December 12, 2013 by Katia

Carnival: a travelling amusement show or circus.

Today I’m blog-carnivaling with some of my favourite women on the interwebs. Together we’ll be bitching about undesired holiday season gifts for kids. Intrigued? You should be. Here are a couple of titles to give you a taste: Dear Santa, Please Don’t and Holy Testosterone, Batman! {Why Are Superheroes So ANGRY These Days?}. Sit back, chillax and don’t forget to share your own best worst.

making list image


A while ago I tweeted this.

As I go through the motions of breakfast with a toddler and preschooler daily I discover there’s really no such thing as going through the motions. The motions are unpredictable and include stuff that my freshly “awake” body did not anticipate nor have my thirty seven years of experience as a person prepared me for like accepting a foot high five with my face. Or rescuing Four Year Old’s (liquid) breakfast from One Year Old’s hands. Or blocking the falling glass of milk before it hits the floor while I arm wrestle One Year Old for possession of the tablecloth (I know. We had guests over to celebrate Hanukkah the night before, k’?thx).

There’s not a single day that goes by when I don’t feel like these spill/slip “routines” would make so much more sense with an 80’s faux hawk, a pair of fluorescent tights, leg warmers and the recorded laughs of a studio audience. I suppose it’s only fitting that our movements through the house – One Year Old’s drunken run, Four Year Old’s karate kicks and my own disaster prevention frenzy – should be accompanied by background sounds. Which they totally are thanks to Melissa and Doug’s Farm Animal Sound Puzzle.

If anyone needs to know the precise moment that mama starts making her way up the basement stairs (because why would they not?) all they have to do is listen out for the MOO.True Story.


My mom, visiting from overseas had an idea. She would take the Melissa and Doug Farm Animal motion sensor back home with her to notify her whenever my ninety year old grandma, living with her, wakes up and starts wandering around the house in the middle of the night, which has been known to happen. Despite the device’s undisputable effectiveness the plan fell through the cracks only because the Melissa and Doug sound puzzle will occasionally cockadoodledoo instead of mooing, which my mom thought might be too confusing and send the wrong message.

This holiday season if you were considering getting me a motion sensor don’t bother. I already have one. I will, however, accept neon yellow tights, or a bell at the very least.


Liked this? You won’t regret paying my friends a visit to learn about their own complicated relationships with toys that are not Melissa & Doug’s Farm Animal Sound Puzzle.

Stephanie from Mommy, For Real: Thanks For Nothing “American Girls” – Why I Hate American Girls Dolls

Kristi from Finding Ninee: Three Things I Don’t Want My Son To Get For Christmas 

Sarah from The Sadder But Wiser Girl: Flaming Pillow Pets And Other Christmas List Nos

Jean from Mama Schmama: My Child-Models Deserve The Best At Christmas

Jen from My Skewed View: Dear Santa, Please Don’t

Rachel from Tao of Poop: Santa Employs Sweatshop Labor

Sarah from Left Brain Buddha: Holy Testosterone, Batman! {Why Are Superheroes so ANGRY These Days?}

Stephanie from Mommy, For Real: Thanks For Nothing “American Girls” – Why I Hate American Girls Dolls


47 thoughts on “The Gift That JUST. KEEPS. ON. GIVING.

  1. Jen says:

    ooo ooo! Can I buy you the neon yellow tights?! Can I? He he… we had a Melissa and Doug Alphabet puzzle that in the middle of the night would all of the sudden go “Q – Q is for Quilt” So creepy, so I gave it to my sister. Jokes on her!

  2. Jean says:

    We have the Melissa and Doug… oh who am I kidding? We have all the everythings that Melissa and Doug ever made. Lovely toys and insanely frustrating at the same time. Have you tried their easel? My children like to remove all the screws (painted in primary colors) so the whole thing falls apart.

  3. Oh Katia, your adorableness is sickening. Lol. Some of those toys are flat out creepy. We had some sort of talking Cookie Monster that would suddenly spout off and scare the crap out of everyone in the house. I’m sure it kept on even after the batteries were dead.

    • Katia says:

      😀 Yes, some of these creatures definitely have a life of their own, which is not battery-dependent. I’m kind of surprised I don’t own a Cookie Monster that spouts off randomly.

  4. findingninee says:

    We have that same toy!!! And yes, it has scared the crap out of me more than once. As has talking Elmo with his creepy laugh and a toddler remote-control airplane that occasionally just starts speaking in Spanish, telling us to button our seatbelts or something equally horrifying. I love the idea of yellow tights!

  5. Haha, way to repurpose an annoying children’s toy. I must remember this for future children.

  6. Melissa and Doug? So so so glad they came after my guys were growing up. This post reminds me of the singing fish era. You know that fish that was mounted to a plaque and at the slightest sense of motion would come to life flapping and singing? Horrid. Scared the begeezus out of me. Perhaps you could slip your M and D number into your mom’s suitcase … as a going away gift of course.

    • Katia says:

      Oh, of course I remember the fish! Thanks so much for reminding me of that, you just brought back a memory I didn’t even know was there! 🙂

  7. This post is hilarious from beginning to end, Katia. I love that you started with that definition. Kind of sums it all up, doesn’t it? I also love that the toy ended up spreading it’s cheer to an entirely different part of your family too. So funny. I’m having great fun on this carnival ride! Thanks, Katia!

  8. Beth Teliho says:

    hahahah! I love this! I’ve had SO many talking toys over the years, but none beat the Furby for me in the “creeps me out” department! *shudder* We STILL have one in the house. IT sleeps in the corner of the game room. I do my best not to wake it, unless I absolutely have to. Like when I found my husband watching football up there when he was supposed to be cleaning out the garage. I picked the Furby up by the ear, set IT on my husbands lap, and clapped to wake IT up. As I bolted downstairs I could hear ITS terrifying little voice, “hellloooooo. Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya hellllooooo”.

    The garage looks awesome.

  9. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    I learned this sound puzzle lesson the hard way during a 5 hour long road trip, in which I was tricked into believing an emergency vehicle was about to pass us. Nope, just the “ambulance sound” on our Melissa & Doug transportation puzzle. And the train one goes off whenever we open the garage door. W.T.F. This was hilarious, and clearly, I feel your pain. I too feel as though perhaps I’m the secret star of an un-funny sitcom. :/ xoxo

  10. Sarah says:

    We had this same puzzle and it was creepy – the snake would hiss at random times!

    What I hated was the motion sensor fridge farm that moo’ed and oinked at me every time I opened the fridge!!

  11. How much more “fun” would my mornings be with a live studio audience??!! My four year old would LOVE the stage and my little guy would just be so happy about the clapping…nothing makes him happier than someone clapping for him (= I would just appreciate some recognition for keeping them fed and alive…that’s hard enough. I don’t normally drop links to my posts in my comments but I think you may get a laugh out of my last one…or at least appreciate my attempt at humor.

    • Katia says:

      I know, clapping’s big with one-year-old’s. One Year Old is at his most ecstatic when he claps and it’s kind of the chicken and the egg. You can’t really tell which one’s the cause and which the result.

  12. Sarah Almond says:

    My husband made a rule when my son was born that no gifts were to be received that made noise. I can’t say that everyone listens to that rule, but we don’t have a LOT of toys that make noise. And certainly nothing that detects motion, purposely or otherwise! 😉

  13. Dana says:

    Ah, I remember those kinds of toys. We had one that would sense a slight draft and just start talking. Wtf? Those toys are evil.

  14. LMAO. Your poor grandmother. I feel like an “oink” would have been super rude.

    My mom actually gifted that farm noise maker to me too, and after about three days I put it “away” (read: in the goodwill bin). Who thinks of these horrible gifts???

  15. Hilarious. I sometimes try to convince my husband that we need an alarm system in the house. He has welcomed me to research alarm systems and I always say I will but never do. I think my research is now done. I suppose it wouldn’t be an alarm, but more of a motion detector, which is still pretty good, considering I could probably get it on Amazon for under $20.

  16. One year my parents gave my son one of those talking fish thing for the wall that sang you the same ridiculous song over and over. WHY??? It went in the attic after about a day.

  17. Claire Duffy says:

    I love this! I teach pre school and we have one toy in my classroom which isn’t officially a motion sensor, except it goes off and starts singing whenever any human passes within a metre of it… particularly doing nap time. I have actually rugby tackled and body covered it in a wild attempt to muffle the sound and keep the little angels from waking more than once!

  18. Julie says:

    I love the idea of someone actually saying “Stop with the awful toys” I especially likes the one about weapons. I remember years ago, we were at a Primary school summer fete and I heard one 6 year old say to another (who was holding a plastic sword) “where’s the weapons stall?” honestly, what’s going on? And why is EVERYTHING for girls pink, sparkly or domestic? why why?

  19. Lynn Kellan says:

    At least someone hasn’t given your boys a drum set…yet! 🙂 Happy SITS day!

  20. Barbara says:

    Sound puzzles are banned in our house. My boys don’t know what they are missing. 🙂
    Happy SITS Day!

  21. misssrobin says:

    Congratulations on your SITS day. I hope it’s a wonderful day for you. And I hope it’s completely free of obnoxious toys that just won’t die.

  22. Suzanne says:

    Enjoying your list and the comments! Also congrats on your SITS Day! I laughed at your post where you mentioned Gilmore Girls. I am STILL a hug fan and have Season 1-6, but not 7! Thank goodness they rerun the episodes on ABC Family! Enjoy your day! 🙂

    • Katia says:

      I ADORE Gilmore Girls. I have to watch the whole thing again. I’ve never watched it from beginning to end. And thank you so much for commenting, Suzanne! 🙂

  23. Rabia Lieber says:

    OK, seriously!?! We have the same puzzle, only the dog barks when we turn off the dining room lights and the fish bubble randomly!! I thought I was crazy!!

  24. Julie Moore says:

    Happy SITS Day! I hope you have a great day! And we ban most noise making toys like that because they either seem possessed or (when the batteries start to die) they freak us out sounding all freaky.

  25. Happy SITS day! I’m loving your tagline right now, lol!

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