replace them when they die, and I am pretty sure they are the most dangerous thing ever.
10. You shall not make something for a toddler that costs as much as a car payment.
My toddler is here to do two things: eat crunchies and break shit, and she’s all out of crunchies. The last thing I am doing is spending hundreds of dollars on a toy for her, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.
But in all seriousness, thank you Toddler Toy Makers. Thank you from the bottom of my tired heart — even if half of the time my daughter’s toys sit on the floor, untouched, while she instead runs around waving a ribbon at a half dozen rolls of paper towel that she pulled out of the closest and stacked like a tower.
*Life Pro Tip: If you put a dab of glue on the holes of those squeezable bath toys, they no longer turn stagnant water into the black sludge of death. Not that I ever actually do that, because it’s surprisingly easier to huff and puff and throw my hands up in disgust at them instead.