You can’t pick up the paper or hear the news these days without some horrifying Toys Gone Wild manufacturing snafu, the most bizarre of which was this week's discovery that the popular Aqua Dots craft, if ingested, contains a chemical that converts to the date rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate. Does life get any more bizarre than this?
I must admit that the toy does resemble a home drug paraphernalia kit in the picture, but that is neither here nor there. Just when you think you've covered your bases on the date rape drug by telling your kids of drinking age, "Always watch your drink, don't ever put it down and walk away from it..." you learn that you need to start with your toddler: "Don't put those tiny beads in your mouth, or for that matter any other toy that may have had all or some of its parts made in a poorly managed Chinese factory." Not an easy message to deliver to a pre-schooler, and not one that can easily be put to Wiggles music.
What's a parent to do? This parent, for one, has decided to move up the supply chain to bring danger closer to home by encouraging more traditional dangers -- and the manual of choice is the newly published best seller, “The Dangerous Book for Boys.” After the past 20 years when we have been trying to make our boys more "sensitive," someone finally figured out that boys will be boys, so when they can be pried away from their electronics, let's at least teach them a few handy things such as how to skip a stone, play poker, hunt and cook a rabbit (OK, a bit gross, I'm a vegetarian), and tie five kinds of knots.
On the dangerous side, there's advice on how to make a paper airplane (you'll poke your eye out!), and a bow and arrow (you'll poke both your eyes out!). My father actually made a bow and arrow with our son Greg, and it is a prized possession. Much better than that cheap plastic laser sword we got for his Halloween costume.
So as we send our son out to play in nature, we now say "sticks and stones may break your bones, but that plastic stuff you were playing with in the basement could have killed you."