We have an in-joke in our social circle. When your kid’s first birthday rolls around you, and while you’re distracted by finding the perfect Barney-themed cupcakes and a party clown who doesn’t eat small children in his spare time, the rest of us are playing Who Can Find the World’s Noisiest Present™!
You only get caught out when you’ve had that first baby – after that onslaught of Barbie’s Karaoke Party microphone, My First Drum Kit and plastic keyboards from China, you can consider yourself properly initiated.
Still, there are noisy toys. And then there is Smart Talk Robot, an android buddy that Santa dropped off for the Lionheart last year. This robot is loud; SHOUTY CAPS LOUD. So loud that I confiscated him and placed him on the kitchen counter where little hands can’t (quite) reach.
Mr Robot creeps me out while I’m chopping mushrooms and what-not on the counter. I keep waiting for his eyes to light up red like in the Terminator, or some kind of microwave death ray to shoot out from behind his plastic visor.
After seven days of school holidays, it’s become necessary to put Mr Robot back in the hands of the trouble brothers before they spontaneously combust of boredom.
The good news is, they've been suitably distracted. The bad news is: Travis has managed to change the language settings to Spanish, so now there’s a beeping, booping killer robot rolling around my house going: “¿Dónde está el círculo rojo?” or “Where is the red circle?” which I find ironic given my earlier Terminator reference.
In other news, now that Travis and Ryan have methodically smashed every singly lamp and it’s light bulb in our household, the Lionheart has discovered: light switches.
He particularly likes to flick the kitchen light on and off. The only problem is that the kitchen light switch and the switch for the back garden lights are on the same panel.
So our neighbours – and we live in a complex, y’all – were treated to a little light fantastic at 3AM this morning as the Lionheart household lit up like it was Christmas in a Texas middle-class suburb. It took me a good 15 minutes to get out of bed and investigate.
And frankly, I’m disappointed the security guard didn’t check in with us. Because if the lights were flashing on and off in my neighbour’s home at 3am, I would assume that they were sending an SOS. Or building a Frankenstein in their loft.
So how are you keeping your kids busy these holidays, or do they go to one of those awesome playschools that stay open?