The Casual Father: Why spend money on talking bears?

Casual Father

Casual Father - Credit: Archant

Never one to miss a chance to berate the wife for overspending our hard-earned wages, Elizabeth’s toys have, most recently, given me that opportunity.

The box in our front room is jam-packed with play telephones, building blocks, miniature musical instruments, and a bear that talks.

These items regularly litter the carpet, making a kind of toy obstacle course or a toy death trap, whichever way you want to look at it.

At best, I might stand on a squeaky giraffe as I stumble beary-eyed at six in the morning, at worst I might pierce the skin of my foot by stepping on a plastic shape.

But that isn’t the worst of it. No, the worst of it is the fact that most, if not all, of these toys have now become obsolete.

You put five premium toys in front of Elizabeth these days alongside say a wooden spoon, and the spoon wins every time.

The door wedge is another item that trumps anything Mattel et al can come up with.

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Leave a newspaper on the floor and it’s the most fun she’s ever had in her whole life, and the latest headlines even double as a tasty snack.

Given this recent change in behaviour, understandably, my question to the wife has been “Why did we bother?”.

I mean, who needs a flashy bear that says her name when an ordinary kitchen utensil will do?

Our money would have been far better invested in household goods that we actually need, and yet also provide their own brand of entertainment for our little girl.

Forgive me if that sounds a bit miserly, but you don’t know my wife’s spending habits.

Although in one way, the recent events have given me hope that perhaps Elizabeth won’t take after mummy when it comes to parting with cash.

Maybe Elizabeth’s generation, which I think will be labelled Gen A, will no longer feel the need for material things and live minimalistic lifestyles with less than 10 possessions.

Is it too much to expect things like; “No it’s ok dad, I don’t need a car for my 18th birthday, I’m more than happy with the bicycle you have provided me with,” or “Don’t be silly dad, I don’t need to spend THAT much on clothes, I’ve got plenty to wear,” to come out of her mouth?

Or even the ulimate dream; “Dad, my fiance and I have decided on a really small budget wedding if you don’t mind?”.

I relate my thoughts to the wife, who quickly slaps down such talk. “She’ll be coming shopping with me,” she says defiantly, “and we’ll be using your credit card.”