I Hate Toys That Make Noise

My name is Jack. I am the Jewish daddy blogger who is working hard to write a book and somehow is posting regularly on three blogs. Yes, that is right- three blogs. I update more than often than Lady Gaga changes clothes, what of it and what the hell has any of this got to do with Chanukah.

Well you can blame my somewhat edgy attitude on having been forced to join the hordes today in holiday shopping.  Holiday shopping makes me misanthropic. That’s right, I said misanthropic which is a far cry from being lycanthropic.

I have to be honest and say that my initial plan was to write something far more significant and meaningful than this but Friday afternoon and amidst the holiday shoppers made me want to make like a prophet and not the kind that would stand up and praise the people. No sir, I wanted to climb up on the roof of the lady driving the Red RAV-4 with the Texas plates and tell her that this isn’t cleveland, we have order, decorum and rules here.

I wanted to climb up on the roof of Costco and tell the people that if they don’t stop their stampede for free food fire and brimstone would rain down from the sky like manna from heaven. I wanted to scream at the people in the Trader Joes parking lot to slow down because there simply aren’t enough parking spaces and running me over won’t get you inside any faster.

Instead you will face the wrath of the angry Jewish daddy blogger who will post your picture online and mock you for trying to look cool with a big black thing in your teeth. Yes, I am talking about you lady with the Indiana University sweatshirt. Maybe black things in your teeth are cool in Bloomington but they aren’t here.

Have I mentioned yet that it is Chanukah or that my friend Benji wrote the Idiots guide to Chanukah. Go read it and leave a comment telling him I sent you over there. But don’t forget to come back here.

Here where I will tell you that I hate toys that make noise, but not as much as the people that give said toys to my children. You who provide them with things that beep, whistle and wail are on my list. One day very soon you will wake up in the middle of the night wondering why there is a marching band playing outside your window and then you will remember it is because I sent them there.

I sent them because you gave my child a toy that beeps, wails and whistles. I sent them because you are responsible for the headache that I am currently experiencing and misery loves company.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll remember the magic and joy of watching the faces of my children light our menorah. Maybe I’ll remember listening to my daughter tell me that she has toys to give away to kids who don’t have some. Or maybe I’ll remember listening to my son tell me the story about why we celebrate and the questions he asked afterwards.

Because those questions showed me that he isn’t just looking for gifts. He is thinking about his life, his family and the world around him. You see 2011 was filled with all sorts of chaos in our life. We sold our home and moved into temporary housing and he knows that we will be moving again real soon.

He knows that life is filled with challenges and changes and wonders whether turning 11 next week will mark the beginning of magical and mysterious year or something less than that.

Chanukah reminds him that some things don’t change. Family celebrations can take place in different places and these moments in time that he recalls can be special in places that are less familiar. Chanukah reminds him even though life feels a bit upside down and inside out it is not as crazy as he thought.

The dark haired beauty is certain of this too. She wasn’t so sure at first but now she is beginning to sing a different song. And me, well I rant about the hordes because it irritates me to be hit by shopping carts pushed at breakneck speed by people who don’t care what is going on around them. And because I am just grumpy.

But amidst the chaos and craziness I am grateful too. We are healthy, happy and hopeful. Good things are happening now and more are just around the corner. Chanukah sameach to my friends, family and fellow MOTs. I wish you all lots of love and laughter and hope you enjoy your own miracle of lights.

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Comments

  1. my mother-in-law loves buying those wretched toys that have huge speakers built in. trains, crying babies, toy boom boxes. so when the toddlers go to visit, i make sure they take it with them to play at her house. every damn weekend. yes, that’s how i roll. and yes, she hates my gutts. but that’s okay. as long as i get 6 hours of peace and quiet, that’s just fine.
    it’s wonderful Jack that your son “gets it”. it saddens me the lessons my older kids had to learn when they were young, but they’re teens now and better for it. from the day they learned to say “mommy buy that” though i wanted to give these girls with the deadbeat dad the world, i learned to answer “when mommy has more money” they usually got what they wanted as long as it wasn’t extreme but they always had to wake a week or two or three. when they were 7 and 8 year old, they started doing chores and getting paid for it. now as teens, they understand how hard it is to earn money and they understand that they don’t need name brands and though they may envy their friends having iPads and iPhones, they’re happy with what they have. I’m kinda proud of the job i did with them.

  2. Last night, when watching the candles burn down, I was overwhelmed by such a sense of peace. I felt thankful and filled with love. I said out loud to my husband, “I love the world. I love you. I love the boys. I love God. I am just so in love right now.”

    It was a nice, but fleeting feeling. It didn’t take too long (it happened earlier today while out and about) to remember how much people can suck.

    And re: toys that make noise? I want to adopt my friend’s daughter. When she was putting together her Christmas list, the only thing she asked for was boxes. Cardboard boxes so she could create her own forts and castles and tunnels.

    • Meghan,

      That feeling you talked about in the first paragraph is invaluable. That is sort of what we are hoping/shooting for, isn’t it.

      Your friend’s daughter sounds simply awesome.

  3. Oh dear lord, do I despise those toys. And it’s it the strangest thing — those toys always seem to come from folks who, I suspect, are giving them on purpose. Which just puts another nail in the coffin…

    Chag sameach, buddy.

  4. I’m not Jewish – but I loved your post. I am the auntie who got her 2 1/2 year old nephew 2 vehicles with lights & sirens (I warned my sister first) – she emailed me yesterday and told me that it has already gotten put up high a few times. LOL

    I told her to see if they could figure out where the batteries are and she could take them out until Spring when Brody and said toys can play outside.

    Our family has never made a big deal of the presents involved with Christmas. We always read the Christmas story before the presents – my parents wanted us to know that the presents weren’t the reason we celebrated. They never spent a lot on us but we always had a great Christmas – and now I doubt any of us spend more than $25 on each other – it’s just to expensive & you can find awesome gifts for very little (I make a lot of my gifts).

    Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year!

    Tina ‘the book lady’

    • Hi Tina,

      Making your own gifts is very cool. I think that those are among the best.

      It was nice of you to warn your sister about the siren. I learned the “hard” way and now I am the one who gives the warnings. πŸ˜‰

  5. I discovered the value of a good roll of Scotch tape when my kid was little…tape over the speakers of noise making toys did a lot for my sanity! The kid still hear it but it was a few decibels quieter :-). Happy Hanukkah!

  6. I also dislike going shopping at this time of year. I avoid it like the plague (hello, online shopping!). I’m also not a huge fan of toys that make noise. I *am* a huge fan of putting them away on Shabbos. That’s a seriously nice perk about not using electric stuff. For real.

  7. LOL. I hate toys that make lights and noises. My kids have long stopped wanting “toy toys”. every present is “game related” so I am not sure how I feel about that.

    I heard a song by Spongebob Squarepants called “Don’t be a jerk it’s Christmas” and it made me LOL and immediately thought of your post. That’s why I am hiding upstairs now to post this comment. πŸ˜‰

    • The game related toys tend to bother me less. I haven’t figured out if it is because I am child of the Atari era or what.

      That Spongebob song sounds like it could be funny. I’ll have track it down.

  8. Jack, I hate all noise making toys, too. I make my kids carve their toys out of wood or soap. Makes for a nice, quiet house. πŸ˜‰

    I hope that the New Year brings prosperity, peace & comfort to you.

    • Hi Jen,

      I like the carving idea and would do it here but fear the medical bills from children who would have way too much fun with it. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the good wishes, I wish the same for you and yours.

  9. My ex-boyfriend’s mom bought me the loudest, most obnoxious toy to celebrate my son’s birth. She gave it to me right before our 1,000-mile drive back from Eugene, OR to Los Angeles.

    I appreciated the spirit in which that gift was given. It was presented as eight parts sweet, two parts: “This is all I can do to make you pay for breaking up with my baby!”

    Apart from that, I have a ZTP for noisy toys. I give them back. Seriously.

    I tend not to give gifts. I like sending things that seem like good fits throughout the year, but all the craziness of holiday shopping . . . it makes me feel like we’re losing track of what’s really important: our selves, our health, our family, our friends.

    Which is all a very long winded way of saying I loved your post. And ditto it. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Deb,

      1000 miles in a car with a loud, obnoxious toy sounds like the sort of adventure that is fun to talk about years later, but not during.

      I like the idea of giving gifts year round. It fits in with my feelings about giving charity. I hate the focus on giving this time of year. People are still hungry and or homeless in June, July and February.

  10. My sister-in-law gave my kids a (nice but) annoyingly noisy toy one year – it didn’t even have an “off” button! We resorted to removing the batteries… But alas, when she herself had young kids we returned the favor (literally!) and now that toy is in her house

  11. Noise, I hate noise. I’m the nasty lady in shul who shushes people for banging, clapping and yapping.

  12. G’Day Jack,
    A couple of thousand years ago another Jewish dad got all sentimental too. Look what that started!

    I have trouble spelling Christmas. Chanukah’s really a bridge too far.

    May your Christmas be the sort of Christmas that those who love you most would want you to have.

    I’d love to be able to say that that’s an ancient, Irish/Australian, unjustly transported convict saying. That would be a lie. And it would put a curse on the Celtics for the new season. They’ve got enough problems.

    And remember: spoil your kids rotten. It’s the only chance they’ll get

    Bloodywell have fun Jack.

    Leon

    • Hello Leon,

      I get the feeling that your grandchildren can attest to your skills at spoiling children rotten- that is a very fine skill to have.

      It is something that my own grandparents were quite proficient at.

      Have a Merry Christmas.

  13. Ah the noise—- so very true. The visual of a marching band of noisy toys outside the house of certain individuals does give me some inner joy, I have to admit. But you are so right, the lights of the candles flickering, the questioning of our children about why the teachers at school only sang Christmas related songs at the school sing along and beauty heard in the rhythm of the prayers ..that is something to be thankful for.

    • Hey Elena,

      I strongly urge you to send someone “special” a marching band- it would be cool. Don’t forget to videotape it.

      The glow of the candle lights in the eyes of the children is simply magical.

  14. Funny post and I think many of us share the feeling about toys that make noise. In fact, my husband can’t stand them. The toys that make noise seems to mysteriously lose their batteries in our house.

    • Hi Leah,

      When my kids were little the battery tricked worked really well but I can’t pull that off anymore.

      In fact if things don’t work they always come looking for me to ask for the batteries so that they can put them back. πŸ™‚

  15. Never has a “grumpy” post made me laugh so hard. I too hate noisy toys. Glad to hear you’re merely misanthropic and not lycanthropic :-).

    Happy Hanukkah!

    (no prize necessary)

    • Hi Victoria,

      Let’s hear it for grumpy posts that make people laugh. Woohooo! πŸ˜€

      If I were lycanthropic I might be able to clear out some of the stores. Eat a couple of people and others stay away. πŸ˜‰

      Happy Chanukah to you too!

  16. I hate noisy toys, too! And sadly, am not quiet about the fact, my kids know it and will announce it, ANYWHERE. πŸ™‚

    Happy Hanukkah to you and your’s, Jack!

  17. I have long since given up on the holidays. The noisy toys are but just one reason. I could go on, but you have done such a good job of summarizing the silliness that is shopping, that I won’t.

    I have not celebrated any of the major religious holidays in 10 year and I don’t miss them.

    Bah and or humbug.

    • Hi Brian,

      I understand. My children, along with nieces and nephews serve as a daily reminders about what I want to get out of the holidays.

      If we are going to celebrate them then I want them to do so for the right reasons.

      Bah and Humbug is right. Keep me away from the stores.

  18. Jack: You are sleeping right now over there on the the left coast; unless you are one of those meshuganah “let-me-get-up=and-go-to-the-gym types.

    This is very funny. I am so glad that you participated in our #HanukkahHoopla thing. I’m not a fan of toys that make noise either. But it could be worse. You could feel that whole Christmas pressure to use three months of your paycheck to buy gifts for people who really don’t need them. Because — even though our country may be going through tough times — we are still doing okay. We just have to remind ourselves we don’t NEED all that junk they sell in Costco.

    Oh, and honey, there is something green in your teeth. You might want to go brush. πŸ˜‰

    Happy Hanukkah to you and yours. May your latkes be oily and may 2012 be the best yet!

    • Hi Renee,

      I am glad that you asked me to participate because it has been a hell of a lot of fun getting to know you and the others.

      And I am most certainly meshugeh, but you usually find me in the gym late at night or mid day.

      The only pressure I feel is to make children into menschen. I am not a saint or an activist, but I am working hard to make sure that they understand gratitude.

      Things are nice but they don’t warm our hearts.

  19. There are a lot of toys in the world that doesnt make horrible noise when they are played. I am a dad and I never buy noisy toys for my kids. They are having fun with the toys.

    • There are indeed many toys that don’t make noise as well as those that don’t make me crazy.

      Some video games have very pleasant soundtracks.

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