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As we approach the gift-giving season, parents, what gifts do you cringe to see?

By Jaime McCutcheon
Published On: Nov 21 2013 08:44:11 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 11:03:17 PM CST
water beads jaime

We know how it starts, once upon a time, we were not yet parents but instead aunts or uncles or cousins or friends of someone who did have kids.  And on those kids' birthdays and at Christmas, we bought them the gifts that looked cool and fun, never thinking of the effects they could have on the parents.  We bought musical toys and loud toys and messy toys and slimy toys and toys that made us say 'phew, thank goodness that won't be in my house, but boy it looks fun!'

And then something happened.  We had kids of our own, and those family members or friends whose kids we had been buying gifts for, cool and noisy and slimy gifts for, looked at us and thought "payback time!"  I think there is only person who is truly eligible to "get me back."  She had two kids by the time I had my daughter, Georgia, and I'll admit I gave her daughters some "fabulous" presents at times.

Enter a little payback:

water beads 2

For my daughter's birthday, she gave my daughter some water pearls or jelly beads or whatever you want to call them.  They are basically these tiny little beads that, when put into water for a few hours, grow 10x their original size. 

Now I'll admit, these things are pretty cool, even I got into playing with them with my daughter.  They are a great sensory lesson for kids.  But then my daughter learned these little wet things bounce - and she bounced them all over the house.  I'll be finding them for months.  And then she learned she could squish them, and I had to pick the squished bits out of her hair all day.  And then she started scooping them with a spoon and decided to fill the top drawer of her dresser with them (the same top drawer where we had hidden her daddy's birthday presents).  And then she just started slinging them everywhere!

water beads 4

When I posted the above picture of my daughter playing with her new birthday present (and I know, she looks so happy with them - I get that), this is the conversation that ensued between me and a few of my family members:

From the person who gave the present: "You love me. Now the fun part - finding the opportunity to throw them away in the next few days without her noticing."

Me: "No... the fun part was trying to wipe the squished ones - the little, wet, sticky, slimy particles - off my table, my floor, her chair and the wall. :) Oh, and did I mention she took amazing delight in seeing how far they would bounce across the room. I'm going to be finding these little suckers everywhere for a while!!"

Another parent: "The evil Orbees! They're the only thing I hate more than bubbles and Play-doh... and Polly Pockets!"

Me: "Moon Dough... Moon Dough ranks way up there too... and I gave Emily a lot of it before I had a kid to teach me how horrible it is!"

Another parent: "You mean the amazing moldable, holdable, squishable, squashable dough that never dries out!? Yep, learned that lesson too."

So what did I learn?  Cool toy, but I'll save them for the summer when we can play with them OUTSIDE!!! 

What toys or other items given to your kids have you discovered soon become a headache or a lesson learned?