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This Father Knows Best

I couldn’t help but picking up where Paul Rango left off last month. Being a father I know exactly what he is experiencing at this time of year. My child is still fairly innocent, not quite three and nuts about hockey and dinosaurs (luckily for us not Barney).

As a rule we do not buy anything that requires batteries and makes a ton of noise, as children have the ability to create for themselves rather than be limited to pressing some buttons that within minutes, make mum and dad edgy. But grandparents do not think like that.

So far the three of the four battery operated toys have come from the grandparents with a fifth on its way. Who buys a child under three a 24 inch remote control John Deere tractor? Grandpa. The Barney phone I could handle, (I stripped it of all Barney images before he got a hold of it), the kids digital camera is a lot of fun, but the electronic storybook reader is not fun—it’s just so much easier to read a book or allow your child to flip through a Richard Scary picture book, and in the long run certainly more beneficial. Especially when you are trying to limit time spent in front of the television.

Keeping three sets of grandparent’s inline has been fairly easy for us compared to others, but some of them seem to be slipping and forgetting the first rule of gift buying for the grandchild: talk to Dad before you make the purchase.

It’s a simple rule; it allows us the ability to weed out toys we know he won’t play with and the toys we don’t want him to play with. Like the 12 inch G.I. Joe’s that the neighbour dropped off; fully stocked with every weapon imaginable, grenades, rocket launchers, knives and guns—lots of guns. He’s three! I’m not raising a soldier, leave that for the sheep.

We request puzzles, and books that are age appropriate. Wooden toys (preferably those that are coloured with non-toxic vegetable dyes—typically not made in China) over plastic, or even better, a contribution to his education fund. We would like the gift to fit in with the values we are trying to live by and instill in our child, not give him Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

For my sanity I can only hope that the tractor is the only battery operated toy he receives this season, after all he only wants a lolly-pop for Christmas, nothing else.

Happy Holidays!

—M.E. Ash


Read previous Father Knows Best articles by Paul Rango:

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