Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posted: September 23rd, 2009
Money can’t buy me fun

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I tripped over a pair of tiny roller skates yesterday and was reminded of how much money parents waste in an effort to make their kids happy.

These weren’t my daughters skates — I’m OK with those, they provide exercise, afterall. No, these were little plastic “skates” that snapped onto a pair of little bitty sneakers that fit one of my daughter’s stuffed animals.

Skates…for a stuffed rabbit… a very expensive Build-A-Bear stuffed rabbit (dressed in a pink outfit that matches her skates) that has not moved from the rocking chair I set it in the day after it was “built.”

Another wasted $50.

In my defense, it wasn’t my $50. They spent gift cards they had received for their birthday, but…I’ve plunked down good money at Build-A-Bear before (back when they first opened and I had no idea how much money you could rack up in a 1/2 hour).

Those animals, too, are somewhere at the bottom of the stuffed animal mountains in my daughters’ rooms, forgotten shortly after releasing them from the cardboard boxes they carried them home in.

They do play with their stuffed animals, but they cherish the dollar-store ones as much as they do the $50 ones. To my daughters, all stuffed animals are created equal. (I take a little pride in that).

Build-a-Bear animals are just one in a long list of toys I wish I’d never wasted money on.

* Bendaroos. Sticky and not nearly as cool as they look on TV. Plus, if your kid leaves the bag open (or leaves them laying all over the floor, like mine does), they dry out and are useless.

* Moon sand. You think Play-Doh is a mess? It doesn’t hold a candle to the mess-factor of Moon Sand. They can send this stuff right back into orbit, as far as I’m concerned. It’s been labeled an “outdoor only” toy in our house, and I keep it on the top shelf in the coat closet (don’t tell the girls) — out of site, out of mind.

* Pixos. These little tiny balls are easily scattered all over the floor, and, if you’re a little O.C.D., like me, you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to keep the colors sorted. You use the pixos to make little people an animals and what-not that are, basically, little balls stuck together…I end up burying their “creations” in the bottom of the garbage can…there’s no practical use for them.

* Little laptops. Kiddie laptops are a complete waste of money. I know, I bought three and all three were used for a few days and quickly abandoned in favor of PBSkids.org on the the big, color computer screen.

* Fisher-Price digital camera. I expected poor quality, but the photos these cameras take aren’t even worth printing out. It’s bascially an expensive play toy that makes fun camera noises.

* Any baby toy that lights up, sings, flashes or otherwise claims to be “educational.” You know what the best educational toys for babies are? Blocks, stacking cups, foam bathtub letters — anything that can be used in more than one way (in the case of the stacking cups, to stack, to pour, to throw at the dog, etc.). Refrain from purchasing any sort of electronic “educational” toy for a baby or toddler — it’s completely lost on them, they’ll be happiest with the box it came in.

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