February 1, 2005

Knock, Knock: We're From Defective Yeti, And We're Here To Help


When I came back from Home Depot, this message from The Squirrelly's Dad was affixed to my front door with a large serrated-edge hunting knife:

Hi. This is Matthew Baldwin of defective yeti, come to clear the air about a recent Daddy Types entry.

Last week, in the virtual pages of this website, some comments I made about the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Home were cited, to which Greg added "[this toy] sounds so annoying I'm glad we can't even hope to fit it into our suddenly-too-small New York apartment." I feel, however, that my words were taken out of context -- the
context being, in this case, my blog, where the content is essentially
a miasma of falsehoods and hyperbole gummed together by a series of
misused commas.

For example, about a year ago I said my wife and I "had a baby," when, in fact, we had merely won a goldfish at a street fair.

No -- hah, hah! -- the baby thing was actually true, which is why I am now the proud owner of a large, plastic, $60 electronic talking housefront. But I may have overstated the obnoxo-quotient of said toy for comic effect.

Yes, it's annoying, but describing a battery-powered infant toy as annoying is as redundant as describing a venereal disease as undesirable. The trick to buying infant toys is much the same as the trick to selecting a Democratic candidate for president: you aim to pick the least annoying of those available (and hopefully with more success). By that standard, the Laugh & Learn Whatchimawhosit is actually one of the better purchases we've made. Our twerp loves pushing buttons and opening / closing things, and this enormous hunk of molded polymers affords him plenty of opportunity to do both. Plus, there's a wide enough variety of noises and sounds to keep us from wishing we'd reminded childless.

As long as I'm handing out recommendations, here are our other favorite items:

  • Ocean Wonders Aquarium: Hands-down the greatest gadget we bought, even though the slightly creepy songs it plays sound like the musical accompaniment to a "Order of Dagon" chant out of H. P. Lovecraft.
  • LeapStart Learning Table: This is stationed in the center of the playroom, and our son gravitates towards it whenever he passes.
  • Bright Lights Phone: Okay, honestly, this thing is unnecessarily loud. But! But is has so many buttons and so many songs that, if we hand it to the kid as we lay him on his changing table, it will keep him occupied for the duration of our toil.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, we have the Hug & Learn Baby Tad, a toy so annoying that you could easily imagine The Joker using it to drive a captive Commissioner Gordon insane. Every time I hear it cry "I love you!" I have fantasies about putting it in the kitchen sink and immersing it in sulfuric acid. And do you remember that short story The Monkey's Paw, about the guy who gets three wishes, but unspeakable horror results when he doesn't use them wisely? I think of that story every time I visit the Amazon.com homepage and see that the Hug & Learn Baby Tad is the "most wished for item."

In summary: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Home = good; Hug & Learn Baby Tad = like getting stranded on a desert island with Bill O'Reilly.

Daddy Types regrets any inconvenience this may have caused, and asks all its readers to stop accosting members of the Baldwin family with, frankly, embarassingly low offers to take their less-annoying toys off their hands.

Before someone else does, Daddy Types also points out that it crassly added its Amazon Associates ID to each item mentioned in Matthew's correction/smackdown. This way, whether from my humiliation, or from your ignorantly self-inflicted Tad-buying pain, I will earn a dollar.

Previously: Celebrity Baby Embraces Giant, Super-annoying Toy!


May I still harrass the rest of the Baldwin family? That deadbeat Stephen still owes me money.

If you think the Ocean Wonders Aquarium plays creepy music now, just wait until the batteries start to die!

I really must concur on the Baby Tad thing--but my kid hasn't figured out how to turn it on yet. If yours has, I highly recommend taking out the batteries.

We haven't bought anything new--everything is from this extremely wealthy family's yard sale--we ended up with many expensive and incredibly annoying toys. When we walk through the living room a.k.a. play area a.k.a. study a.k.a. dining room we hear various weird songs and voices...it's like they are coming up out of the floorboard. One! Two! Three!; bizarre electronic renditions of Moonlight Sonata, or My Favorite Things, etc. (Come to think of it why the hell do we live on the East Coast? When I was a kid we were on welfare and had a 3 bedroom house because we lived in the Southwest.)

The other day I was punching some electronic stuffed toy as a joke and she immediately imitated me...like, "Oh! That's what you do to that toy! Hit it!"

And they don't even WORK, these toys. You'd think she'd be so delighted she would be occupied for hours, but she only wants us to play with her. She probably assumes that all inanimate objects speak or play music.

Have you heard the goddamn Fisher-Price Dinosorter? It shouts out instructions on how to play with it in an Okely-dokely-Flanders voice whenever you touch it. Even when the kids are falling asleep and I zamboni up the living-room, just putting the shapes into their sockets makes it guffaw and yell.
I hates you, Dinosorter.

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