Family Magazine

The Best Baby Toy On Earth--Just Ask My 6-Year-Old

By Molly Thiersch @crazedkitchen
The Best Baby Toy On Earth--Just Ask My 6-Year-OldLast week marked my little girl’s first birthday. A very, very special day, indeed. But, that day was also Thursday. Which means in addition to celebrating her first full trip around the sun, we also had Kindergarten drop-off. And preschool drop-off. And the weekly emergency trip to the store for more milk and bananas. And preschool pick-up. And…you get the idea. It was her birthday, but mostly it was an ordinary day.
I was feeling kind of bad about having so many mundane tasks to do on such a special day, so I decided to take my little darling to the toy store to buy her a new toy. She’s our third child, so she has never really had a new toy. Don’t get me wrong, she has LOTS of toys, but they have all been used by her brothers before her and many have seen better days. It’s ok—she doesn’t know that the fancy “Ball Popping Machine” she loves isn’t supposed to pop out ping pong balls and the toy lemon from the play kitchen. She doesn’t care. But still, I wanted her to have a new toy of her very own.
So off we went to Toys R Us to buy her a present. First we went to the stuffed animal section and meowed at all the animals. Baby Girl has exactly one “word,” and it’s the sound she makes whenever she sees our cat. So here’s how our animal-related conversations go:
Me: Look, Baby Girl! The neighbor’s cat!Baby Girl: Meow!
Me: Oooh! There’s Grandpa’s dog, Buster!Baby Girl: Meow!
Me: Oh my! Look at that picture of a big cow! What does a cow say, Baby Girl?Baby Girl: Meow!
Oh, who am I kidding. That’s how ALL of our conversations go these days.
Me: Does Baby Girl want yogurt for lunch?Baby Girl: Meow!
Me: Where do your shoes go, Baby Girl?Baby Girl: (pointing at her feet) Meow!
Me: Where’s your big brother?Baby Girl: (pointing at a brother) Meow!
We’re hoping to add a “mama” or “dada” within the next few months, but for now we all just answer to “meow.”
Anyway, when we moved on to the toddler toys, there was one that immediately caught my eye. It looked like fun, and the box said it was good for kids from 6 months to 3 years old, so I figured she’d get years and years of fun out of it. Plus, it featured little plastic balls like the ones that used to be in the “Ball Popping Machine” before we lost them all, so maybe we’d be killing two birds with that one stone.

The Best Baby Toy On Earth--Just Ask My 6-Year-Old

Not as ominous as it sounds.

(By the way, my husband HATES that we call that toy the “Ball Popping Machine.” He cringes every time we say it. Friends of ours who have the same toy call it the “Ball Blowing Machine,” which I guess is much more appealing. We probably should have thought of that back when we named it the “Ball Popping Machine.”)
(OK, I just looked it up and the official name of the toy is the “Playskool Busy Ball Popper.” So, thanks for that, Playskool. It’s actually a great toy and you can buy one on Amazon HERE or you can look elsewhere, but please please for your own sake DO NOT go and google “ball popping machine” to find one. Trust me on this one.)
So. I bought the new toy, now known as the “Ball Twirling Machine,” got it set up at home and, as expected, Baby Girl loved it. It made me really happy to see her get such joy out of her new toy. Her new toy, that was just for her. Because no one else in the family is between 6 months and 3 years old, so no one else will even want to share it. And she’ll get hours of fun from it, with no interruptions from her 4- and 6-year-old older brothers, who are TOO OLD FOR IT.

The Best Baby Toy On Earth--Just Ask My 6-Year-Old

Best. Toy. Ever.

Nope. Not even close. Baby Girl’s older brothers came home from school, took one look at the new “Ball Twirling Machine,” and fell in love. They have spent HOURS playing with this toy together. They have played with it as it’s designed and they have invented complicated games for it using their matchbox cars, their Star Wars guys, even the “Ball Popping Machine.” Poor Miss Baby Girl has tried to get in on the action a few times, only to be shooed away.
The good news is, she’s easy going. She’s happy to watch while she plays with her talking octopus doll that only speaks in jibberish now or the toy we call the “Drunk Letter Machine” because it no longer knows a C from a Q. Plus, karma comes around full circle every morning when the boys head off to school for a few hours and Baby Girl has her run of the place: She likes to sneak into their bedroom to hug and kiss and meow at all of their precious lovies. And sometimes even play with her new toy.

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