My verdict on taking a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old to The Muppets: I’m sorry to say they didn’t love it. I can’t even disown them like I threatened to, because really, for their personal attention spans, it went on a little too long and involved too many jokes they didn’t quite get. They stayed in their seats and weren’t obnoxious or anything, but there was kind of a LOT of squirming during the last half hour or so. Thank god for popcorn.

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at 5.41.53 PM

Also, what’s up with kids’ movies having, like, four thousand previews ahead of time? I mean, I know this is a prime opportunity to get children all slobbery with anticipation over the latest animated whatever, but jesus, way to shoot your wad sitting-still-wise before the movie even starts.

Also also, the trailer for Pixar’s new film Brave isn’t really turning me on, and I’m not sure why, because come on: PIXAR. Maybe because it looks like How to Train Your Dragon, But with Feminism and Also a Bear.

Today I had to write an article about Cyber Monday and I was very glad that I was only writing about Cyber Monday and not participating in Cyber Monday, because in past Cyber Mondays I’ve occasionally lost my damn mind over all the HOT DEALZ and ended up purchasing some awful gift simply because it was 40% off. Here, have a novelty USB drive! Or this pair of men’s gloves, upholstered in real Corinthian leather!

I am, in fact, basically done with Christmas shopping, and have been for a week or so. I know! I can hardly believe it myself, considering my rich holiday tradition of paying out the ass for expedited shipping on December 22nd. My last gift purchase was prompted by Amazon, whose deal-notification algorithm has greatly improved from the days of “As someone who once bought a set of nested mixing bowls, we thought you’d be interested in this new book, Raising Alpacas For Fun and Profit.” Instead, they sent me an email letting me know that something I’d looked at had gone on sale, and booyah. Click. All the adults on my list: DONE. All I have to do is wrap that shit and try not to screw up the nametags, like I did that one year when I accidentally gifted my grandfather with a fancy ladies’ robe.

I could maybe use one more gift idea for Dylan, if you feel like offering up some suggestions. I got him a stuffed kangaroo with a (removable! so cute!) baby kangaroo in its pocket, because he’s been obsessed with wallabies lately (I know, that sounds weird as hell: MY KID IS SUPER INTO WALLABIES AND HE’S NOT EVEN AUSTRALIAN), and really, he’s the easiest by far to shop for (Dylan, surveying an empty box: “Mommy! You gotted me a box! Thank you!”), but if you know of a particularly awesome toy/whatever for a 3-year-old that doesn’t involve a ton of tiny pieces or batteries, let me know.

Can you believe we’re talking about Christmas? It seems to me like this year has just blown by. Like every month was set to TiVo’s triple-boop speed.


39 Responses to “Ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop”

  1. Lydia on November 28th, 2011 7:50 pm

    I took the nephews (almost 6 and 4) to see The Muppets. I loved it. Laughed out loud numerous times. They enjoyed it – one was dancing in his seat during the songs, but I think I enjoyed it more. Win!

    Also, whatever that whale/Drew Barrymore movie that was previewed made me want to cry and watch it TOMORROW (which sort of makes me want to puke).

  2. honeybecke on November 28th, 2011 7:57 pm

    How about getting Dylan a stomp rocket? Serious fun for the whole family!

  3. Pictou on November 28th, 2011 7:58 pm

    This was major hit with 3 year old nephew last year. He abandoned all the battery powered, flashing electronics for this:

    Played with it all day long.

  4. Nancy on November 28th, 2011 8:23 pm

    Ditto on The Muppets–much more loved by the adults in our group (age range 37-66) than the kids (4-7). I might even have to put some Starship on my shuffle b/c darn near everything on that soundtrack got me wanting to stand up and move! ;)

    We (the adults in said group) thought that the preview for The Ledge went a bit far for the Muppet crowd–jeez!!!

    We have a kangaroo puppet with removable baby and it has been around for years and 3 kids have loved it, so not weird at all.

    Good luck with D’s gift–I have a son just barely older than him and he’s gone all retro lately due to a random Netflix exposure to PowerRangers. (worse.shows.ever.)

  5. Nancy on November 28th, 2011 8:24 pm

    Oh! Just remembered–for D, how about a cape? My kiddos love to “fly” around the house and it doesn’t even have to be “Superman” or any particular hero. Kind of generic dress-up for little dudes.

  6. Shannan on November 28th, 2011 8:36 pm

    My kids love Play Doh and I hate it! But it is the one thing they will both sit and play quietly with for a period. They are both getting a play set each, call me crazy.

  7. elz on November 28th, 2011 8:37 pm

    We saw the Muppets yesterday (5,7), while they enjoyed it, we enjoyed it far more. Except now that damn “Manamana” song is in my head on a constant loop!

    I second the Stomp Rocket. I gave it to my nephews and it was a BIG hit. Also, Automoblox and MagnaTiles.

  8. Kristin on November 28th, 2011 8:47 pm

    I KNOW about the previews! I don’t have kids, but am a middle school teacher. You should try showing a DVD to a classroom-full (reward days only!) only to be stuck on previews. And every time you try to fast-forward or skip–“Not permitted.” I don’t know how parents do it, especially if you watch a DVD a lot or something. Annoying!

    Also- “As someone who once bought a set of nested mixing bowls, we thought you’d be interested in this new book, Raising Alpacas For Fun and Profit.” This was hilarious!

  9. Meagan on November 28th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Sorry, that’s my fault. As someone who once bought nesting bowls I am TOTALLY interested in Raising Alpacas For Fun and Profit.

  10. Lissa on November 28th, 2011 9:22 pm

    Ditto on the stomp rockets.

    Also This thing (Yippee Gator)-
    Don’t ask me why, but Yippee is a favorite for all of my boys (2,4,7) and has been since we got it 2 years ago for the (now) 4 year olds 2nd birthday. It is the only toy that is coming close to the life span of the Thomas Trains & Pixar Cars. It is indestructible, quiet, does not require batteries AND the kids love it, can’t ask for more!

  11. Jen on November 28th, 2011 9:26 pm

    This year’s most anticipated gift is one of them telescopic magnet thingies, you know the ones that are a magnet on a stick that mechanics use to retrieve lost bolts and such? My kid drools over my husband’s whenever it accidentally comes home from work. He spends hours sticking it to things and “testing” if stuff is metal. He then proceeds to sob uncontrollably when we have to take it away. That and a adult (but small) tape measure he was already given make my 3.5 year old go bonkers. Needless to say, I picked up a nice $5 version of the telescopic magnet thingie and his mind will be BLOWN on Christmas morning.

  12. Michelle on November 28th, 2011 9:27 pm

    My 3-almost-4 year old is getting the Playskool Star Wars stuff this year. There’s a Millennium Falcon, complete with Luke and R2D2 figures (I think) plus you can get other characters separately for like $6 per pair. He’ll be super stoked since his older brothers are into Star Wars Lego; this is a great option for his age and ability to track small pieces (none.)

  13. Katherine on November 28th, 2011 9:30 pm

    We timed the previews in our theater. Exactly 27 minutes. An episode of Phineas and Ferb is shorter than that.

  14. Bekki on November 28th, 2011 9:32 pm

    My 3 year olds got MagnaTiles for their birthday and they are the best toy ever, because they are quiet, don’t hurt when you step on them and so much fun. Even the 8 year old across the street thinks they’re pretty cool. Downside? SO EXPENSIVE, which makes me happy we got them from someone else.

    Also, loved, loved, loved the Muppets but I was really glad my kids didn’t come because they would not have say through the whole thing. But I really, really hope Jason Segel has enough pull to make another one.

  15. MichelleH on November 29th, 2011 12:15 am

    Do you guys have a drive-in that is open year round? We took our 3-year-old to see some movies and is such a fun way to see a movie with little guys. You can bring their own snacks and their own toys. I know Seattle weather is not like it is here (CA)..but if there is anything close to you and the weather permits, it is so much fun! Also fun: Stomp rockets. It’s true.

  16. pam on November 29th, 2011 5:46 am

    I had a similar experience taking my almost 4 year olds to see Happy Feet 2 this weekend. Let’s just say two large popcorns were involved to keep them in their seats so I could get my money’s worth.

    They’re getting (for bday on Sunday and then Christmas) Hot Wheels Wall Tracks, scooters, and leappads. And presumably lots of cars and trains and other things that go.

  17. pam on November 29th, 2011 5:48 am

    (oh, and there are some great suggestions in here in case people as what to get my boys)

  18. Linda on November 29th, 2011 6:20 am

    My 4yo got a Webkinz Junior (ages 3-6) for her birthday and loves it. And she can navigate the website herself since there’s no reading involved.

  19. Zoot on November 29th, 2011 6:49 am

    I want to know what the age group 8-13 thought about The Muppets because I’m thinking they probably hated it. They’re not as entertained by puppets as my 6yo and they don’t “get” the jokes that are almost inside jokes for adults.

    Also – I’m excited about Brave b/c A) I liked How To Train a Dragon! and B) CURLY HAIRED HEROINE. Do you know how much I’ve wanted one of those my entire life? *sigh*

  20. Sarah on November 29th, 2011 6:59 am

    Zingo. Busytown ‘find it’ board game (not sure of the exact name). Those cardboard block things that look like bricks (these have been a HUGE hit in our house – tons of building fun). I even think Don’t Break the Ice is quite fun.

  21. MotherGooseAmy on November 29th, 2011 7:11 am

    This bug vacuum was a huge hit for my three year old. This toy in no way harms bugs and is also handy for when your husband isn’t around to kill bugs for you.

    Also, my 6 year old was pretty irritated with the previews before Muppets too. Ridiculous. But he LOVED the movie.

  22. Wizzie on November 29th, 2011 7:56 am

    My son just got Automoblox for his birthday and he loves them. They’re cars and he can take them apart, mix and match, fix “flat tires”, etc.

  23. Rachel on November 29th, 2011 7:57 am

    I’m going to echo the Stomp Rocket suggestion. My 3-year-old loves it and we’ve given away a few as gifts. I love reading all these suggestions — so helpful!

  24. Angela (@Aferg22) on November 29th, 2011 8:32 am

    Funny story about wallabies: someone has one as a pet in a suburb of Kansas City (not legally, btw, and it escaped and went running down the street on Thanksgiving Day. The news played the 911 call a neighbor made, and it was priceless! “This really isn’t an emergency, but I don’t know the number for animal control. I am not drunk, but a kangaroo or a wallabie just ran down the street. Really, I am not drunk.” HA HA!

    We took our 5 yo son to see the Muppets on Friday, and it was a big hit, but there was definitely some squirming towards the end. During the movie, he turned to my husband and said “This movie is AWESOME!” His favorite part was when Gonzo had the bowling ball stuck on his hand and then it flew into Tex Richman. I thought the previews were excessive as well. What was up with the preview for ParaNorman?? That is a kid’s movie? That scared the crap out of me, and I am 39!!

    I will also recommend the Stomp Rocket- big hit in our house.

  25. Maggie on November 29th, 2011 10:01 am

    I know you said no batteries, but the mini Hexbugs are totally awesome! and they don’t make noise, just vibrate. If you put them on your skin, they feel like a real bug is crawling on you and they will walk across a hard surface. My girls love them.

    My kids don’t even want to see the Muppets, but I am going to make them anyway because I cannot be sitting in the theater by myself!

  26. Jesabes on November 29th, 2011 10:56 am

    My new Sundry-inspired boots came today and I LOVE them! Thanks for posting about them, or I’d never have known they existed.

  27. Chrissy on November 29th, 2011 11:42 am

    We’re getting this for our 4-year-old (and hopefully his 18-month-old brother will like it, too). Bonus that it’s on sale right now!

  28. anonymous on November 29th, 2011 12:34 pm

    Don’t people know that you can arrive 20 minutes late to “show time” and still purchase your movie ticket, find the right theater, and a seat, and NOT have to suffer through the previews? My teenagers taught me this one!

    Not necessarily a Christmas present (but your having “gotted” Dylan a box reminded me): one of the BEST winter surprises is a refrigerator box from your local appliance store. Trust me.

  29. Jen on November 29th, 2011 12:55 pm

    Do your boys have any of the Fisher Price Imaginext toys? They are super fun and well made. My five year old has been into them for a couple of years now. There is everything from Batman to dinosaurs to ships and sea creatures :)

  30. Becky on November 29th, 2011 1:09 pm

    The GeoTrax trains are pretty awesome. If Dylan is into Cars or Cars 2, there are some sets for that. There’s also just the regular train sets (which come with a DVD you will have the pleasure of watching 453,000 times) and a Batman themed set(and Riley would probably enjoy them, too – my boys both play with the set we have had for a couple years now). And, it’s an easy go-to present for future gifts, because you can just keep adding to it. The track pieces are really sturdy and easy to put together for a 3 year old (with maybe a LITTLE help from Mom or Dad the first few times). And all the “sets” can connect together.
    It’s probably my favorite toy that the boys have, honestly.
    Here’s a link to some of them:

    Don’t be fooled by the “shake and race” cars slipped in there. They aren’t part of it. Stupid Amazon. :)

  31. Amy W. on November 29th, 2011 1:54 pm

    My sentiments exactly regarding the number of previews before The Muppets. I loved the movie, but my 4 year old was asking to leave less than half way through even though he’d been excited to see it. We watched the original Muppet Movie the week before, though, and he loved it.

  32. Derek on November 29th, 2011 3:39 pm

    Have you taken your kids to the kangaroo farm up near Arlington? They have roos, wallabies and wallaroos (among other creatures). You get to feed and pet all of the animals, and if they have a baby roo on hand you can cuddle it.

  33. Linda on November 29th, 2011 3:47 pm

    Derek: WHUT? I didn’t even know there was such a thing, I’ll definitely check it out.

  34. Shawna on November 29th, 2011 9:00 pm

    We got our 3-year-old a mini-kick scooter, which has a super-stable design. You know, for a board with a handle and wheels.

    I’ve seen other kids about his age zipping around on them, and it seems so much easier than co-ordinating their feet to push a tricycle.

  35. Shawna on November 29th, 2011 9:01 pm

    Oh, and I should add that this means before spring we’ll be getting him some elbow and knee pads, especially for while he’s learning how to use it. (He already has a helmet.)

  36. Sarah on November 30th, 2011 3:09 am

    I loved that line – AND HE’S NOT EVEN AUSTRALIAN! My 3 year old is Australian and I’m not sure he even knows what a wallaby is. Made me giggle to think of all the Australian kids losing their little minds over jumping marsupials. Truth is my Aussie kids love squirrels – much more exotic than kangaroos :)

  37. Kris on November 30th, 2011 7:50 am

    I don’t know how much you want to spend, but we just ordered this Kidkraft rocket for our precocious 3-year-old. And yes, ebay has the best price (and is one of the only places to still have them in stock). But $85.00 is still a little ouchy for our budget.

    But that’s our “big gift” for him, with lots of little places to hide his treasures.

  38. Brian on December 1st, 2011 3:28 pm


    8 year old girl liked it but liked the snacks more.

    11 year old boy said “It was ok when they weren’t singing.”

    13 year old boy: “Dad, did you think it was a sad movie? No? Then why were you crying?”

  39. Sonia on December 1st, 2011 11:41 pm

    Derek beat me to it! Yes, there’s really cool roo/wallaby farm in Arlington. The owner used to bring the babies into the pharmacy I worked for, all tucked into a baby sling. SO effing cute to see big roo feet & legs hanging out of that sling! There are some great Christmas tree farms in that area too, so if you wanted to make a day of both events, you could.

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