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Toys send kids the wrong message

The baby doll was wrong.
That’s baby doll the baby doll, not babydoll the nightie. Just wanted to clear things up before being banned from Sunday school discussion groups … again. And shame on you.
But, yeah, it was wrong.
I wasn’t holding the doll like a toddler would – by the foot, banging its head off the floor as I walked across the room; but like an adult would – strategically, like it may suddenly throw up on me.
As it sat there, its wide open, cold blue eyes stared knowingly at me like it would get me in my sleep. But when I laid it down, its eyes closed, the face turned placid and it appeared to sleep the sleep of the heavily medicated.
That’s what was wrong, I realized. The doll calmly accepted sleep. Babies don’t really work like that.
Babies, 1) always have that “I’ll get you in your sleep” look whether they’re awake or not – and they usually mean it, and 2) laying a baby down only means one thing – it’s not going to stay there. The baby might roll to the nearest neighbor’s house and demand Ding Dongs, or storm the Chinese embassy, but sleep isn’t even on the map.
Why aren’t kids’ toys more realistic? I wondered. That way children will be prepared when life sits on their head.
Electronic dolls don’t scream “no” then rub soggy crackers into the carpet. Action figures aren’t anatomically correct (and by that I mean their fingers never fit up their nose), and a Matchbox car can jump a ditch all afternoon and never screw up its suspension.
That’s not real life.
Parents, we need to force the toy industry to fix this mess before our children grow up with unrealistic expectations about how the world works and, when their Mattel Utopia explodes like a mouth full of Pop Rocks, they’ll never move away from home.
We can’t have that.
We need for Playskool to come out with the Junior Handyman Whack-A-Thumb 3000, Fisher-Price to offer Baby Poop-in-the-Tub and Milton Bradley to unveil the ultimate board game, “Dead End Job.”
Kids need to understand life’s not toy-box fun; it’s something that gets in the way of fun.
Instead of Batman, how about a That’s My Dad action figure, complete with boxer shorts, a socket set and high blood pressure.
What demographic, I wonder, do the Bratz dolls represent? The “Like Hell You’ll Go Out in Public Looking Like That” demographic? Dads only want their teenager daughters to dress one way – in a burka. Deal with it or you won’t get the car this weekend.
And who’s in charge of all the plastic tools? What can you do with plastic tools? Build a bench? Cut a board? Defuse a bomb? No. Plastic tools are only good for hitting your sister.
Yes, fellow parents, we need to petition toy manufacturers to make things realistic for our children’s sake. And if somebody loses a thumb or two … eh, it’s a learning experience.

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or tsup.truman.edu. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.

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