Oh boy. Toys “R” Us and their perfect playsets.
The Toys “R” Us Christmas catalog arrived at our house a few weeks ago and turned our 3-year-old son into a playset addict. He’s antsy. He’s preoccupied. He’s out of his mind.
When he hears the word “playset” he practically begins salivating and I think I know what Pavlov witnessed whenever he rang the bell for his dogs. If I say the word “playset,” my son all but turns into a character from “Trainspotting.” I imagine him in a dark corner of a boarded up house somewhere, gently rocking himself back and forth incoherently and repeatedly mumbling the words “Cars playset.” I’m terrified of the things he might do to get his hands on one of those mysterious, life-changing toys.
The boy grabs the catalog first thing in the morning and again before he goes to bed. His little mind is consumed by a twisted fantasy that transports him into the pages of the catalog, transforming him into a two-dimensional character, gleefully and hypnotically zipping from playset to playset or scooter to scooter or electric car to electric car, like something out of a demented Tim Burton movie.
Of course it doesn’t help that every child in the catalog looks like he is having THE GREATEST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER! I mean what do they pump those kids full of before shooting those pictures? I bet they promise each of them all the playsets they can fit into their mom’s minivan. It’s like they won the playset lottery and they get to play with the most perfect toys ever created while their best friends are locked nearby in a cage. Those unfortunates can see and hear their friends playing but are far enough away that they can’t reach the miraculous, heavenly Garden of Playset Eden. It’s the ultimate toddler torture.
The worst part is our home is now filled with an endless, one-child chorus of “I want.” It’s possibly the worst phrase known to mankind, the verbal equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. “I want.” Incessant, never-ending “I want.” The other day he even reminded my wife and I that if Santa can’t find the toy he wants at Toys “R” Us then surely he can find it at Target. He’s 3 years old and he’s bargain shopping like he belongs on a reality show.
Our reality is that Santa has a budget and, Toys “R” Us catalog or not, Santa’s sticking to it. Oh, and if you don’t hear from me for a few days after Christmas, please call the police and request a welfare check. I may be buried under a mountain of playsets.