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Stress-relieving sour notes

December 31, 2007

by Jen Bakken

Presents – kids can barely wait to open them, and then parents get stuck trying to get them out of their packaging.

I sat on the living room floor, on Christmas morning, for what seemed like an eternity, attempting to free my daughter’s Barbie from its box.

The plastic, strings and countless twist-ties were a source of major frustration for me. Not only that, but Barbie’s hair was actually sewn into the box.

My daughter sat biting her fingernails while she nervously awaited the surgery I performed on her present from Santa.

“Careful Mommy, don’t wreck her,” she told me.

She thought for sure the doll would end up scarred and hairless.

Finally, I was able to help Barbie escape the box without harm, but unfortunately, that meant I was onto the next overly-packaged gift.

I simply do not understand the need to encase toys in plastic, strings, and ties to the point that they could survive a tornado intact.

An hour or so later, after opening all of Santa’s surprises, I looked around my living room in disgust because it looked as though a tornado had actually hit it.

Covering the floor were boxes, plastic, wrapping paper, strings, twist-ties and I couldn’t help but shake my head and sigh. My daughter looked at me and, while she put her hand on her hip said, “Well, don’t blame us, blame Santa and those elves. They tied the toys all up like that!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at that.

Later, I took my children to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the rest of the day, and I was excited.

I couldn’t wait to celebrate the holiday with family. This year was especially fun.

My brother brought a Playstation2 game called SingStar. This interactive singing game features popular songs along with music videos.

Each game comes with two microphones, and you can almost put on a concert in your living room.

You can sing by yourself, perform duets, compete against another singers, or play with as many as eight people while you frantically pass the microphone back and forth.

This game was so much fun and was very entertaining.

Watching your children sing their hearts out makes a parent gush with pride.

Laughing at your brother while he sangs “I am a Material Girl” by Madonna is a moment to cherish forever.

But, most of all, after dealing with those toys packaged to survive a war, I’m grateful I was able to hit some stress-relieving sour notes with my family.