Embracing the plastic

No matter how non-judgmental you fancy you are, there was probably at least one occasion, pre-kids, that you went round to the house of a breeder friend and thought the following:

1)    Fucking hell, that looks like hard work.

2)    If/when I become a parent, I will never let all that Fireman Sam/Disney Princess crap through my door. What are they thinking, giving houseroom to that tat? My poor eyes are bleeding. Don’t they know it’s landfill waiting to happen? It’s like they don’t even care about working conditions in China. All I can say is that if/when I have children, they will be allowed a Sophie giraffe, a Melissa & Doug sushi set and one of those ride-on wooden ladybird things. And that’s it. You won’t see my parquet eclipsed by the contents of the Argos catalogue. No, thank you.

ladybird

A nice, tasteful toy that your children will never play with. 

Then you have children and come across nice brands like Djeco and Le Toy Van, and pick up their products on the hunt for a price, and think, ‘How fucking much? What, so not only am I expected to spend my hard-earned on breast pads and bath thermometers, I’m now supposed to drop 28 quid on some stupid wooden bus?’

Meanwhile, your friends act like they’re doing you a major favour by passing their own tat down to you, thereby quashing your no-plastic policy but making you look like a dick if you say as much. You’ll consider dumping it all on the nearest charity shop, but some small kernel of your sorry, pretentious soul will feel guilty for being a no-fun, dates-are-the-same-as-toffees-honestly kind of parent.

Or, more likely, your kid will catch sight of that broken Buzz Lightyear and will love it 17,000 times more than he ever liked your £28 wooden bus, which by this point has been smashed into pieces that somehow never stick together again, even though the Superglue won’t come off your fingers.

But then, surprisingly quickly, you get used to the plastic. And somehow the Peppa Pig My First Sit-and-Ride, in its weatherbeaten shade of Pepto-Bismol, doesn’t jar as much as it did when first you allowed it into the garden. And now it’s here, the Ikea tent and pop-up tunnel might as well join it. And what harm the kiddie skittles set, or the bucket and spade?

Because, suddenly, everything you hated about plastic (its indestructability, that it’s made so cheaply) becomes exactly what you love about it. And that plastic helicopter – the one with the flashing lights and whirring propellers – might be annoying, but it keeps him busy in the way that the tasteful-looking farmyard scenario never does. And, frankly, if it gives you five minutes to blow-dry your hair, it can stay.

Soon, when child-free friends come round, you’ll spot that flicker of surprise as they clock the Postman Pat van with the missing door, or the Barbie & Me Glamtastic Hair Style Book and Salon Playset. And you’ll want to make some sort of apology, or at least acknowledge that you know it’s tacky and vile, and ecologically unsound to boot. But, by that stage, you really can’t be fucking bothered.

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