My husband and I were the first among our siblings to get married and have children. In fact, when we gave birth to our firstborn son, everyone else was still single. They had zero idea what it was like to take care of a baby, and all of the responsibilities that come with the job. We received many "gifts" for our infant son that were well meaning but perhaps a little bit too advanced for his age, or completely inappropriate. For example:
1. A Lego set- ages 6+ (Major choking hazard for a newborn)
2. Model Jet- ages 8+ (Toxic paint)
3. A pair of Diesel brand shoes for a 3 year old
4. A size 4T sports jersey from my college's rival school whose mascot is straight from the pit of HELL.
But the very worst gift we received was from my brother-in-law. Being a single college guy, he had no idea that his gift would forever go down into the record books as the most obnoxious present our son ever received. He purchased our baby a yellow plastic ball that had flashing disco lights and played rap music......whenever it moved. First my son cried, then he was mesmerized by it, and loved to roll it around. By day three, my husband was trying to figure out how to take the batteries out of it. Turns out, it's parent proof. Baby toys are engineered by rocket scientists so that they will live FOREVER. There was no ON/OFF switch to stop the madness. By the time my son was six months old, the ball became possessed by evil forces. In the middle of the night, while everyone was sleeping, we would hear rap music suddenly coming out of the nursery. The baby would jolt, do the startle reflex and start crying. We'd enter the dark room to find flashes of light beaming out to us from inside the toy box. The ball had a mind of it's own. It would be sitting there perfectly still, and then suddenly start going spastic on us. We tried to throw it away once, and our son dug it out of the trash. By age two, the original batteries were finally starting to show their age....the rap music was all distorted and really slow, but the lights kept on blinking. It still turned itself on in the middle of the night to now begin terrorizing our second child who was an infant. I'd had enough. I didn't care who the gift came from, it was time for it to go bye-bye.....FOREVER. We made a mental note of all of the agony that the toy had caused our family, and put it into long term memory.
Fast forward 6 years. My brother- in- law finally got married and had a kid. Hee Hee Hee. Paybacks are rough. It was Christmas. My nephew was 8 months old, and my husband and I were shopping for an "appropriate" gift for the little guy. It had to have the following qualities:
1. It had to be LOUD.
2. It had to have flashing lights
3. It had to be musical.....obnoxiously musical.
4. It had to be completely horrendous.
My husband spotted the "perfect" gift on the very first toy aisle we went down. It had angelic beams radiating it's magnificence, like a sign from heaven. It was a huge P.T. Cruiser that had blinking headlights and played "Livin' La Vida Loca". When you pushed a button, it made this wretched tire squealing sound like a hot rod on the race track and then it would ram full speed into whatever was in it's way. I wiped a tear from my eye, and thanked the Lord for leading us to this little gem of a gift. We could hardly contain ourselves when the little guy ripped open the paper. As if on queue, the car immediately started "rocking" out. My poor sister- in-law tried to mask the surprise on her face. She didn't deserve it. It wasn't her fault that her husband made a poor decision all those years ago, but it had to be done. We took the car out of the box, and put it on the floor. It made my nephew cry. It was perfect. Now that he's older, he loves the car, and I got word from my mother-in-law that the batteries are still going strong. Brilliant. Our plan is moving along as scheduled. If my nephew's first Spanish words are "Livin' La Vida Loca" I'll consider the whole thing to be a major success.