I was surprised to find a new Parents magazine in my mailbox the other day. Though it pains me to do so, I’ve decided to let all my magazine subscriptions expire, and I thought I’d reached the end of all of them.

[Yes, not too long ago, I had subscriptions to Parents, Parenting, Taste of Home and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Oh, and Family Fun. I think that’s all.]

I love magazines, but I read through them in about 30 minutes and then toss them in the recycling. Not exactly the best use of my money. (As opposed to my husband’s car magazines, which reside in our . . . well, in a room of the house for many, many days.)

Anyway, I finally opened up this unexpected issue of parenting advice, and I saw the news: Mr. Potato Head is turning 60 this year.

Seeing that, I remembered that most people apparently love the Potato Heads. The Hasbro website even calls them, “endearing potato pals that have captured the hearts, imaginations and laughter of kids for generations.”

I might have agreed with that, had my child not received a Mrs. Potato Head a couple years ago. After all, I have pleasant memories of playing with an old potato head doll at my grandma and grandpa’s house. Those memories tend to be fuzzy, blurred with cousins I now only see at holidays and retro colors that actually still cover my grandma’s house. But we had fun with Mr. Potato Head. I think.

And maybe we did. But the Mrs. Potato Head we have? She is an annoying, pointless piece of plastic.

There. I said it. I don’t like Mr. – or Mrs. – Potato Head. The plastic parts are so stiff that it takes forever – and elbow grease that a small child certainly does not possess – to stick the parts into the potato. And once you finally get them in there? Then what? You have a potato head with weird features, appendages and accessories and it does . . . what? Nothing.

And don’t get me started on the fact that all those pieces – the ones that came together in one box – don’t even all fit on our stupid lady potato.

Don’t be lecturing me about creativity, either. I get it. We could pretend that the potato head could talk. Or shop. Or something. But you know what? My daughter has an extremely active imagination, engaging in pretend play pretty much every waking hour of her day, but that potato? It never leaves the toy box.

[Parenthetical disclaimer: Thank you to the sweet neighbors who gave my child her lady potato. It was kind and generous, and we still love you and every other toy you ever gave her. Ditto to my brother-in-law who contributed the next victim of my toy rant.]

All this ranting has led me to think about the many, many toys I find irritating. Need I remind you of my feelings about this cat?

Unfortunately, in a Parent of the Year moment, Mark and I let our feelings show about this creepy robot cat that has double-jointed legs and sheds clingy plastic hair all over the house. And I found myself in this pitiful conversation with my four-year-old:

Annalyn: Mommy, my cat isn’t stupid.
Me: Ummm, okay. Why are you saying that?
Annalyn: Daddy said my cat is stupid. But she’s not. I love her.
Me: Oh. Well, um, that wasn’t nice, was it?
Annalyn: NO!
Me: And, remember, I don’t want to hear you say the word, “stupid.”
Annalyn: But, but, but . . .
Me: I know, you were just repeating what Daddy said.
Annalyn: WHY would he say that, Mommy? We don’t say that word in our family!
Me: I know, baby. I’m sure he’s sorry.

Stupid cat. First she is annoying with her mere existence, and now she’s getting Mark in trouble for calling her names (and *gasp!* saying words we don’t say in our family).

I know I’m not alone in my dislike of certain toys. On Sunday we went to a birthday party for one of Annalyn’s friends, and her mom was not nearly as thrilled with the craft-project-in-a-box present that one mom brought. (Or my six-pack of puzzles, complete with many tiny pieces of cardboard princess fun, to be honest.)

So, what kind of toys – or games – do you despise? Which ones get on your nerves or drive you up a wall? Noisy toys? Toys with lots of pieces? Games that never, ever end? (Hello, Chutes & Ladders! I’m talking to you!)

Affiliate links are used in this post. In case you want a Potato Head or Creepy Robot Cat for yourself.

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