Thursday, December 29, 2005

'We're Americans; we don't torture'

Whoever buys into that statement isn’t exactly keeping up with current events. Have you seen the so-called ‘toys’ manufacturers are assaulting kids with these days? Jump, spin, click, clack, shout, vibrate, jump, hop around and otherwise raise hell. That ain’t a toy. That’s torture.

You wanna make Saddam spill the beans? Need the Baghdad Bogey-Man to confess all of his crimes against humanity? Put away the bad rock music, sleep deprivation, rubber hoses, saps, blocks and tackles, bright lights and needle-nose pliers.

Just make him spend a couple of nights with “Jump and Shout Elmo”. He’ll crack open like an egg dropped 50 feet onto a parking lot.

JC, our 9-month-old Baby of Mass Destruction, loves Elmo. He looooooves Elmo. Elmo makes an appearance on whatever Sprout Network program he’s watching and all other activity comes to a screeching halt. Elmo is The Man (or The Thing, at least).

It follows logically, therefore, that at least one of our sets of relatives would send along something Elmo-related for Christmas. Most of the Elmo toys are aimed at a little older kid (they’re ‘age inappropriate’ for a 9-monther). That kept Mom and Dad out of the Elmo market this year, but it didn’t stop everybody.

After JC pulled off the wrapping and chewed it a bit, we figured there couldn’t be much harm in giving Jump and Shout Elmo a shot. We even left him in his box so he didn’t get too carried away. Didn’t matter. Torture is torture, even if it’s still attached to its retail packaging.

Push the foot button and Holy Crap! The thing starts up an awful racket, jumps up and down and starts spinning its Elmo arms around like a little demon-possessed muppet in another Exorcist sequel.

JC watched all of this for a few seconds and thought it over very carefully (as you can see in today’s photo). Then his little face clouded up and he flat started wailing at maximum volume. Jump and Shout Elmo scared the living crap out of him. It took Mom and Dad and all four of the grammies and grampies a full five minutes to get him back in sorts again.

As a result of the Screaming Elmo from Hell experience, we decided to keep the Bounce Higher Tigger – which carries on even more maniacally, if you can believe that – in his box for a few more months. It’s not like JC doesn’t have a ton of other fun things to fiddle with between now and then.

Jump and Shout Elmo, implement of torture, now sits on the back of the top closet shelf, awaiting a brighter – and more age-appropriate – day.

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