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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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christmas present angst
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Being the Christmas season is upon us, I've been going through my lists of ideas for Christmas gifts for the masses. One mass in particular--Child.

Since the Stupid Living Rocks (hermit crabs) have defied all expectations and survived, and still, I have no idea how, I've been mulling moving Child up the food chain and getting him a higher maintenance pet.

Excerpt from car convo the other day.

Mom: Chameleon

Me: No.

Mom: Why?

Me: Reptile. If I'm going to be chasing it around the living room after escaping, and I *will* be, it's going to be something that doesn't see me standing on top of the table crying for my mommy.

Mom: Turtle?

Me: Reptile with a shell. Table.

Mom: You want to go back to invertebraes?

Me: Let's think mammal.

Mom: Gerbil.

Me: That's a rat. Me on table. No.

Mom: It's not a rat.

Me: It's a small, pretty rat. That doesn't make it any less a rat.

Mom: How about a guinea pig?

Me: Bigger, prettier, smarter rat. No.

Mom: It's not a rat.

Me: It'll get out and organize the mice into rebellion against me and I'll end up besieged on the table. I've read about this. Not happening.

Mom: Uh huh. What are you thinking about?

Me: Iguana.

Mom: Giant reptile?

Me: They're cute.

Mom: What else?

Me: Ferret, maybe.

Mom: Long, slinky rat.

Me: I like rabbits.

Mom: Big, pretty rats with long ears?

Me: The ears make it okay.

I think these are those moments Mom wonders if her real child was taken by gremlins and replaced with me.

But I have reason for my rat-thing.

Many, Many Moons ago, when I was--a lot like I am now, but I hadn't seen The Ring yet, so I was willing ot make tentative forays into dark territory with a flashlight to get a glass of water--there was a Big Thing in the middle of the hall. It was huge, and dark, and it was on the floor. Of course, my first instinct was to assume it was an alien out to dissect me, or an evil animal from Pet Sematary, so like any unhinged young girl, I screamed the house down.

The Thing turned out to be a rat the size of a small dog, dying inconsiderately in the middle of the floor where I could see it. Not God, man, or promises of good anecdotal material later could move me, and no one else in the family could make themselves go anywhere near it. It could still be there to this day, long, long, long earthworm tail and all, except someone managed to find a shovel and get rid of it.

So. Trauma.

(brief real time moment: child is outside in last year's too-small summer shorts, no shirt, no shoes, and his winter coat. I am amusing myself with imagining the neighbors critiquing my parenting skills.)



Dad's tricky, as he likes nothing he doesn't buy himself. I try to stay with pajamas and robes, but even that's kind of a risk. I've been trolling Amazon, looking for the Beatles and the Eagles, since I know that he likes them. Maybe a portable CD player, except I don't think he'd ever use it. Grrr. I almost feel like gift certificating him, but I've managed to avoid that in my Christmases so far.

Mom's easy, sisters are easy, Niece is a snap, and my friends should be relatively easy. Just Dad and Child freaking me out muchly. To make life easier for everyone at home, I asked for plain, drawstring, plaid flannel jammies.

I'll point out I've asked for this for three years and nothing's come of it. This is an adventure.

I bought and fell in love with this one set of pajamas I picked up on sale years ago. Wonderful, soft flannel, blue and white plaid, drawstring, extra large. They *fit*. They fit my legs, my arms, and they were so soft and it was an effort to pry myself out of them. I went weekends melded into them. I wrote an entire series of stories in them. But let's not think about that one.

They've suffered a lot since then. I tore out the entire back, sewed it up by hand, tore it out again, and kept wearing them with tights underneath until they just plain wore out. I've shown them to everyone every year, Christmas and Birthday. These. Get them at Wal-Mart, get them at Versace, I don't *care*. Just like this. And they're a pretty simple design, nothing odd.

So far, nothing. I got some rather dressy grey ones I use when I go places and want to look nice in my pajamas (one word on this one and I'll unfriend you, I swear), some flannel ones that are cream covered with coffee pots and adorable and a size too small (I've never told, I just wear a robe when people see me so they don't guess) and a pair of very vivid green satiny ones that I only wear in a pinch. But the blue plaid (at this point, I'll take any damn plaid, just get the design and size right) have yet to make an appearance. It's like karma. My One True Jammies are lost in the ether. It's rather sad.

I haven't given up hope. This is on my Jenn Didn't Get the Job List. Three hundred dollars in DVDs and one pair of extra large flannel jammies. Oh yeah. I'm an ambitious chick.

Come to think, I should check Amazon out on this score. It's only a month until January. I could totally start at least updating what I want so I can all have it shipped to me at once for wallowing.

This makes me happy. Stupid job. I don't need that job. I'll have jammies and DVDs!

For those who use Amazon regularly--is there anyplace to store the things you want to buy other people? Like a Gifts For Others sort of thing? I keep having to click around during my Beatles search and it's giving me headaches.

Anyway. Carry on. I am going to go catch up on Austria, since I've been a bad, bad patriot and not read very much of anything the LJQaF group has written. Sulking is sooooo boring.


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My children were also cavorting outside in nearly nothing this afternoon, although we live in Austin, so I (probably) won't get CPS called on me.

It's been *nice* weather this weekend. Child still isn't getting over the mostly-naked thing. *sighs*

I'm in sympathy with you regarding the pj's - sometimes I feel like the sure way to *not* get something from my family is to ask for it. It's like they're so determined to surprise me that they immediately rule out anything I've specified.

*nods sadly* Yep. And yep.

Last time I checked, Amazon wouldn't let you put clothes on your wish list, the jerks. Has that changed? 'Cause I need clothes like nobody's business this year (new baby born in August, you can imagine the state of my wardrobe now).

I haven't tried yet. Fuddleduddy. *grr*

And the way I inventory things I want to buy people is to put them in my shopping cart, saved for later. But I don't think there's a way to make separate lists for each person or anything.

I may end up doing what someone later in the thread said and just putting in comments who something is for. That Eagles Greatest Hits thing for my father seems the safest bet yet.

One down. Everyone else but child--snap. At least, I hope.

Since I have both - rats and ferrets - I can tell you that ferrets are decidedly NOT long, slinky rats.

But rats are ... rats. ;)

*giggles* I roommated with a ferret once. It was the most mellow animal I ever met. Just liked to lay across your lap and not move while being stroked. Of course, then came the Evil Kitten, and man, nothing could pry it from around your neck when it saw that kitten.

I remember the days....

are you sure that your giant rat wasn't actually an opossum?

Ferret's are much fun. I've been the proud owner of two - the last one of which I found on the street outside my house. Nobody claimed it, so Trouble became my baby.

See, I can't prove it either way. It looked rat-like and it was dark, so no actual clue, and it's been long enough that I can't be sure.

God, an opossum....

*giggles* You *found* a ferret? That is *so* cool. I keep thinking I'd like to get one when Child is older and can control himself sufficiently not to tease it like he would a dog.

Hee. Rats don't get that big - probably a possum.

Rats are also, of all the pet rodents, the most social and least likely to bite. But I'm biased - I've got four.

These possum thoughts scare me badly.

Heh, I remember--I think it was you--doing an entry a while back on the care of pet rats and having time to pay sufficient attention to them. It was odd, because it was about a week later I went to a pet store and they were having a sale on rats of different sizes.

My LJ and RL cross over way too much sometimes. *G*

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I grew up rural--I cannot wrap my mind often around the idea of pet mice. And mice, in their way, are cute. It doesnt' help that when I was an exchange student, my host brother used to lecture on feeding snakes with live or not-live mice. Just. *shivers*

Mmm, presents for fathers, the eternal dilemma. I've gone the chess set route, the mobile phone car set route, the electric toothbrush route, the gorgeous robe route (he seemed to like this one) along with assorted power tools/trees/floodlamps.

I have no idea what to do this Christmas!

I definitely think its going to be music. He bought a stereo this year, so that's a sign, right?

*worries*

Powertools. Maybe a table saw....

Heee. I just want to point out that your traumatic experience *does* make a great anecdote :D.

*giglges* It'd be even more fun if I could have described the endless nightmare of carting it away. But I'm just *not* that brave.

Man, *thinking* about it scares me. That's so very sad.

I always buy my father books.

Hmm. I wonder if there's a new Stephen King novel out. That's like, the only failproof book in existence.

I cannot make myself buy him John Saul. Just. No.

And where's your icon from?

I'd just like you to know that here in Missouri, I straighten entire racks of Jenn's Dream Jammies almost every day.

I hate you.

*makes note to go to Wal-Mart soon*

How about a toy microscope? These two
here and here look pretty good for a six year old. He might like the shiny silver one more, since it looks more grown up.
I got it from a large list here.

*worries* Can it double as a weapon against vampires?

Dont' ask. Just know, I have learned that Child is *jumpy* at night.

Hmm. A microscope. He needs more science related toys.

I'm pretty sure the microscopes I recommended don't, but nota bene, many more advanced toy microscopes have fully functional dissecting kits, complete with scalpal.
-Silverkyst

You're trying to scare me now, aren't you?

*grins*

I was always pretty sure that it was gerbils that plot, but it may just be my evil trio.

*narrows eyes* One day, when the trauma is farther in my history, I will tell the story of Martin the Escaped Gerbil, that I borrowed from my sister for my psych class and forced to run through mazes for my amusement--er, I mean, for an observational paper during class.

I still think, on some level, that his escape *can* be tied to the rash of curiously organized mouse raids on the pantry, but I can't prove it.

Not *yet* anyway.

Didn't you mentioning that people keep abandoning dogs near you? Or is that wayyyy to high up on the expense and responsibility chain? Birds generally aren't that good with small children. They take a lot of patience.
Mice I would recommend. They're fun. You could go to the pet store and look at them. They're kind of fun to hold, like little warm balls of delicate, soft fur. They're not too hard to take care of either.
Rabbits are a little more skittish than mice. They also bite more, in my experience. They make good indoor/outdoor pets if
a. you can catch them to bring them indoors.
b. There isn't anything in your backyard that would eat them
-Silverkyst

Right now, there's a rash of cat and kitten abandonment. We can't get near them, but they have no philosophical issues with eating any food we leave out, as long as we pretend that it's not for them.

I do want to get him a dog, but I'm just not sure if he's ready for that much responsibility, and I do want it to be *his* only. Boy to man, growing up, responsibility, blah blah blah. I'm all about the parental catchwords these days. It won't last. I'll start feeding him pudding and cookies before school while running out the door *any* day now.

*g*

Rabbits are a little more skittish than mice. They also bite more, in my experience. They make good indoor/outdoor pets if
a. you can catch them to bring them indoors.
b. There isn't anything in your backyard that would eat them


Well. It *is* winter, so I suppose the rattlesnakes are sleeping. NOt that we see them often. And I personally, haven't touched foot in that backyard in a *long* time.

*shivers*

Bunnies are litterbox-trainable, a definite point in their favor.

Regarding the Amazon wishlist, I'd probably wind up saving it to my own wishlist and on the notes/comments line say, "This is for [whomever]" -- though that only works for folks you know won't be looking at your Amazon wishlist so the surprise won't be ruined.

Sucks about your family being contrary -- mine is pretty good about asking what you want and then buying it for you (Mom got my sister and I in the habit of making itemized lists with the things we especially wanted indicated), though sometimes there were problems with them trying to be creative. My mother gave me houseshoes of various designs three Xmases in a row until I finally got her to understand that I don't go around barefoot because I don't have any slippers, I go around barefoot because I hate wearing shoes. And it took years to train Grandma out of trying to pick gifts for us because her taste is atrocious (one of those people who buys what she thinks you should have, not what you actually want) -- Mom used to oversee the gifts she got us and veto the worst ones when we were little, but eventually we got her to either have us circle something in a catalog or else just give out money...

Regarding the Amazon wishlist, I'd probably wind up saving it to my own wishlist and on the notes/comments line say, "This is for [whomever]" -- though that only works for folks you know won't be looking at your Amazon wishlist so the surprise won't be ruined.

Heh. No one sees my wishlist except me. I'm not sure my family even knows they exist. *g*

My mother gave me houseshoes of various designs three Xmases in a row until I finally got her to understand that I don't go around barefoot because I don't have any slippers,

Yes and yes. My grandmother does that. I have yet to convince anyone that there's a connection between my preferences and the fact that I only wear shoes when I'm leaving the house.

Heh. I like the way your Mom thinks. *grins*

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Heh. I lived with--gekkos, an iguana, and turtles of numerous stripes. Harry used to keep them in--terrariums? I think that's the right word--that he built himself. It was--interesting.

He had some kind of snake, but since I never went close enough to see, I have no idea what kind.

Interstingly, the snake that I got along with best was this--I don't know, very big, eats large mice? Not a boa, I remember asking and the owner saying no. It used to *watch* me, or at least, it felt like it, every time I went in the house. I'd stare at it doing that ripply moving thing forever--very soothing.

From the other side of the room, of course.

*g*