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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, May 25

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Being the youngest child in a family with five kids, and an eight year gap between my next sibling and me, just about every Christmas our tree would be dwarfed by the bunch of presents my siblings would buy for me. Spoiled? Some might say "yes," but I'd like to think that I earned those gifts. I was a very agreeable child, just ask my mother. (And a good secret-keeper, just ask my sisters.) Sometimes the toys were fabulous, and other times they were cool because of their odd features. One brother thought it would be funny to buy my presents from American Science Surplus and he was right! Of course, I am still mourning the Sea Monkeys my mother flushed down the toilet, but that's another story.

Now that I am in the market for presents for my son, Vincent, I've noticed that many classics still live on; toys like Light Bright, Easy Bake Oven and Shrinky Dink are being enjoyed by new generations. And then, I noticed some new toys that left me with a puzzled, "Eh?" Kooky or disturbing? You decide.

Fisher-Price's Bounce & Giggle Kitty

bouncyThis silly Kitty will bounce its way into baby's heart, with plenty of giggles all around!

Bounce and giggle my ass -- you can see that cat's innards! There may be a connection between that and the goofy lobotomized facial expression?

Manhattan Baby's Moo the Cow Snuggle Toy

moocowCan you say ground beef?

Playskool's Cool Crew Bobby Q, The Magic Talkin' Grill

bobby qJust press the "on" button or open the lid and Bobby Q the MAGIC TALKIN' GRILL comes to life... Says more then 50 phrases and comes with a pretend hot dog and bun, hamburger and bun, corn, utensil and condiments -- all the fixings for a fun and sizzlin' meal!

By the surly look on his face, I'm guessing one of his phrases is, "I'm Bobby-Q, Bitch!"

Hasbro's Dancing Boobah

boobahWelcome to the magical world of the BOOHBAH!
(Is it a penis?)

Each BOOHBAH is a sparkling atom of power and energy.
(Is it a penis?)

You can move up and down, twist all around and have a ball dancing with your favorite BOOHBAH of all!

Boobahs -- Kiddie Crack, a natural acid trip, these colorful distant cousins of the somewhat forgotten Teletubbies mesmerize children and freak out adults.

Mattel's Flavas

flavasFlavas -- the dolls who might threaten to pop a cap in your ass, are about as menacing as Vanilla Ice. However, by throwing around a "da" and "dat" throughout their packaging and website, Mattel shows you they mean business and Flavas are the real thang, baby. Those Flavas, what hardasses! You can tell by her sunvisor sitting upside down and askew on her head.

Mattel's Shorties

I thought Flavas were pretty awful, but the Shorties take the cake. With their tiny "spandex" and midriff baring outfits, Shorties are the little Flavas that could. Shorties? Seriously? Damn.

Wild Planet's Spy Safe Cracker

safeReal working safe with interactive games…Use earbud to match sounds (like cracking a real safe!) ... Try to decode the PIN number. Randomizer means no sequence will ever be the same.

Hey, if my son decides to turn to a life of white collar crime and embezzlement, it's good to know he received his training early on. This is the gift that will pay for itself. Hot dog!

Action Products/Curiosity Kits' The Official Disguise Kit

disguiseIt comes with all the essentials: Kooky glasses, bald head, mustache, oversized ears, eye patch, and fake teeth.

To be used in conjuncture with the Safe Cracker.

Home Depot's Workshop Vacuum Clean Up Set

vacuumIn and of itself, the Home Depot vacuum set is pretty benign, but then I saw the manufacture's description for the product, "The Home Depot Vacuum Set includes a broom and dustpan. Great for roleplay! Kids can 'clean' just like mom!"

Newsflash, Home Depot: this mom shares cleaning duties with dad. I'd like to see packaging which reads, "Great for roleplay! Kids can 'clean' just like dad when he's pulled himself away from Halo2 or like mom does, when she decided she can no longer live in a pig sty and has procrastinated long enough!"

Of course, who am I kidding? I won't be spending money on toys this holiday season. The only toys my kid will be getting will be a couple empty boxes, a phone cord, an old remote control, some Tupperware lids and a broken cell phone. Jackpot! He'll be in heaven.

If you still have not purchased your gifts (Good luck!) and want to avoid the bigger shops, try these local ones:

C. Foster Toys
810 North Blvd.
Oak Park

The Red Balloon Company
2060 N. Damen Ave.

Rinky Dink, Inc.
3149 W. Logan Blvd.

Saturday's Child
2146 N. Halsted

Toys et Cetera
5211 S. Harper Ave.

Uncle Fun
1338 W. Belmont Ave.

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About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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