We had an early birthday party for G yesterday. About fifteen children came and a few parents stayed; it was good fun and the zipwire in the garden was very popular, as were the activities I’d planned. It was more children than I’ve invited to parties before, but – granted with some help from a couple of friends – I probably felt happier with the result than I have done with any other party in the past.
Anyway, after the party come the presents. Lots of big, shinily-wrapped boxes, as is the way here. Filled with toys from China, which they all love here for some reason.
This was the first to be opened:
Ooh, what is it? It’s got a track and ramps and a little car, could be nice. It’s a carwash. You put the car in one end, use a lever to move it along, push a button to spray it with water, another button to turn it round, another lever to move it out through the foam drier things. Something like that. Of course, it broke within two minutes of coming out of the box. Something right in the middle of the tunnel, which it’s impossible to get to because you can’t take the tunnel apart. Daddy tinkered for a while, but as far as I can tell it’s still broken.
By this time, it was half an hour past G’s bedtime, so the remaining presents were deferred till morning. Nice way to ensure a brief lie-in for me, while the kids opened and inspected what they could! Here’s the first I saw when I got up:
A spiderman mask, spiderman action figure (legs not attached, either that or G had already pulled them off and broken the feet by the time I got up? I blame China myself), spiderman sword (does Spiderman even have a sword??), two little soft plastic spiders (lovely, will no doubt find L chewing on one in a day or two and have a brief panic while I investigate if it’s real or toy) and a bit of yellow string. I’m assuming the string came with this toy, some webbing for the mini-spiderman to throw, maybe. I’ve made him a skipping rope.
Next up… a jigsaw puzzle.
Have to say that I wasn’t expecting this – I have heard from teachers here more than once that jigsaws are something they just don’t do at home here, and the type of reasoning involved is very difficult for the children when they first come across them. Unfortunately, this one creased coming out of the packaging, it’s so flimsy. It looks a little on the tough side for G, all greens and browns, but I’ll have a go with him and see what we can do. If the pieces were twice or three times as thick, it could be a good puzzle, given a few months maybe. But I don’t think they’re going to last that long. Shame.
Next, something to channel G’s aggression away from L. It’s apparently a punchbag toy. Nice.
Next we have three cars and a little track.
Having played with the children’s playmobil trees and ELC cars, I know this stuff is flimsy in comparison and going to break in no time. But one of the cars has survived a 5cm drop from L’s hand without breaking, so I may be being unnecessarily pessimistic! They are cute and it’s not a bad little toy (for something made in China) and actually L spent a happy ten or fifteen minutes pushing one of the cars round on the floor this afternoon, so I can’t be too harsh.
Now the next toy has to be heard to be believed. Unfortunately, I can’t load videos onto my blog without paying some silly sum to WordPress. (Maybe I should start up a fund and see who wants to hear this remote control car enough that they will pay something towards it?) I tried taking a photo with the flashing lights, but they don’t show clearly. Nearly every part of the car lights up red or blue, while very loud (I was going to say music) noise accompanies. “No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there’s no limit, left, left, right, right, left left, right right, go go go!” – you get the idea.
Anyway, we put the battery they’d helpfully included in the box into the remote, switched remote and car on (“no no, no no no no …”) and – no movement. This car is supposed to do tricks and stuff, the instructions say so: you can see for yourself below.
No, I don’t know what it means, either, but it sounds like it could be fun!
Anyway, the lack of movement was not well-received by the children. E suggested the car might need charging. I pointed out that it was happily singing at top volume (“there’s no limit…”), but wondered if she might be right. Movement uses more power than lights and music, doesn’t it? So she plugged it in, having read that it needs six hours to charge fully.
It was only an hour later that I read this…
Do you see it? Right there, under “Chrging”, point 3. “Set the power switch to ON… otherwise charging is not possible.”
Set power to ON.
“No no, no no no no, no no no no…”
For SIX HOURS.
By the way, I found this present still unopened when G left for school.
Beautiful. And too tastefully wrapped in comparison with all the others to attract a child’s eye, clearly.