Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buying Toys For A 2-Year-Old Boy: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier tonight, my friends Elly and Jeremy threw a birthday party for their son Max, who turned 2 years old. As such, I had to buy Max a birthday present.

Over the years, I've learned that there are two rules adults must follow when buying birthday presents for kids:

1) Adult males must buy the gifts for boys.

This is a vital, vital rule. Simply put, adult females can be horrible at buying gifts for little boys. They buy clothes, puzzles, books and educational items, and truth be told, they're all boring. Little boys want toys, pure and simple. They like what they want, not what they need.

And 2) You have to buy something that you would like yourself.

If you wouldn't play with it, the little boy isn't going to play with it. Toys for little boys are, and should be, uncomplicated. When it comes to toys for little boys, it's pretty black and white. They're either really cool and fun and are things that make noises and are cool to bang together...

...or they're puzzles.

There's no middle ground. :-)

So it was filled with this knowledge that I visited my good friends at Toys R Us to buy toys for 2-year-old Max. And oh, was I a kid in a candy store!! If you're a guy and you're an adult, you want to feel young again? Go to Toys R Us. It's filled with the coolest things!! Action figures, cars, trucks, Legos, soccer balls, things you can bounce on. It seriously is Disneyland without the lines.

Now, shopping for a 2-year-old boy can admittedly be a tad tricky. See, 2 is an awkward age for kids' toys. The toys for kids ages 4 and up are too big for him, and the toys for kids ages 1 and up are lame and made of foam. But here's the secret: Go for the toys for kids ages 3 and up. Kids today are advanced, beyond what you and I were at that age. So the way I see it, what's good for 3-year-olds are good for 2-year-olds as well.

Makes sense, right?

So I found a Toys R Us saleswoman, got her attention, and said the following:

Cars. Trucks. Star Wars action figures. Point the way.

First were the cars. This was pretty simple. You can't go wrong with Hot Wheels or Matchbox. They're small, they come 3 or 5 to a pack, they look cool, and you can bang them together multiple times before they break. Toy cars are timeless. I liked them when I was 2 and I liked them now. How could Max not like these?

Then we went to the Star Wars section. And boy, have Star Wars toys come a long way!! In my day, you could buy Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Chewie, Han Solo, and one of the random bad guys in the white outfit whose name escapes me now. Now? You have 76,829 items to choose from. And among them are little tiny Yodas and Jedis made for little tots like Max!! How could these not be a hit?

But the biggest thrill was the trucks. Did you know these things talk now? It's the coolest thing ever!! You press a button and the truck stands up and says 9 different things!! It's the greatest toy on Earth. I'm not ashamed to say it: I played with the talking truck I bought for Max before I gave it to him. That's right, I said it. I played with a toy truck, and I'm 30.

Hell, I'm kind of bummed I didn't buy one myself. :-(

As I loaded up my arms with all these goodies, I saw a couple -- a man and a woman, both in their mid 30s -- walk through the truck aisle. The man was looking at some of the trucks I was looking at earlier when the woman screamed at him from behind:

We're buying him clothes, Hector!! My friend's son is only 3!! He needs clothes!!

I looked at the woman. She had a look of insistence, uncaring and non-understanding.

I looked at the man. He had a look of sadness, looking at the trucks, looking at me with my arms full of the toys that both he and the other little boy would love. And I'm telling you: The light went out from his eyes.

This is what war must feel like, when you see a brother-in-arms die.

One last story about this:

At the birthday party, little Max opened my gifts early on. He loved my gifts, especially the talking truck, which was a huge hit.

The next gift he opened were clothes.

He tossed the orange shirt and matching shorts aside.

And went back to the talking truck.

The next gift he opened was one of those musical toys that sang the alphabet.

He handed the gift to a friend of mine.

And went back to the talking truck.

The next gift he opened was a puzzle and storage unit.

He looked at it as if to say:

What the %$#@&%$*@ is this?

And went back to the talking truck.

The talking truck was cool.

It says nine things.

I want one.


And now for this week's:


Think it's bad when people go a bit nuts after their team wins the NBA championship? Read this:

Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show.

"He said, 'No, I want to watch soccer,'" police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said Thursday. "That is when the argument came about.

"In that argument, they started assaulting him."

Malefo said Makoeya got up to change the channel by hand after being refused the remote control and was attacked by his 68-year-old wife Francina and two children, 36-year-old son Collin and 23-year-old daughter Lebogang.

When it comes to the "psychotic fans" department, Lakers fans have nothing on soccer.

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