Ariel’s Head is Missing (and Other Toy Stories)

“Mommy, I can’t find Ariel’s head,” H says.

I know that her Ariel play set provides interchangeable heads on purpose: because the pieces are plastic and ridiculously tiny, and without them, there would be no way to change hairstyles. Of course, S has a Belle set, and after multiple trips to Disney World, our collection includes Jasmine and Aurora, too. Functional? Maybe. But it’s still pretty creepy to find an unattached doll head. And, with four dolls and eight heads, this happens more often than you’d think.

In fact, H and S have a few other toys that amuse me. Ariel’s Pool Party is actually a water toy intended for indoor play, outside of the bathtub. It says so on the box. Call me crazy, but I managed to convince my kids that it’s meant to be used with make-believe water. Thank goodness they can’t read yet.

And I’m on the fence about these Zhu-Zhu pets. I hate hamsters. The jungle animals and puppy versions are really cute though, until you enter all their accessories. Surfboards. Zip lines. Pizza shops. More tiny pieces I think I need a degree to put together.

Then there are Squinkies: super-tiny, rubber toys that live in plastic bubbles with dispensers in the form of cruise ships and castles. For some reason, I kind of like them, so in addition to dogs, cats, giraffes and birds, the girls have all of the Disney ones, with coordinating magic wands and carriages. Then there are bracelets, necklaces and rings they attach to. Oh boy. The dispensers fit like, 20 – and by now, we have a hundred. We’ve settled on clear plastic bins for organization’s sake, but I’m pretty sure Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Rapunzel’s chameleon and God-knows-who-else now reside in our central vacuum canister. Oops.

While we’re on the subject of princesses, what is with doll hair these days? Most of our dolls’ hair is stuck in a giant, frizzed-out knot. How glamorous. It gets combed out in wild hairballs and floats around our house and sticks to the carpet – and, my apologies – to visitors. (By the way, this is one of the reasons we don’t have a dog.) The worst offender is obviously the doll with the most hair.

“Can you fix Rapunzel’s hair?” a distressed S asks me on a daily basis.

I do my best, but usually, the brush rips about a quarter of her hair out – or I just about snap off her head trying to get the darn brush to go through it. Once, I attempted to remedy this by giving Rapunzel the end-of-the-movie, post-witch-showdown haircut. Only Flynn Rider is a much better hair stylist than I am, and my version looked ridiculous. And as S pointed out, “Her short hair is supposed to be brown!”

All things considered, H and S love these toys. They are some of the things they jump out of bed and go running for as soon as they wake up. I may not get it, but they sure do. And while they’re playing, I get to do awesome things, like dock my iPhone and listen to the Glee soundtrack while I mop the floor with my Swiffer Wet Jet.

Mommy’s toys. Isn’t it funny how life has changed?

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