It’s a few days after Flynn’s eighth birthday and as I am enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee I get blind sided with what initially seems like an innocent request but I know otherwise. “Mom? Can you pleeeeeeeaaaaaaasssse open this for me so I can play with it?” I look at the huge box labeled 26 foot remote control race track and twitch a little just thinking about the amount of energy required to complete the task but I know how badly he wants to play with it. “Sure buddy. Can you just sit tight until I finish my coffee?” The look of disappointment takes over his face and the parental guilt kicks in. I know that he will just stare at me with pitiful eyes until it’s open and I won’t really enjoy that cup of coffee anyway. Sigh. “Go find some scissors.” Immediately he jumps up off his chair to help me out. He jerks open the “junk” drawer and hands me a pair of scissors.
So it begins..I cut the taped edges of the box and look inside as I begin to unveil the contents. Nobody tells you or warns you as a new parent about how opening a damn toy can cause your blood pressure to sky-rocket . Nobody. They just leave that for each parent to discover in their own time. To be honest with you, it’s sort of evil. Screw giving bottles and onesies at a baby shower. I think I will invest in a bunch of super sharp high-quality scissors and give those to new mom’s. Can you imagine the aggravation I will save them? The packaging nightmare starts the day they are born with the strollers, baby monitors and the rattles and progressively gets worse as they get older. The toys are packaged more obnoxiously and have more parts and pieces with each growing year. By the time their eighth birthday rolls around, you feel down right pissed off that it isn’t mandatory that every toy doesn’t come with a free pair of scissors taped to the outside and a pack of AA batteries.
I peek inside the box to see what I’m up against. It’s hard to tell at this point. All I can see is styrofoam. I reach in to grab the styrofoam block and pull it out-of-the-way but I can’t seem to get my fat hand between the rigid box and the foam. I finally force it in there and scratch my knuckles in the process.
I’m already annoyed and I haven’t even passed step one of opening Flynn’s new toy. I find myself daydreaming . “Why can’t I pay 10 bucks and have it assembled at the store? God…stores would make a fortune.” I am brought back to reality when I look down and see that my hand is still wedged between the box and a massive block of styrofoam. I pull my hand out and the styrofoam block breaks into small pieces. The floor under my lap is instantly covered in styrofoam beads and it becomes obvious that this sucker isn’t coming out easily. Flynn is eager and asks close to 500 times in 2 minutes. “Did you get it? You got it out mom? Almost done” “Done?? Um NO…not even close buddy. Just be patient. There are lots of parts to this one. I have barely started.” He realizes it’s going to be a while and grabs some Cheez-it’s out of the pantry and begins chewing them loudly as he watches me struggle. I reach back in the box and grab another chunk of styrofoam and pull it out and throw it on the floor in aggravation. I repeat this process 5 times until I get past all the styrofoam and at last I reach a plastic shell.
Inside the shell are the race cars. At last….we can see the prize. They look awesome and my son’s eyes light up but I can not for the life of me figure out how to get the cars out of the plastic bubble. It’s rather baffling really. There is no seam. The edge is thick and I actually wonder how the manufacturer even got them inside. It’s like a ship in a bottle. I begin the process like any civilized adult and use the sharp scissors to cut the edges at a variety of angles. Sounds logical but I fail miserably. Next I attempt to bite it? I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea? You know it’s serious when I use my teeth. [pounding chest like an ape] “Me strong woman…me bite plastic”.
Now I’m pissed. My son is staring at me making me feel rushed. I am left with no choice but to take matters into my own hands and do what any normal mom would do with her son breathing Cheez-it breath 1 inch from her face. I wrap both hands around the handle of the scissors and jab in a downward motion like a complete psycho path. A bit of a stabbing motion if you will. Flynn watches wide-eyed as if I had taken this whole thing a bit too far. I paid him no attention. I was focused. One last stab and I heard the plastic crack. “Yes!” It worked. I have an opening. I pulled the scissors back out and used my small puncture to cut a portion of the plastic away.
I can finally wedge my hand inside the plastic and grab the first race car. Phew! I take a moment to admire the race car in my hand and notice that my hand is cut and I am actually bleeding. I wipe off the blood and keep working because today I am not a mom…I am a soldier and this stupid race track will not win. I reach inside the box and grab a flat piece of cardboard and the back looks a lot like this.
Seriously???? Why???? Why? What are they? What do they do? Who thought of them? Raise your hand if you think that the person who invented this packaging should have to smell 8-year-old Cheez-it breath at 10 am while he untwists each and every one.
I let Flynn practice cutting the twist ties off the cardboard while I searched for AA batteries. I found one in the junk drawer and took 3 out of an old tv remote. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Together we put together the 20+ feet of race track for his new remote control cars.
He was in heaven as he watched the cars zoom around the track. “Thanks Mom!” I lie like all mom’s do when they see that all the trouble was worth the smile on their child’s face. “No problem honey!” It took about 2 hours for us to get everything out of the package and assembled. I am sweating and bleeding and my coffee is cold. The recycling bin and trash can are both overflowing after opening one toy. It was one of those mornings when I look around the room and think WTF? Can’t the packaging gods help a mom out? A zip lock bag works just as well.