It’s Official

I hate The Littlest Pet Shop.

It all started very innocently. Monkey got a LPS dollar-store knock-off doggie from “Santa” at dayschool. She adored it. We named him Bobble, and she carried him around every where with her for days. He came with this yellow hat-box shaped hutch, and a little teddy bear, and she just loved playing with him.

Since she liked Bobble so much, I decided that “Santa” at preschool would bring her another little pet. I picked out a bunny that also came with a teddy bear, and a pink slipper in which to sleep. The bunny was dubbed Clementine, and she and Bobble got along well.

For Christmas, I got Monkey the LPS Club House, which came with a squirrel (whose name I can’t recall) and a monkey (Salami), and a hammock, a skateboard, and some nuts and sardines. (I didn’t know monkeys ate sardines, but whatever.) Monkey — my Monkey — was in heaven.

She and Bun squabbled over them, of course. So the Binky Fairy brought Bun a turtle, which came with a wagon (to which he sticks by means of a magnet in his butt) and sunglasses — which don’t stay on his bugged out eyes. We call him Shades. Or, usually, just “tuttle”.

In terms of playing for hours, the LPS animals are wonderful. Monkey will arrange them, feed them, brush them, talk to them, endlessly. Bun just tends to grab and run, which sends Monkey screaming in pursuit, but most of the time, there are peaceful negotiations, and Monkey ends up with most of the animals. She has even begun incorporating other animals into the fold — not official LPS animals, per se, but any toy that fits into Monkey’s palm is fair game.

The problem is that the LPS club house came with what Monkey refers to as her “blue paper”. This is an 11″ x 17″ piece of LPS marketing collateral (it scares me that I know what it’s called) with all the permutations of LPS products on one side, and all the pets on the other. Monkey spends hours pouring over it. She brings it every where with her. The other day at church she had it with her, and she showed it to her preschool teacher, next to whom we ended up sitting.

She’s obsessed. She asks almost every day if we can buy something on that piece of paper. One product is the LPS Day Care, a three-story blue ‘house’ for all the LPS pets. This is the one for which she lobbies hardest. I have told her that she may get it for her birthday or Christmas. So now she checks every day how far away her birthday and Christmas are (nine and ten months, respectively — I’m going to start telling her how many days away; maybe it’ll discourage her). She tells me what pets she wants and in what order.

I made the tactical error of getting each of the girls LPS pets that came in plastic backpacks for Valentine’s Day yesterday. I thought it would scratch the itch for awhile, if you know what I mean. Monkey got a horse and Bun got a kitty — or maybe vice versa, I’ve already lost track. They both preferred playing with their pets to actually eating breakfast, which made signing loan paperwork at the bank later that morning very difficult. The backpack contained another ‘blue paper’, which is good only because Monkey’s old blue paper was much the worse for wear. It had been taped and re-taped and was still falling apart. She slept with the blue paper.

Now she wants the bird that comes in a backpack, too. She asked for it about five minutes after Bun opened her kitty (or horse). I nearly lost it.

So how do I co-exist in peace with toys that I bought for Monkey (and Bun, but she doesn’t ask to buy a new one every day — yet) but secretly want to throw out now? Toys that she clearly loves, and plays with, and cares for (mostly; those little pieces that come with them are very small and easily lost), but she only wants more of them? How do I help her be satisfied with what she has and stop asking me when she is getting more? How?

8 thoughts on “It’s Official

  1. OK–we do a couple of things. Our first rule is that when one thing comes in the house, another leaves. It is either thrown out because it is missing all of it’s parts, or we donate an item to Goodwill. In addition, we recently started both girls on allowance. They each have to do chores and show certain appropriate behaviors to earn money. They then have to put their money in, “The Savvy Pig”. It is a piggy bank that has four sections for spend, save, donate and invest. Ella had finally saved enough money to go to Toys R Us yesterday and bought a toy ( Barbie Corvette). Corey said she agonized over what to get, but she was very good about asking if she had enough money for certain things. Obviously, Bun is too little, but Monkey isn’t. Monkey can start earning her newest LPS pets (and give up something else!)

    It is still not a perfect system. I do go through their toys when they aren’t looking and throw stuff out–things like Barbie Shoes, things that are small,etc. I put ripped up books in the recycling, etc. I do that about once every couple of months and am ruthless. They never even notice.

  2. V. LOVES tiny toys – any kind. I encourage her to make/find her own little accessories for those toys. A length of yarn can be a leash. A folded index card is a tent, a pretty rock can be a chair. She’s become quite inventive!

    Since the small set aren’t terribly expensive, I also use them for good old fashioned bribery, er, I mean goal setting. When we went through an issue with her not sleeping through the night, I made a star chart for her. After she earned 10 stars in a row, she could choose another Polly Pocket.

  3. MH: I have been good about ‘recycling’ toys. Right now, I have a bunch of stuff to donate & give away, I just haven’t ‘gotten around to it’ — story of my life.

    I’m considering an allowance or point system. I told Monkey today that she was going to have to start earning all the LPS toys she wanted, and she said, “what’s earn mean?” that’s going to be a long conversation.

    JOC: Yeah, I am surprised what Monkey turns into blankets, home, food. She very imaginative!

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. I don’t have experience from the other side yet, but I was raised in an allowance household. Between holiday and birthdays (and the occassional other special occasion) I could have anything I paid for myself. At the time my weekly allowance was a quarter, but I’m assuming rates are higher now. Still, I remember saving for a particular stuffed animal and a particular Barbie. It stopped me from asking how long until Christmas, Birthday, etc., but I’m sure I probably counted my coins everyday (despite only earning more once a week).

  5. Each set of tiny toys like that has it’s own storage container in our house. If a princess shoe doesn’t end up back in its container when Alexis is done, it is mine. Once it’s been mine for a while, she can earn it back. Usually, she acts like it’s a brand new piece, although I know she remembers that she had it. The whole process helps control the tiny part population, and makes it so that Alexis generally does a decent job of cleaning up. She is totally aware that if she doesn’t, I’m stealing what was left out.

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