Principally Compromised


We’€™re an environmentally conscious family: conservation, recycling, cycling, local foods and the sort. There is no argument that having a child can compromise certain ‘€˜principles’€™. I always said we wouldn’€™t have a plastic wasteland in our living room, yet here I stand amidst the jumpers, stackers, rockers and sundry artifacts all in brightly coloured plastic. Paid forward or purchased used, I can’€™t help but feel some pangs of green-guilt, especially over the battery-powered accoutrements.
I’€™ve been taught batteries are bad, so we have stuck to using rechargeable batteries. Unfortunately they don’€™t have the same life span as the big brand disposables, which is painfully evident in the case below.

The Song and Rhyme (plastic) Playbook is of manageable size (only four pages of hardened oil). It features many fun, interactive tabs and knobs and sliding do-dads. The tabs are shaped like animal heads and are back lit with flashing diodes and synchronized with fun sounds. In fact, every action in this book’€”page turning, do-dad sliding etc.’€”will trigger a corresponding sound effect. If Baxter is left to his devices, the book is a schizophrenic cacophony of bings, bongs, meows, baas, cut-off nursery rhymes and a lady’€™s voice trying to impose order: ‘€œTurn the page’€. It’€™s truly hilarious.

That is, until the batteries run low. Then the sheep’€™s head will flash like a warning sign and a loud, foreign electronic ‘€˜bahn’€™ alarm skips in a panic. Baxter is at first confused, feigns disinterest, but in the end is overwhelmed with fear and loathing. Batteries refreshed, he is still keener with this environmental abomination than his fabric cubes or fluffy toys, as we ride the slippery slope to peaceful compromise.


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