A few years ago we visited some friends. Our young children played rambunctiously together while we adults talked in the kitchen.

The house was full of kids. They were everywhere. Thousands of them.

And almost every toy in our hostess’ house made noise. Lots of noise. Thousands of children playing with thousands of loud, loud toys.

As we talked, the sound levels got higher and higher. I tried to ignore it as it didn’t seem to bother our friend.

Finally, as we tried to talk over the hue and cry, a child entered the room with some sort of rolling contraption covered with Sesame Street characters. All the kids were yelling and laughing and playing with various bleeping and blooping and clicking and clacking and tooting and hooting toys… and then as the coup de grace, this horror arrives. As a torture device it would have given the Inquisition a run for its money.

The toddler pushing it kept hitting Burt’s nose as the machine barked “nehhNEHNEHNEHnehnehNEHNEHNEHneh” in this annoying repetitive retarded Muppet laugh.

At like 120 decibels.

I thought… this is hell.

This is the absence of all goodness.


And that’s why we take the batteries out of toys, son.

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  • First time we bought a doll for our daughter we said to the toy shop assistant “you know how some dolls can cry, laugh, say ‘mama’ or wet themselves? We’re looking for one that can’t do any of those things.” We have been very satisfied with our purchase. My sympathies on the plasticky-noise torture you had to endure.

  • Toys, toys, toys.
    I like toys.

    Red toys
    and white toys
    Dark toys
    and light toys.

    Girl toys
    and boy toys
    Merle toys
    and Joy toys.

    Toys that bleep
    and toys that bloop
    Toys that heap
    and toys that scoop.

    Clicking toys
    and clacking toys
    and even some duck-like
    quacking toys.

    Tooting toys
    and hooting toys
    and shooting toys
    but never any muting toys.

    Drawing toys
    and graphing toys
    And even retarded
    laughing toys.

    So many toys you can’t believe.
    But best of all is when we leave.

  • Your post reminds me a lot of the Grinch’s description of the Who’s playing with their toys on Christmas morning.

    BTW, now that I’m a grandparent, those are the kind of toys we buy for our grandchildren. Heh heh.

  • My kids, at 3 and 5, actually understand this rule, now. When they opened the Christmas presents this year, they immediately spotted the battery operated noise-and-flash machines, and said, basically “Mama will not let us play with these with batteries in them– they look blinky.” Not even said with disappointment, just a statement of fact. When relatives ask for Christmas suggestions I always tell them, “Nothing that blinks or makes electronic noises”. Always get at least one, anyway. I am still working on an agreeable exchange system with the kids… along the lines of, we can’t keep this one, but maybe we can donate it, and get something for your toolbox instead.

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