Nobody told me that once I had a child, I'd be held hostage by a deranged assortment of toys, some too loud, others too sticky, some depressing and still others potentially dangerous. After chatting with more than 100 mothers in an online parenting group, I've come up with a list of consistently infuriating toys.
1. Talking baby walker: Unclear, frenetic identity
The baby push walker I have talks, sings and shouts out a barrage of cloying songs that will occupy space in my brain until the day I die. "It makes no sense," said Maggie Grady Wood, a mom from Tennessee. "A barn? A keyboard? A phone? What are you?" "Also, it's a complete failure as a walker," said Emily Hutson, an Oregon-based mom. Additional perks: It's huge and doesn't fold.
2. Slime: Destructive
Every toy company seems to have a branded blob of slime, but some go above and beyond by selling it in a 3-pound tub. Why? "I hate slime so much, and it's in every 'surprise' toy and now it's also all over my couch," said Anna Lane, of Los Angeles. You can have nice things or you can have slime, but you can't have both.
3. Ant farm: Depressing
I considered getting my son an ant farm, until Amanda Wallace, a mom of two in San Diego, shared her tale: "I thought it'd be fun to watch their little society build," she said. "Instead, it became a daily reminder of the Sisyphean futility of life as they slowly buried their dead until there was one ant left wandering a horrorscape alone, wishing for the sweet embrace of death to take her, too."
4. Play-Doh: Destroyer of nice things
Before I had a child, I gave my niece a rainbow rack of Play-Doh. "Gee, thanks," my sister said sarcastically. I was confused. What kind of monster dislikes Play-Doh? Today, I'm that monster, infuriated by the dried crumbs that are encrusted onto the expensive things I've worked hard for. And Hasbro knows it — their website offers a long list of cleanup tips.
5. Glitter shaker: Eternal
Those tiny, loose, hell flakes get stuck in floor cracks, between eyelashes and on fabric. We've banished the stuff from our lives. "As an art teacher, I avoid glitter," said Kelly Jones, a Los Angeles mom. The sentiment is spreading; it's used in my child's school projects less and less. Good riddance.
Jessica Delfino is a mom, writer, comedian and author of "Dumb Jokes for Smart Folks."