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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Battery Operated Toys Can Go Suck an Egg

It's pretty much unavoidable: if you have kids, you have a house full of battery-operated toys.  You have so many of them you'll probably need to get a second job, since your household now consumes batteries at the rate of eight metric tons per day.  And batteries ain't cheap - this is mobile, wireless electricity, people.  I dare you to not be impressed with the technology behind batteries.  They're certainly not at fault here.

But do you want to know something else that's unavoidable?  I'll tell you.  The sounds that emanate from those battery-operated toys will start off sounding lively and cheerful, but soon the same chirping songs and cutesy baby animal noises that once seemed so playful and entertaining will start to jangle against every nerve in your body.  Every time your kid plays with that toy, your ears will feel like they're being flossed with barbed wire.  You'll note a spike in blood pressure; your eye will begin to twitch.

Then one day it happens.  The musical voice urging your child to "COUNT  with me" for the eleventy thousandth time will finally bore a hole through your scull and activate a section of your brain that had previously lain dormant, an area that controls the desire to smash inanimate objects with a crowbar and bury them in a shallow grave next to Dora.

At least that's my experience.

And that's when they're working properly.

When Jake was a baby, he had a ride-on fire truck toy with (of course) multiple sound effects.  He rarely rode on it, but he did use it as a mobile step-ladder so he could more easily access the kitchen countertops.  One day when I was being particularly inattentive, he managed to procure a can of Diet Coke and pour it onto his fire truck.  I'm no engineer, but my guess is that Diet Coke isn't good for electronics, because later the stupid thing scared me half to death by suddenly screaming "LET'S PUT THE FIRE OUT!" repeatedly all by itself in the middle of the night.

That experience should have taught me something.  I should have remembered that night, and known that I didn't need to be nervous a few nights ago when I was awoken by a sudden, shrill screech coming from Zoe's room.  It sounded like the smoke alarm might be going off in her dollhouse, but that seemed unlikely.  I stumbled out of bed to track down the source of the incessant squeal, hoping to get it to SHUT UP before I Hulked out and went all crowbar-y on something.  Meanwhile, part of my subconscious remained alert as I skulked through the dark house, on the off chance there was a psychopath hiding behind one of the doors, waiting to pounce.
I would like to interrupt myself here to admit something - I have an imaginary theater audience that follows me around sometimes.  Whenever I do something that seems even remotely like I could be having an "I'm Going To Go Investigate That Noise In the Woods While Wearing This Flimsy White Nightie and Carrying a Candle" horror movie moment, my audience appears like a guardian angel on my shoulder, screaming, "No, don't go in there,  you idiot!" or, "He's right behind you - turn around, turn around!"  I try to ignore them, but they just seem so eager to help.  Plus it would be really annoying to meet an untimely demise while an imaginary audience was there shaking their heads, saying, "We tried to tell you, dummy."
Anyway, it seemed far fetched that a murderer would try to lure me into my daughter's closet with such an irritating sound, but anything's possible at 2 AM, especially to a person who's still a teensy bit afraid that her TV could spontaneously turn on at any moment and the girl from The Ring could crawl out.  So my horror movie audience, while cautiously optimistic, was on orange alert.

Luckily, there wasn't a serial killer in Zoe's room wielding a handheld tornado alarm, and I didn't have to look too far before I found the problem.


A stupid MLB organizer that we got last year at a garage sale had evidently almost  reached the end of its battery life, and had activated its last defense mechanism before shutting down and erasing all of the (nonexistent) contact information stored within.  Thankfully, although the battery access door was guarded by fifty screws, each one roughly the size of a small splinter, I was able to bypass it by just smashing the device hard enough to make it shut up.  No crowbar required.

I am sorry to report, however, that Fairy Barbie and the Cabbage Patch Kid were permanently deafened and will probably never recover from the traumatic epileptic seizures caused by their close proximity to the shrieking toy.  Which is too bad, really - they were the only toys we had left that didn't require batteries.


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24 comments:

  1. Ha! A Cabbage Patch Doll with seizures?? I think I'm going to cry!!!

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  2. Ugh! Battery operated toys are horrible! My ex husband's aunt used to buy our kids the WORST of the WORST.

    Now, she has grandchildren. I return the favor ;)

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  3. Kelley - I know, right? After I took that picture, it just looked to me like the dolls had completely wigged out. I can't blame them - it WAS really loud. And annoying.

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  4. Kimberly - isn't that the worst, when they're a gift? I can say this because it's nothing I wouldn't say to her face, but my mom got my kids a TERRIBLE little round ball of fur that was supposed to be a dog (I think), which sang and vibrated when it hit something, thus encouraging my kids to make noise AND throw things. Needless to say it quickly found its way to the back of the closet, buried under old Halloween costumes and educational junk.

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  5. Nothing's worse than a battery operated toy that is running out of batteries, when they really sound possesed!

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  6. Agreed, Amanda. I confess that to avoid it, I've gone so far as to pretend some of the kids' toys don't take batteries, even when they do. Unfortunately they're a tad too old to still fall for that one.

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  7. We actually DON'T have a ton of battery operated toys in our house. And I LIKE it that way. ;) Sometimes when they DO come in the house, they somehow go missing. And I like THAT too. ;)

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    1. Oh Missy, I am SO jealous! I couldn't say how many we actually have, but I bet it's not as many as it sounds like. :)

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  8. BAHAHA! Great post! Had to replace the SIX AA batteries in singing Elmo tonight as he was misfiring all over the place and that was worse than hearing him say, "elmo rocks" for the bazillionth time!

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    1. I don't know about you, Candice, but I think half the problem is coming up with the right KIND of battery. It never fails - if we need As, all we have are AA. And SIX??? That's criminal.

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  9. I have a freaken toy of my sons that does the same thing. Annoying! We are constantly replacing batteries ALL the time!! hope to se e you on the ilnk up this week:) Have a fantastic weekend Robyn!

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    1. Whether it's one toy or 20, it always seems like a million!

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  10. I seriously laughed so hard while reading this!!! I'm alone, or else I'm sure my fiance would have given me a few stink eyes -- not that I would have even noticed while reading this :) I found this from the mommyhood chronicles and loved it :) I am now following your blog, and I hope to laugh like this again soon. Here is a link to my blog the happily ever after project

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  11. Hey Rachel Marie, I'm so glad you came by and that you got a good laugh - that always makes me feel good :)

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  12. i slept through the screaming toy thing? sweet. i don't say this enough, but reading your blog is one of the things i look forward to most during the week. i think you're funny and insightful, which i think are rare things to find paired together. plus, you're an excellent writer. oh, and plus plus, you're MINE. bwahahahaha! ilu

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  13. ha! so, i write that comment and hit the "publish" button, and then i realize that the dealio was logged on under your account. ha. so, i went to edit and deleted it and did it all over again under mine. dumb. ;)

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  14. i slept through the screaming toy thing? sweet. i don't say this enough, but reading your blog is one of the things i look forward to most during the week. i think you're funny and insightful, which i think are rare things to find paired together. plus, you're an excellent writer. oh, and plus plus, you're MINE. bwahahahaha! ilu

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  15. Let this be a lesson to the Blogoverse - Third Party and I sometimes comment under each other's names because we forget to see who's logged in before we start typing. That'll explain why Obama gets so much mail from me and mommy/humore blogs get so many odd comments from some political guy.

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  16. Too funny. We have a Thomas Train that I swear is possessed. It starts chugging randomly in the middle of the night. Of course I always forget to turn it to the off switch!

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  17. Sarah, how do they ALWAYS KNOW when it's the middle of the night? Half the time the buttons won't work during the day when the toy's supposed to be doing its job (distracting the children from asking me for things), but as soon as everyone falls asleep they decide to mouth off (that goes for the toys AND the kids).

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  18. This is fantastic!!! So funny.

    What creeps me out more than the screeching is the dying, melting voice-box sounds a toy near the end of its battery life gets.

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  19. I couldn't agree more, Nicole! It's way too creepy. I just unearthed one of the older kid's baby toys and, forgetting it plays music and has 8-year-old batteries in it, gave it to Maddie. She pushed the button (which is supposed to trigger an upbeat tune on the car's radio) & my husband likened the sound to "a dying cow trying to sing."

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  20. I loved this post when I read before. I think it is perfect choice for #findingthefunny. Thanks for linking up!

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  21. Thanks for coming back, Kelley! :)

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