As our kid just had his first holiday season in which he was capable of doing more than simply laying still and drooling upon himself, I can now safely say that I fear his grandparents are going to spoil the living daylights out of him. He wound up receiving more toys than we know what to do with.
I can also now safely say that it is my firm belief that those responsible for designing the packaging of children’s toys ought to be drawn and quartered. There are still a couple of items that I haven’t yet determined how to extricate from their packages without breaking them.
One of the items that hasn’t had packaging issues is something called the “Chicco Talking Garden Activity Table.” While a technologically amazing and I am sure quite educational toy, it is also deeply creepy. It speaks in both male English and female Spanish voices.
The English voice is, for lack of a better term, bizarre. Plus, one of the first things our son began playing with on it was the caterpillar. When the caterpillar is pushed back and forth in English mode, it says in its twisted genteel-but-somehow-vaguely-effete-fake-Southern-accent-meets-fake-British-accent, “I am the garden caterpillar,” among other things. However, the word “garden” is pronounced more like “gah-den.” Our son quickly figured out that if he pushes the caterpillar back and forth rapidly enough, the table will say what sounds like “I am the God — I am the God — I am the God — I am the God . . .” over and over again.
He thinks it’s funny. Actually, I agree.
The Spanish voice is more normal sounding — except for one instance. When the circle of bees on the table is spun around in Spanish mode, it begins to speak in multiple squeaky little bee voices of varying high pitches simultaneously. The overall effect is somehow vaguely demonic. My wife, who studied abroad in Spain and majored in Spanish in college, as yet hasn’t been able to completely figure out what the bees are supposed to be saying. My knowledge of Spanish is non-existent, but I’m pretty sure the bees are saying the following:
“Hello. We are the bees who swallow your soul through a straw. Our name is legion. ‘Knocking on windows, looking in doors, we need to take seven and we might take yours. Can’t call to mom, can’t say a word, you’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.’ Redrum! REDRUM!”
Or something to that effect.
At any rate, I am now going downstairs to take another stab — emphasis on the word stab — at trying to detach our son’s talking globe from the last piece of box that stubbornly remains tethered to it.