This post really could be titled My Kid has an Obsession, What do I do Now? But we will go with a Note to the Toymakers first. If that doesn’t pan out, perhaps an email to the show Intervention to stage a toy intervention for children series. I am sure Lifetime would love to pick that up.
Flynn is really in to character toys these days. He has been on Cars kick with a love of Mater and McQueen for months now and just recently added Ninja Turtles to the mix. His love for these things borderline obsession. He has OCD about how his figurines are lined up and often needs to sleep with multiple cars “parked” in the bed. One of Flynn’s favorite things is to watch some sort of video or have you read a book that matches the characters while he acts out the scenes with his cars. It is quite interesting. Like the time he was loudly playing with his Cars in the Panama City Airport repeatedly yelling “Mater you are the Bomb, You’ve always been the BOMB” as we boarded the plane. Flynn Boone was officially added to the “watch list” that day and I’m sure the extra-helpful flight attendant was no accident.
As he ventures in to this world of character toys, I wanted to reach out to my friends who make toys to offer a few suggestions, make some design ideas and most importantly offer a plea to help a mother out.
So toymakers I was wondering if it would possible for you to
1. Make figurines that are not a 15 step process to get them to stand up. If the legs could just not move 360 degrees that would be great. A fabulous idea would be if my 2 year old kid can stand the darn things up himself. This would be awesome and save the world from hearing a whiney AHHH my turtles fell down 115 times a day.
2. Make things that do what they do in the movie. For example, if Mater is a toy truck and tows Lightening in the movie (Cars 2) then make it so he can do that in real life because despite my best effort with tape, paper clips and magnets my mom magic can only do so much. But please see request #1, so don’t make it so that I have to attach it repeatedly. So use that engineering degree you might have and make that toy work.
3. Loose pieces are not necessary. If Donatella carries some wooden sticks, then just go ahead and secure them to him. No need to make them come off. This causes things to go missing, pop off, be eaten by dogs and young children alike. So go ahead and just make those nunchucks stay attached. It will save a few visits to the ER and probably help a few mothers avoid drinking problems.
4.Limit the variety. Case in point – the paint job on Lightening. No need to have a Piston Cup and Rusteze Lightening. See when you kid has an obsession with characters people LOVE buying character things (parents included). Cups, t-shirts, underwear (even when the kid is still in diapers), big cars, little cars, mid-size sedan cars, if mater’s face is on it
people you love giving it to your kid. Somewhere along the line we got a few Lightening McQueen cars, which was great at first. Except Flynn eventually noticed the different paint jobs and various size spoilers. So now we don’t just need one Lightening, we need the Piston Cup Lightening or the Rusteze Lightening or the Lightening with the big spoiler. I never taught the kid this. Never said oh hey Flynn don’t drop that Big Spoiler Lightening in the potty. Not once. But somehow, someway, he knows the difference. And depending on the day, requires a specific one. So toymakers, after that long winded story, you can see it is quite troubling to me. Can you maybe just make them all the same because that’s a lot easier than convincing Flynn in the middle of the Target aisle that the there really is no need for the Lightening with white tires and the Lightening with black tires, now is there?
5. Try to make said toys a little less attractive to say the 12 month and under crowd. That would be great. I am not sure what you lace these toys with or what secret signal you have them sending out, but my 10 month old really is drawn to these toys. I mean just as soon as Flynn (with my help) lines up all his turtles, my adorable baby feels the need to leave some age appropriate toy to come knock the turtles all down. She really loves playing grab and go – a fun game where she likes to grab a car that is being used to replicate some scene from the Level 1, 2 and 3 Cars Step into Reading Book, and crawl away as fast as possible. So maybe if you could add something where that doesn’t happen?
6. Make the toys have a way to find them when missing. Kind of like how you can locate your iphone. That would be great. Sadly, a few cars were able to escape the madness this summer by digging themselves deeply in the sand and safely making it to sea. We have since moved on from those cars – most days – but it was a difficult experience finding out that “Big Mater” was lost in the sand. So a little login in to icloud and send a signal to the missing toy would really save a lot of headaches for everyone. It also would prevent the metal detector beach guy from getting excited when he hears his beeping go off only to realize it is a $3 car from Target.
7. While I am sure you create all your toys to withstand children, I might want to remind you of where our character toys have been. See Mater, Lightening and the rest of the Radiator Springs Gang have had quite the busy summer. They have had multiple paint jobs, been to multiple beaches, swam in pools, hiked trails, played on slides, took a spin in the kids’ potty. If you could maybe throw your cars in the ocean a few times during the test development stage to ensure it will in fact float back to shore in a timely fashion that would be amazing.
8. And I suppose my last request is if you could print the name on the toy. Not the real name, like Tow Mater or Sir Axelrod, no the kid made up name. Blue Dinoco, Piston Cup Lightening, Baby Mater, Little, Mater, Big Lightening, Tray Mater, etc. This would really help any additional caregivers other than me know what the heck my kid is talking about. This way when my kid is screaming for Mack and people hand him Baby Mack the rest of the room won’t have to duck from a metal toy being flung across the room.
Toymakers, and really character toy makers, please don’t misread this. I love how you have a hold on my child and provide hours of entertainment. You even allowed this post to happen. And that flight back from the beach would have not been a huge success if Flynn couldn’t push his cars around in circles loudly screaming the word BOMB. So I thank you. I truly do.