Toys And Why We Need An Extra Room

By: James Brown

The world as we know it is really messed up. Mattel and Fisher Price, the very people who brought us Tickle-Me-Elmo as the toy of the season last Christmas, have allowed some of America's babies to play with and put in their little mouths, toys painted with lead paint. I do accept the explanation that their executives set guidelines for the factory owners in China. Part of the directive was don't use lead paint, however someone should have followed up on that. This is not a case of putting the wrong labels on clothing and not having it fit the American baby. This is an extreme danger to the little toddlers. How ironic that parents are buying educational toys - that may cause brain damage if - change that to when - they put them in their mouths. It will be some time before the company regains the trust of the American public.

On the positive side, Fisher Price/Mattel has brought us that amazing Tickle-Me-Elmo. He can laugh, kick his feet in the air after falling on his back. He can then roll over and stand up all by himself. He even does a somersault. All this with one arm attached to his body. Did I mention that he can talk. I cannot praise him enough for his comedic value.

Back to the negative. That Barbie is still a sexy little thing for the three to seven year old set. Sure her hair is beautiful and I believe she dumped Ken last year, but she still has her feet permanently ready to slip in to high heels. She has definitely raised her aspirations from wanting to settle down in her townhouse with Ken and drive around in her convertible with her hair flowing behind her. Barbie has evolved into a modern girl. You will find her on the shelf at your favorite store wearing her white lab coat as she cares for animals in her Veterinarian persona. She has appeared as a teacher, on horseback, as a gymnast, a ballet dancer as well as modeling her annual Christmas outfit. You can buy her dressed in costumes representing countries around the world. Barbie loves Tickle-Me-Elmo as much as the kids do. She comes packaged with a little copy of him. She wears a picture of him on her shirt and carries a purse with him peeking from the front of it and his face is on her belt buckle. He giggles when you press his tummy just as the big acrobatic one does. The only warning on the box says "WARNING May Cause Uncontrollable Laughter." I hope that indicates we don't have to worry about lead paint on this toy.

Let's create a fictitious little girl about six years old. For fun we'll name her Ruby Doo. She loves her Elmos (and I say Elmos since there is the first Elmo from ten years ago, the Chicken Dance Elmo, the Hokey Pokey Elmo who sits next to the Elmo who simply is stuffed and soft and looks cute. He must be named old-fashioned Elmo. She lines them up and plays with one every now and then.

This week though it is her Barbie doll house and little sister Chrissy who keep her busy. I'm not sure which companies make all the craft toys but they are wonderful and she loves making things with them. But the latest advance that has mothers sighing with relief is the finger painting book which sells with paint that won't show up except on the paper it was intended to show up on. I think it is made by Crayola. I don't know how she or he did it but the employee who invented this deserves a big raise. From the mothers of America, we don't know what your name is but thank you - thank you - thank you..

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