The fact that babies require constant entertainment and new parents will pretty much buy anything if you throw the words ‘aids development’ into the product description has led to an apparently bottomless market for expensive toys which manufacturers claim will help make your baby better than all the other babies its age.
These toys are approximately the size of a family car but, unlike a hatchback, they have to be inside your house. If you’re thinking ‘oh no, that means I wont have room for my tv any more’, don’t worry. They make so much noise that you wont be able to hear your tv anyway. The person who creates the noises for baby toys apparently made a pact with the devil which enabled him or her to fabricate a sound so grating it will make you think wistfully about forks scraping on plates or that time Katie Price and Peter Andre had a song.
One of the most popular of these plastic, light-up, electronic-sound-making monstrosities is the Fisher-Price Jumperoo, which starts at around £75.
We recently bought one for M, hoping that she’d enjoy it, but moreso that it would buy us ten minutes here and there to do things like eat or check Google for stories about Jumperoo-related baby deaths.
Fortunately, it’s more of a success than the baby bouncer. Last time I tried the bouncer she immediately tore down the visually stimulating toys, tried to fit the toy arch in her mouth, then, upon realising this would not be possible, screamed until I removed her.
However, while she does love the fact the Jumperoo lets her jump up and down without our help, she has so far entirely rejected all of its toys, regardless of how much they spin, bleep, flash, and generally behave like a teeny-weeny Vegas strip.
No, M has three things she likes to do in the Jumperoo: 1) bash anything within reach with a £2 wooden worm I bought at a garden centre 2) sit transfixed by an old Coke bottle filled with water and glitter 3) crinkle and suck on pieces of greaseproof paper.
If we have a second baby, I think I’ll just save the contents of the cardboard recycling bin, tip it on the floor and chuck the kid in the middle of it.