Truly tasteless treat bags

It’s almost summer, and The Younger turns 2 this week. So, again I’m finding myself puzzling over what tiny little people want from a birthday party treat bag, apart from putting the plastic over their heads to torment their parents, who might even have to put down their beers for a moment.

The best I can see is that two-year-olds tend to enjoy:

1. Rocks. Not fancy rocks, like geodes. No, just plain old dirty rocks that they can pelt at other small children. If it’s gravel from a busy driveway, that’s even better.

2. Trash. Paper towel tubes from recycling bins are most coveted, but dirty, jagged cans and Clorox wipes used to wipe down a filthy kitchen sink are awfully fun to play with, too.

3. Toilet wands. To a toddler, these are magical. And really, who doesn’t want to rub down a whole room with them, just once in a while?

Then I have to consider the rules and standards set by the kids’ parents, known usually to the elder siblings as “the meanest Mommy on Earth.” Or as “Daddy.”

These standards are a little trickier, but I’ll give them a shot here:

1. Parents like their kids to have healthy treats, which generally really means chocolate to hush them up, and little to no whiskey. Almost none.

2. The prevailing standard is to give small children playthings that distract and delight them, but don’t kill them, since that is generally frowned upon.

3. Grown-ups tacitly require other grown-ups to give the darlings nothing that makes a lot of noise, like horns, though one can usually ignore that rule since most parents of little kids have extensive nerve deafness at this point anyway.

So, I guess that leaves … Play-Doh. Again.

But I bet these easily impressed kids would be happy with just a toothbrush. Provided it was used to comb their hair or wipe their feet. They really are quite tasteless, aren’t they? –Jillian O’Connor

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