Even though the sun is peeping through my window as I type, America's consumer culture is forcing me to get prepared for Christmas.
Michael's, and now Costco have begun their preparations; twinkling white lights, animated deer, and bigger than life sized Santas have come out to play.
I can't say I'm really in the Christmas spirit yet, but the kids (who are ruled by expert marketing ploys) are already starting to talk about the big guy.
#1 (bless his following-in-Mommy's-genius footsteps) actually threatened #2 with Santa's Naughty List at the dinner table yesterday.
#2: Do I have to eat deez beans to get a snack?
Me: You betcha big guy.
#2: I don't like them (pushes them away, tipping over his water cup in the process).
Me: Well, I don't like it when you behave this way. You need to calm down and eat your food.
#2: You need to calm down. You're being mean to me and you da baddest mommy in da world today.
Me: (Giving him the stank eye and calming down, not because he said so, because if I don't I will wring is little neck.)
#1: Uhoh. I think someone just got his Naughty List out and is writing your name on it.
#2: (Evil eyeing #1.)
#1: Yep, you better watch it, Buddy, because Santa gives kids a pass during the summer, but summer is over now and school is back and he's watching again.
Me: Wait, Santa goes on vacation?
#1: Of course. Don't you remember we saw him this summer at the 4th of July party? He was probably on his way to the beach.
Me: That's right. Listen to your brother, he's a smart dude.
Who knew I was such an awesome use-trickery-when-necessary-to-get-what-you-want role model?
So, let's see if I can convince you guys to start your holiday shopping a little early this year with another recommendation on PBD's Ultimate Bomb Diggity Gift Giving Guide of 2009.
How about Zhu Zhu Pets?!
I know, they seem a little creepy, and probably not your idea of fun.
I feel ya! I was not a fan of the life like rodent toy either when I was lured into the living room to watch the commercial (which was rewound at key moments) for these things.
And then, we were offered the opportunity to test drive these bad boys and share them with some of our neighborhood friends.
I figured, it was a good opportunity to prove (once again) that I'm right and that Zhu Zhu Pets (or any other toy that pretends to be a rodent) are not fun.
Alas, I was mistaken; they have not stopped playing with the bloody things since the day they landed on our doorstep!
They were a huge hit at the party, too.
All the kids LOVED them and (from what I hear) are still playing with them now (so be sure to have extra AAA batteries on hand, 'cause explaining a dead hamster to a four year old is not gonna be fun).
Despite their obvious kid appeal, I do have to tell you about two things I was not too happy to discover.
1) The Zhu Zhu Pets line includes an entire Zhu Zhu Pets play world (like a Hamster fun land with housing, transportation, and family fun centers) that has to be assembled.
It was a beast to put together.
I'm not a role model when it comes to assembly required toys by any stretch of the imagination, so don't let my shortcoming deter you.
I followed the directions okay, and it looked good in the end, but I distinctly recall taking the Lord's name in vain at least once, and breaking a sweat during the whole put-it-together process.
Worst part is that during the course of regular play the happy hamster land may come apart (because your toddler sits on it), at which point your child may become inpatient (aka yelling loudly and possibly bursting into tears) as you attempt to reassemble it without cursing in front of him (and a whole party full of 3 and 4 year olds).
2) This toy is not intended for children under the age of 4.
I realize that this disclaimer is CLEARLY labeled on the front of every Zhu Zhu Pet and Zhu Zhu Pet accessory.
But, you try telling your 19 month old that while his brothers are going to have their very own Zhu Zhu Pet to raise, he will have to stand idly by and watch them play with them and their hamster hideout.
Um, yeah, not gonna happen.
You can try, but this is what you get...
But, let's say you give in and let the little one have a pet of his own. I mean, tons of toys have that same disclaimer on it and he's never really had a problem before (aside from a little frustration over not being able to figure the toy out).
Then, friends, your one year old who is admittedly way too young to safely play with this toy, could end up like this...
Although, I will say that Zhu Zhu Pets might want to say that this toy is not intended for kids under the age of four OR for children with hair.
In all honesty, this toy was a huge hit with the kids, particularly with my four year old (even though my 7 year old has one too that he likes to keep under his pillow).
I recommend it (even though my better judgement tells me to shy away from faux rodents for fear the children may decide they might like to have a real one) for kids who are not likely to attempt to drive it through their hair (it's the effing wheels, they go forward, and then they go back, and then they go forward again which means get your scissors if you want to extract it from hairy spots).
Want to win your very own Zhu Zhu Pet with Hamstermobile and garage?
Of course you do, silly!
All you have to do to enter is:
1. Leave a comment telling me you want it and follow my blog.
2. You can get an extra entry if you follow me on Twitter, too. (@thenagainphoto)
That's it. You don't even have to prove to me your kid is over 4!
Winner of the incredibly-fun-but-borderline-painful-if-you-can't-follow-basic-instructions Zhu Zhu Pet will be announced next Saturday (contest closes Friday 9/8 @midnight)
Looking for previous entries on the gift guide? Check here!
2 days ago