The First Circle: Those vestiges of babyhood, the toys purchased with naïve hope and anticipation before the baby was born. The “$42 for a squeaky toy? Well, it’s cheaper than a dinner out, you know? Let’s get it!” toys. Yeah. Remember those salad days of excitement and cheer? That fucking squeaky giraffe laughs at you from the top of the mountain of shit. Hard.
The Second Circle: We can’t poison the baby! All toys must be wooden, organic, painted with the dyes of pomegranates. And lo, we will never allow any trademarked faces of capitalism to enter our dear snowflake’s frontal lobe.
The Third Circle: MY NAME IS ELMO, WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND. LET’S SING A SONG. LET’S COUNT TO TWENTY. LET’S KEEP TALKING AT A VOLUME LOUDER THAN A ’93 NIRVANA CONCERT AND LET’S MAKE SURE THE BATTERIES EXPLODE JUST ENOUGH TO FUSE THE ON/OFF SWITCH INTO A BROILING MASS OF POISON, THUS RENDERING ME IMPOSSIBLE TO TURN OFF. HEE HEE HEEEEEEEEEE. ELMO LOVES FUN ALMOST AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE SHOWERING WITHOUT INTERRUPTION.
The Fourth Circle: Someone at the preschool said something about fine motor skills, and yeah, we’re into it. Let’s get some of these giant Duplos and marble runs and put everything together using problem-solving and why the fuck won’t anything stay together and why is it always falling apart and why are we always.crying.never.not.crying?
The Fifth Circle: Superheroes, superheroes, oh my god, the fucking superheroes.
The Sixth Circle: The federal government now agrees that your child is old enough to not swallow every colorful piece of plastic she sees. Huzzah! The federal government also refuses to buy you a new vacuum after your Dirt Devil swallows sixteen handfuls of Lego hair.
The Seventh Circle: We all like sunshine. Don’t you like sunshine? Wouldn’t it be cool to make art with chalk, to chase bubbles, to shoot foam rockets at the neighbors’ windows? Yeah? Yeah! NOW GO THE FUCK OUTSIDE. DO NOT BRING THE ROCKET INSIDE. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, PLEASE.
The Eighth Circle: This is the We Should Spend More Time Together circle. The I’m Sorry You Broke Your Foot Jumping From The Geodesic Dome circle. This is the Circle Of Older Children. The circle of We Have So Much Shit What Can Possibly Be Entertaining And Yet Not Take Up More Space? It is the circle of cooking toys. Doesn’t it sound like fun to chop tomatoes for dinner? Of course it does! Doesn’t it sound like fun to use this designed-for-small-hands peeler to prep some potatoes? Awesome! It is the circle of desperate parents everywhere. It is the circle of For The Love Of God, Someone Else Learn How To Cook Dinner, Please, Can’t I Just Get Thirty Minutes On The Treadmill *quiet weeping*.
The Ninth Circle: Nothing costs less than $200. Nothing. Except for accessories. Then you’re like, “Eh, $42 for a case/charger/bag? I mean, I guess we could use that to go out for dinner, but it’ll only get us a couple of hours of babysitting. By the time we pay for parking and cocktails and dinner…. Shoot, $200 is a BARGAIN.”