Friday, March 11, 2011

CD underside

Whilst meandering through the aspirational section of Gloucester's ToysWeSell (note the inverted 'W'), I was struck by the number of dressing up opportunities for the modern child. Apart from aliens and, to me, scary monsters (Frankenstein's zombie is even more terrifying when only 3 feet tall), it was the vocational outfits that seemed more interesting to my boy.

He pawed through various guises of doctor, police officer, nurse, builder, plumber,sailor, firefighter and farmer, all designed to give him a taste of what could be in his future. 

Even the pirate costume made for an interesting career possibility, although it was a traditional swashbuckler with jaunty cap and neckerchief, rather than a more realistic Somalian with an RPG.

"Look," I said, holding up a Spiderperson ensemble and some sort of man/bat hybrid. 

"Oh yes." replied my son, half-heartedly humouring me, before returning to study the intricacies of a chef's outfit.

I suppose this is because, at their tender age, a job is as far out a possibility as being a werewolf or a witch, so the costumes based on reality are just as exotic as those based on make-believe.

(Eventually, after profound and deep thoughts on the possibilities of shaping ones future through association, my son demonstrated his considerable grip on reality by deciding to be 'a ladybird'.)

There were even workplaces you could buy, such as plastic kitchens for the future chef, workshops for the potential engineer, laboratories for the wannabe scientist, engines for tomorrows mechanic and . . .

Oh dear.

"What did you learn today, son?"
"Burger flipping and a lazy way to spell 'through'. "

There is a tiny chance that this comes across as a bit snobby, and I would like to point out that, having been a burger flipper myself (and actually rather enjoyed the piss-poor life experience that it was), I feel I'm well within my rights to get all hoity-toity about this.

So there.

To be honest, a lot of the extravagant gifts you can get for your child seem a bit pointless to me, especially the ones that are basically toy buildings. Seeing as how all-consuming and complete their imaginations are at that age, you might as well throw a tarp over an old tent frame and that'll suffice as just about any structure their current universe requires.

Every time I come out of one of those toy emporiums having not bought something, I have the very odd feeling that my child has benefited somehow.

Not sure what their sales force would make of that oddly warped mindset.

We did consider buying some colourful plastic tat for my daughter, who is now a whole year old and has discovered the joys of lobbing things around.

Happily for her, we realised we didn't need to buy anything new for her to throw, because our naively positioned CD collection makes for excellent ammunition:

In my defence, the Terence Trent Derby CD is the missusses.

*Wanders off, humming "sign your name across mah heart . . ."*


  1. Your daughter's probably going to work for the NME some day . She's a serious critic. Does the NME even still exist? I think probably not. Who knows? Certainly not me.

    Also I always wonder who dreams up kids' toys. It's like adults don't have the first idea about kids' minds. They just seem to think "we'll make something plastic and bright enough to induce eye strain and they'll like it."

    Hey at least your son didn't want to dress up as "a lady". :)

  2. In my day we had rocks, and we liked them.

    To quote the jingle from the wise and venerable 'Ren and Stimpy'...
    'A log, a log, it's big it's heavy it's wood.'
    'A log, a log, it's better than bad, it's good.'

  3. I'm surprised that the geeks over at Apple haven't yet launched a 'dress-up' ap.

    I can remember dressing up in the mammy's shoes and oul hats when I was a boy, in fact all ten of her childer did exactly the same. Never did us any harm.

  4. Veggie Ass - Don't ask me. I was surprised that Top of the Pops isn't on anymore. I think kids minds get simpler (boys = wheels, girls = pink) after a while, possibly because we make them like that!

    Eric - That's great. I shall get a log. Do batteries come included?

    Jimmy - Only a matter of time. And regarding dress-up, I remember doing exactly the same. I really should start saving up some old clothes.

  5. Having been on the poor side when The Boy was a boy, he spent his early childhood in my heels, emptying the cupboards of pots and pans, and crawling in and out of empty cardboard boxes.

    He seems okay. For the most part.


  6. The only 'proper' costume I ever had was a rather sad version of one of Robin Hoods merry men for a Christmas Pageant Float a very, very long time ago. (weeks and weeks) My mummy made it for me and looking back I think of two things. Firstly that it was a rather camp costume of a rather camp character and secondly I thank whatever greater power there is that there were no pictures ever taken of me in that costume..
    I really like your daughters taste in music however...or rather, what she chooses to step on! (dont they grow fast!)

  7. Pearl - You see, you've only gone and cultivated his imagination and built some character. Made a rod for your own back there.

    Tempo - Sounds disgutingly cute! Judging by children's TV, camp is the order of the day for kids, now as well as then!

  8. I am like a moth to the toy store flame. But sentient. I know it will probably consume me but I can't resist picking up a toy for the kids. I try very hard these days to make them "worthwhile." We have make your own paper bead kit and magnifying glasses for insect examination.

    Still, they prefer the makeshift tent and the DVD collection.

    Say hi to ladybird.

  9. i'll have to ask the coconut krewe what they remember wearing for costumes. i do recall one halloween when the 4 of them and some friends did a variation on agatha christie's "10 little indians" story...each one was murdered by another, they were all zombies (make-up as well) and told each death tale when asked...can't remember who was the last one left...but i digress... yeah, they're all fine, now xoxoxo

  10. Nicole - Stay away from the flame! "But it's so beautifuuuuuul . . ."

    Savvy - I'm loving the ten little zombies take! You could try and outdo the previous zombie on the most gruesome demise.
    "Well, it started when somenone bet I couldn't chop myself in halves!"

  11. My mother would always tell the story of when I was a toddler, putting aside any toy I was playing with for the opportunity to push the vacuum cleaner around. I gave up my dreams to be a professional maid when I saw the uniform they wanted me to wear.

  12. I think that any outfit that doesn't consist of a tea towel tied over the head to look like a shepher or arab or a headscarf and big earrings to look like a gypsy are essentially CHEATING.

    That's not how they did it in my day etc etc

  13. I think half the problem is, they don't make costumes for kids, they make them for adults so the adults can say, 'oh my, don't you look CUTE!' while the kid is shuffling his feet thinking, 'you're fucking kidding, right?' or whatever kids think in kidspeak. Then again, our child isn't born yet, so I might just be talking out of my arse.

  14. SkylersDad - Not enough frills eh?

    Baglady - You're right, alhtough I am currently engaged in making a cardboard and tin-foil cutlass for a pirate's outfit that seems to be taking up far too much time and effort . . .

    tennysoneehemingway - I think that's a very good point. And these days, kidspeak is probable similar to adultspeak, only swearier.


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