With six children, I have found it to be very time-efficient and cost-effective to have more than one birthday party in a day. It makes for a day of chaos, but I have to rent only one jumping thing, one snow-cone machine and one cotton-candy maker, and we get to celebrate a few birthdays in one fun-filled day.
My daughters Moira, now 9, and Elspeth, now 7, and my son Finn who turned 5, have birthdays close together, and the other day was birthday party day. We had just said goodbye to the last of what seemed like 1,000 party guests, all of whom ended up inside because of the rain. The big day was a success, and I could finally relax and put my feet up. WRONG!
There is a downside to all of the festivities: the packaging that the toys come wrapped in.
Are toy makers concerned that Barbie might escape? What is the deal with all the twist ties around her ankles, wrists and neck? And where on earth did they find that super-strong plastic that holds her hair down? Forget duct tape; this stuff is stronger than that. The government should use this for warfare, maybe wrap some of the Hummers in it.
Can’t Get to the Scissors!
The CDs Moira got are wrapped twice in plastic, and when I finally got through that, three sides of the CD case were sealed shut. Where exactly do they think the CD is going to roll off too? I would use the new scissors I just bought to open the packaging, but I can’t get into the package to get the scissors out. The plastic is so tough I cut my hand trying to remove the scissors.
I Need an Engineer to Open That!
My son got a toy car that is bolted to the thickest cardboard ever made, and I can’t get the plastic on the wheel off without unscrewing the wheel. I broke one toy trying to get it out of the packaging, and I can only hope my son doesn’t notice that his Red Power Ranger is missing an arm. The twist ties around the rest of his action figures are twisted in such a crazy way that I will have to get my father, the engineer, to come over and help navigate the untwisting.
The Instructions are Ridiculous!
And the gifts that need assembling…What exactly do you do with that extra screw that is always left in the pile? I put together one thing that said I needed to wash my hands after assembly because some of the material had lead in it, and that lead was found to be harmful if ingested in California. Wow, thank goodness we live in Florida! Have you ever read the instructions that come with toys? In the Lite Brite instructions, it warns that the light bulb gets hot. Really?
Have your Equipment Ready!
I have learned the hard way that you have to be prepared with scissors, a wire-cutter and the tiniest screwdriver you can find. Oh, and don’t forget the batteries. You will need enough to fill GI Joe’s Army truck. As I continue the marathon of unsealing plastic and trying to figure out which way to turn the twist ties, I just have one question: Why are all these toys bolted down and wrapped in super strong plastic while the light bulbs I just bought are wrapped in paper-thin cardboard?
About the Author
Blythe Newsome is a radio show host, columnist, motivational speaker, and single mother of six children ages 5,7,9,11,13,and 15. While a morning radio show host, her family was featured on an episode of the Supernanny in 2008. The reality of this single mom who over an 18 month period faced divorce, death, losing a home, and starting a new career touched the hearts of many. Her story and letting America see what hides underneath her couch cushions made her family one of “America’s Most Memorable Families” from the show. In March 2010, producers from the ABC show invited the family to film the 100th episode and let people see how far this family had come.
When not at the radio station or playing the role of nurse, teacher, chef, referee, taxi driver, coach, or housekeeper, she writes a column called Flirting with Forty. Her story is the journey of how she takes her life back.