It’s been nearly three weeks since Jack and Adam’s fifth and first birthdays respectively and it still looks like FAO Schwartz wiped its ass with the boy’s playroom; and not the fun section of FAO Schwartz where Tom Hanks slide steps versions of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks with Robert Loggia on an oversized floor keyboard reigniting the youthful exuberance and sense of childlike wonder in the hearts of curmudgeon CEO’s everywhere. For that reason, despite a painful separation process that has required some counseling for Jack and even a tingling in his hands that has been since diagnosed as Phantom Toy Syndrome, we thinned the herd by exiling its weakest, slowest and most politically volatile members to the Island of Misfit Toys.
Our Island of Misfit Toys is actually just our attic which, in comparison to the boy’s toy room, looks like Katharine McPhee puked in a Toys for Tots collection barrel. The jettisoned playthings that inhabit our poorly insulated atoll of rejection were played with at least once in their lives though, not like the original ignominious self-loathing commune of castoffs from Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer infamy.
But do you know what I think? I think kids would play with a Charlie in the Box, what they won’t play with is a moping sad sack of a crank toy with a voice like Rip Taylor going through puberty. And who was the elf on acid who would put square wheels on a train, and to that end why would they have square wheels lying around Santa’s workshop in the first place? That’s just dumb. And the cowboy on an ostrich? First, he’s clearly riding an Emu as Emus have three toes whereas ostriches have two. Second, I’m near certain that this toy would be as big as Vegemite sandwiches in the land down under. Third, is Toys R’ Us called Toys R’ Aus in Australia? It should be and they should sell Cowboys on Emus. Next, a bird that swims, huh? It’s called a penguin. Morgan Freeman called dipshit, you’re due back on the set. A squirt gun that shoots jelly? Really? What, like an endless supply of jelly? I’m to assume then that the gun comes pre-loaded with jelly then and you’re telling me every kid in America wouldn’t love to have a jelly gun at the breakfast table? Just pair it with Wonder Bread and a peanut butter slingshot, problem solved.
As both Jack and Adam received so many (so damn many) thoughtful gifts of gold, frankincense, Mir and Spiderman paraphernalia I wanted to beat the drum of gratitude for everyone’s generosity and to reveal the top three games and toys we’ve been playing and playing with since their parties in early October pa rum pum pum pum.
3. The Floor Buffer– This game was originated and popularized with Jack when he was two years old, but has recently experienced a bit of a resurgence with Adam. Jack or Adam will lie down on the kitchen linoleum on their backs and I’ll bend down over them and place my right hand on the inside of their right knee. I’ll then begin to pinwheel them in a clockwise motion until they are spinning at a rate of 78 RPMs. If they’re wearing polyester, I pre-treat the floor with Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning solution and if you listen closely you can sometimes hear The Glenn Miller Orchestra’s rendition of Chattanooga Choo Choo.
2. Drink Coaster Roulette – This one is primarily a game I play with Adam during which he’ll lie on the living room carpet while I drop rubber drink coasters on him. Actually, I drop them and catch them a split second before they land on his face. Like its adult counterpart Russian Roulette, one out of every six will be a live bullet/coaster and connect with its target. On these loaded chamber drops I shift my hand slightly so that it lands with a dull thwap on his stomach which he finds both hysterical and useful for avoiding condensation circles on his footy pajamas.
1. Time Machine – We have in our playroom the cardboard box that our television came in. It’s a heavy-duty corrugated cardboard box with dimensions adequate for comfortably holding a 25 inch TV or 60 lbs of time traveling children. The boys will run into the playroom and Jack will yell, “Quick Adam. Get in the Time Machine!” The box will be lying on it’s side so after Jack slides into it head first and Adam bangs his forehead on the top edge and falls over in a state of semi-consciousness, I fold the four flaps shut, tape them down and send the box UPS Ground Delivery to Albuquerque. What can Brown do for me? It can ship my damn kids to New Mexico so Kathleen and I can finally get some sleep.
Just kidding valued employees of Child Protective Services, I actually just fold the flaps shut and spin the box around a few times, face it away from the door, then run into another room and hide. The boys wait a few seconds then burst from the Time Machine and try to find me. Originally, the game involved the boys being transported to different lands and times populated by toys and action figure they interacted with and learned from, but now it’s dissolved into an unnecessarily elaborate game of Hide and Seek.
So since most of their birthday presents are still in their original packaging I wanted to give everyone some accurate gift suggestions in case you are planning to Christmas shop for Jack and Adam this year. High on their wish list right now are Spic and Span, floor buffer pads, beverage napkins, packaging material, Styrofoam peanuts, a flux capacitor, a peanut butter slingshot and finally a Cowboy on an Emu.
I hear they’re big in Australia.
The Polyester Suit Tissue Paper Cape Combo – Great for Getting into Corners