Creepy Toys

Jaxson has so many toys…they seem to increase exponentially with his age, until our floor is covered with balls, blocks, stuffed animals, and a wide variety of singing/talking/dancing/bouncing toys.

We have a toy that’s like a table with all sorts of levers, buttons, and goodies on it that Jax likes to stand at and play. It sings the ABC song and lights up and fills the world with magic. We also have a miniature workbench with a hammer rattle and colored shape “nails” that light up and sing. There’s an elephant that cycles through letters of the alphabet and has a bunch of doors and buttons to press to show different things starting with that letter. He got a basketball hoop for Christmas that sings to you when you make a basket and there’s the Puppy toy with sensitive paws/ears/tummy/toes, barking and singing and talking at the slightest touch.

Every night when Jax is getting ready for bed, whichever one of us is not giving him his bath cleans up the toys scattered across the living room. Blocks are found under couches and balls are found in the hallways from rolling under the baby gates. Everything small enough gets piled in a laundry basket and put against the wall to wait for Jaxson to come play the next morning. The big toys get lined up against the walls and turned OFF.

We didn’t always turn them off at night, or during nap time, but now its a requirement. For some reason these seemingly harmless toys take a dark turn when left unattended. In the still of the house, quiet without his laughter and babbling, these toys come to life. And I’m not talking Doc McStuffins-like coming to life.

At 3 AM, the last thing you want to hear is someone saying “hello” to you in the still of the night. A few weeks ago we woke up this way and looked at each other, bleary-eyed from the rude awakening and listening to the darkness for the mysterious noise. We didn’t hear anything and so laid back down to go back to sleep. Then we heard it again! We peeked into the living room, half-hoping to see Jax sitting there playing but alas, all the toys were in their place and no one (not even the cat) was around to be blamed. The next day, J happened to be playing with the table toy with Jaxson and found that the table was missing a piece and that there was a small button that would say “hello” and “goodbye” if you pressed it. At least we found out where the voice was coming from, and we made sure to turn it off at night to avoid further midnight heart attacks.

Time went on without another toy incident until the other day. Jaxson had just gotten up from his nap and the Puppy toy was in his room. As J was feeding Jax, she heard the Puppy say something from his room. She called out, “That’s not funny!” A moment passed and she heard something again “Stop messing around!” she called again. You know the sound toys make as their batteries are dying, that slow and unsettling drawling voice of doom? Well right after she said that she heard the slow creepy toy voice say, “Peekaboo, I see you!” She was officially unnerved for the rest of the day.

Now, we turn off every toy before naptimes and bedtime for peace of mind. Unfortunately, even though we are diligent in doing this, one toy manages to escape notice every so often. And it is those nights that we are woken in the night by “Hello!” or “Peekaboo!” and are scared to death before hastily jumping out of bed to turn the damn thing off. These toys aren’t necessarily creepy during the daytime (its not like its one of those dolls with the eyes that open and close when you lay it down or pick it up – *shudder*), but for some reason they wait until its totally silent before turning on the creep factor.

If I wrote a parenting book, this would definitely be a tip I’d share:

It is advisable to turn off all toys when not in use. It will save you gray hair and cardiac arrest, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Unless of course you enjoy being awoken by a robotic voice drawling “Peekaboo I see you!” from outside of your bedroom. Your call, but don’t say you weren’t warned.