At about 2.30 am I was woken up by a bloodcurdling screech. The sound echoed through my silent house, followed by a faint echo of mechanical scraping.
I heard a chilling cackle.
My heart pounded.
Next came the most frightening sound of all, a sinister alien voice that floated up the staircase, intent on wakening the entire house and creating havoc.
“Oh No You Didn’t!”
Then came the singing.
I grabbed my dressing gown and tried to simultaneously run down the corridor and open the stair gate at lightening speed, whilst desperately attempting to maintain total silence.
Once through the gate, I crept down the dark stairwell into the blackness beyond, until I could find a lightswitch. As light flooded the hallway, I realised that I had forgotten to put on my glasses, and blurry shapes leapt out at me before resolving themselves into the coat rack.
Searching desperately, I finally found the source of the noise.
I reached out, I grabbed that blasted Furby, and I shoved it deep into a pile of washing to muffle the sound. I could still hear it.
Of course, to turn it off you have to pull its tail for at least 10 seconds. That makes it snore. Loudly.
After that, I shoved it back in the washing.
Being movement activated, that set it off again, singing and dancing and shaking its robotic booty like a deranged monkey.
This time I pulled its tail while carefully holding it face first into the washing. Then gently smothering it in piles of washing and coats, I backed carefully away, turned off the lights and snuck back upstairs. Cos the darn little thing is sound activated too.
(Click here to experience this lovely toy for yourself)
Amazingly, no one else heard it. Mr G was flat out, ready for a 5am start at work. The kids were exhausted from an action packed weekend and the grandparents, visiting for the weekend, were clearly exhausted from grandparenting.
Just my automatic senses alerting me to noise then . . .
It amazes me that toy manufacturers make such annoying little toys. Why make something that wakes itself up to shout at you if you ignore it for too long? I mean, 2.30 am!
When Sackgirl was little, her aunty gave her a walker. You know what I mean, you put the baby in, their feet touch the ground and they can push it about the house. There was sellotape over the speaker, because of course these things also play music and have flashing lights. No volume control though, and this thing was loud.
Do babies like being deafened? Or maybe they are so desperate to get away from the racket and pain in their teeny, newly formed ear drums that it forces them to get those chubby baby legs paddling away. Perhaps this is a manufacturers game plan for making their device seem effective.
In return, we gave our niece Gareth, a galloping pink unicorn that, when you pressed its ear, played the same song over and over and over and over and . . .
You get the picture.
“I’m a galloping unicorn,
Rainbow colours and glowing horn,
We’ll have lots of fun today,
Won’t you come with me and play”
Yes, the words are forever scarred into my memory banks.
Gareth didn’t just sing his little ditty though. He did it in a properly mechanical voice, slightly blurred by a scratching that sounded as if the volume had been so high it made the speakers vibrate when it was recorded. And whilst he sang, in the background were poorly executed sound effects of a galloping horse, that made the words just that little bit harder to make out.
Then there was the electric guitar that neither child nor adult could work out how to control, the remote control cars that never got turned off until they went flat, the moonsand that clogged up the hoover and stained the table yellow and green and the scalextric that took an hour to set up and 5 minutes to play with. What about play mobile, with it’s myriad of tiny plastic pieces that are so easy to lose or stand on? Dolls with endless accessories?
Every one of these kids toys looked fun when we first got them. Educational, practical and hours of playtime to be had. Providing our precious baby with a childhood filled with stimulating, colourful and entertaining devices. That’s all we wanted.
I have come to the conclusion that every single child’s toy ever invented is deliberately built with an added irritation. It’s this that ensures that we parents will lose patience with their favoured present and go back to the shop to buy something else.
It’s true – it’s the manufacturers ploy and greatest selling technique.
Wind up the parents – and they will spend more money.
Anyway – right now that Furby is topping my list as most irritating present ever. I can’t stand it’s voice, I hate that it seems to have built in slang and the inability to use basic English and the next time that thing starts shouting that it needs a poop, I’m throwing it out of the window.
So tell me I’m not alone. What is your most hated toy? Go on, I know you have one!