I don’t want to come across as the fun police, but I’ve got to a point in my parenting life that I can no longer tolerate some of the activities my kids love. I want my kids to have fun and enjoy themselves, but not at the expense of everything turning to crap the moment these items enter the house. Which is why I’ve called time on them. From now on, all of the below are banned!
I remember being a new parent and thinking how magical it was to hand over a balloon to my firstborn, watching him gaze at it in wonder. Those people who walk around with balloons on sticks were always welcome to hand one over to my kid. He would hold it proudly, making my shopping trip a lot easier to get through while he was occupied with it. But now? I’m finished with balloons. With four kids, these things cause nothing but havoc in my house. Arguments about the colour, tears over a premature balloon pop, or noisy tantrums over the one that floated away in the garden became way too frequent scenes for me.
2. Kinder Surprise
I don’t know why I keep giving into my twins and getting them a Kinder Surprise while we’re out and about. They seem to make my life easier when we’re in the supermarket, but the minute my boys unwrap them, all hell breaks loose. The toys inside always disappoint them: either they’ve already got it, or they fight over who got what. And they don’t even eat the chocolate, which I usually find squashed into the carpet later that day. Meanwhile, I can never seem to get rid of the little yellow containers the toys come in. No matter how often I throw them out, they always seem to reappear. You’re on the blacklist Kinder.
What’s the appeal of this stuff? How much joy are we meant to get from rolling it into sausage shapes, and how the hell does anyone stop the colours from getting mixed into each other? Mine are permanently squished into one big rainbow mess. My kids spend about two minutes playing with it, and then I spend about a week trying to scrape it off the toys they decided to decorate – and out of the carpet. I don’t care how good this stuff is meant to be for sensory play, it’s banned.
Seriously, what are these toys about? They don’t make sense to me. What’s with all the impossibly small accessories and why are they supplying us with choking hazards? Sorry, I just don’t get it, I’m not into it, and it’s always under my feet, whatever the hell it is.
5. Superhero merchandise
Okay, I’m not a hundred percent against the superhero merch. There’s something about Batman and Captain America that’s a little fun for me. After all, we’re talking fit, heroic men with incredibly – ahem- well-fitting costumes. I can get my head around all the action figurines we have. But – and I blame K-mart for this – somewhere along the way, we have amassed hundreds of superhero t-shirts, which my twin boys insist on wearing every single day and night. This is my own fault really. I can’t help myself. They’re cheap and cheerful, and they make my boys happy but I’m about to start culling those t-shirts. The figurines? They can stick around for a while I guess.
I’m sorry. I’m just not a painting kind of mum. I know the joy kids get from expressing themselves through paint and how important it is to let go of the mess and just enjoy the process. I get all that. But my kids don’t see the paint and paper as an opportunity for creating art, they see it as chance for a wild paint party while mum pops to the loo. Man, that took a long time to clean up. No, I gave up on painting at home a long time ago. These days I relish in the artwork they bring home from daycare and school, where it’s someone else’s job to clean up.