Back pre-Leah, I took care of my niece Dottie one day when my sister’s day care fell through. Lucas took her to Woodbridge and after my dentist appointment, I took Dottie to Wegman’s for her first trip to the big store. While I was there, I decided to buy her a toy to commemorate our day together and found a toy frog. I love frogs, so I thought this would be just the thing and bought it.
We got home and I pulled out the tag that kept the batteries from running down and the frog immediately started ribbiting. It has a deep, throaty croak, and if you so much as look at the thing, it ribbits. Dottie didn’t seem to know what to do with it, so we put it to the side.
It turns out Leah loves this frog. She will only play with it in her high chair at meal times, and so Michael and I have spent many, many dinners hearing “RIBBIT! RIBBIT!” as Leah merrily bangs the thing on the tray, throws it on the floor, chomps on its legs, you get the picture.
But the other day, she got into applesauce and that frog was covered in applesauce. It was disgusting. I had no choice really than to put it in the sink and wash it up. (It’s hard plastic with a little speaker in the back of the head.) After it dried, I gave it back to her, and she starts abusing it in her normal fashion, only this time, no RIBBIT! FREEDOM! I was so excited. She didn’t seem to mind that it wasn’t croaking, she just wanted to chew on it and bash the hell out of it. This seemed to be a win-win.
Two nights later, it’s about 3:00am, and I hear “RIBBIT! RIBBIT! RIBBIT! RIBBIT!” I was like, “My God, it’s alive!!!!!!!!” and immediately began to pray it wasn’t like that doll in Child’s Play. It happily ribbited for about 5 minutes and then it stopped and I went back to sleep. Next morning, I give it to Leah, she starts tossing it around, and it starts croaking again like normal. Then last night we’re sitting at dinner and she’s playing with it, and the croak got very weak and throaty at the same time, kind of like Barry White having an asthma attack. “Riiiiiiiibbiiiiiiiiit… riiiiiiiiiiiiiibbbbbbbbbbbiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt….” So I don’t know if the battery is dying, if it’s attempting to lure me into a false sense of security, or if it’s going to come back to life when I least expect it.
Then someone gave us a Baby Einstein musical octopus, which we have dubbed Calamari. Each tentacle says a different color and if you squeeze its head, it plays a little ditty. When I say “little” I mean that facetiously, because it seems like it plays an entire symphony for about ten minutes. Under no circumstances should you continue to push the buttons in the head or you will trapped in electronic music symphonic hell.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, we initiated “Daddy Time”. Leah just has to get used to her father. He lives here, he pays the bills. She’s going to have to deal with his presence in a more productive way than screaming. So each night, she spends an hour with him in his office. We put a bunch of toys in there, which she is happy to play with, and he plays her music and sings to her, reads her the news, whatever he can think of to keep her happy.
So, one night in the beginning of “Daddy Time”, I put Calamari in there. I heard him go off and then change tunes. And then change tunes again. And again. Finally I heard, “SUSAN! MAKE IT STOP!” Unfortunately, at the time, I did not know how to make it stop! I said, “Don’t touch it! Just don’t touch it any more!” I heard a thud as Calamari hit the floor, and then wailing as Leah deemed it unacceptable that her toy went bye-bye.
I have since learned that the only way to get it to quit is to push the button in one of the tentacles so it says, “Green!” or whatever color, and then it shuts up.
I don’t know if the toys are getting smarter or we’re getting stupider, but I am quite sure they’re going to take over any minute. God save our souls!