In the not too distant past, I was a happy father of an only child. She had two loving parents, a nanny to help look after her, and a healthy amount of love heaped upon her, and a bin full of toys to play with. However, it didn’t take long before broken toys, and other odds and ends, would arrive on my desk for repair: tops, wands, gadgets, and gizmos, even doll clothing was not out of the question (full disclosure, I was rubbish with the clothes). Before Reina was even born, friends were dropping off bags full of “gently used” toys (translation: they didn’t know if the toys worked or not). Consequently, I was in the toy repair gig before my kid could even start playing with them.
Those days of single child adventures are over and our one-year-old twins (Bryson and Ryder) help ensure that the supply of broken toys in the house is seemingly endless. Even worse, people like to give them toys that were clearly designed to annoy parents – you know, the ones without any volume controls or off switches. All this has honed my skills as the resident toy surgeon.
Toy surgery is not simply about repairing a broken object. One of my key areas of expertise is in making noisy toys quieter if not altogether silent. This is best achieved by opening up anything electronic and either taping over the cheap speakers or stuffing some kind of dampening material (cotton, sawdust, duct tape) in the housing of the device. Of course, sometimes this will not work and a simple job of taping the exterior must suffice. In the case of squeaky toys, a screwdriver will dislodge the offending noisemaker, rendering the toy silent and family -friendly. Of course, with electronic toys, if all else fails, one can always remove the batteries.
Repairing and caring for toys has taught me a lot about life: it is important to take your time, do things right, and know your limits. Unless, that is, the toy in question is driving you crazy. If that’s the case, just start yanking out parts until it stops making noise. If all else fails, there’s always the hammer. Hm, maybe toy repair is more like that annoying song, “If I had a hammer”. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer out toys that annoy me because life is like a hammer and sometimes you just have to nail it.
Wait, that can’t be right.
Photo courtesy of Kyuni786