Broken Toys and Missing Parts

My baby monitor stopped charging this week. I called Graco to get a new charger and they informed me that the model I had was no longer made and they no longer sell parts for it. My charger was made in 2008, so was therefor four years old after all.

2008, really! Time flies, but I guess that makes sense. I got the charger as a baby shower gift in 2009 and it had probably been in the store for a while before that. But it still does not seem unreasonable to be able to get parts for it. After all, I still have the baby, well kid, right?

After much fruitless searching online, I decided I would take the monitor to the thrift store to see if I could find a cord that worked; however, after further examination I determined that it was not the charger but was actually the handheld unit that was the problem. A little wire had wriggled loose inside. Perhaps I will be able to talk one of my gifted relatives into trying to fix it or maybe I’ll just have to buy a new monitor.

It is amazing to me how difficult it is to find parts for toys. Alex is constantly loosing things and sometimes the dogs chew up parts of his toys. I have often searched manufacturers web-sites for toy parts only to discover that they do not sell parts for a toy, even some toys they still make. It seems strange to me, but the manufacturers have decided it makes more sense to just resell you the same toy again if you are missing parts. It is so wasteful!

I have a great fridge magnet toy that is missing most of the animal parts is came with (the dog chewed up at least one), a peg pounding toy that is missing a peg (dog again), a cash register that is missing price tags, and I am sure there are other toys with missing parts too. The only toy I was able to find parts for is the ball machine that shoots out balls. The manufacturer actually sold replacement balls for it, so I ordered two packages since they get lost a lot.

Besides loosing parts to toys, Alex is gifted at breaking toys. He had a cool track for cars that he thought was fun to sit on. It kind of still turns in circles, just really, really slowly. He broke a plastic sword yesterday and I am very thankful for duck tape and glue. He has been asking for his sword back but I am waiting for the glue to dry still.

Some toys aren’t worth fixing. I bought Alex a plastic bubble gun that lit up. I got it home and realised it was broken, so I returned it. The new one was not broken when I got it, but after Alex played with it for an hour or two I went to put it away and dropped it myself, breaking it. The thing continued to work for a time, but eventually stopped. It seems that water got in around the batteries which may have not even had anything to do with what I broke. It was just a overpriced poorly made toy. I tossed it in the trash can. Alex would like another one, but after having two broken ones, I won’t buy another.

Inflatables toys and pools can be another source of frustration since they often get leaks. Sometimes I think it is better to leave the inflatables to Inflatable Kingdom. After all, if an expensive inflatable toy springs a leak after a few plays it would have certainly been cheaper to go play at Open Play a few times instead.

I bought a used large pool that had a top that inflated. We put down sand, put it together, blew it up, and filled it with water only to have all the water end up all over the ground instead because the part that filled with air leaked. I tried fixing the leaks, but finally lost interest. The thing stayed deflated in the same spot for a year or two by which time it had so many holes there was nothing to do but throw it away. I still have the ladder and pump in the garage.

Alex has a wonderful wading pool with and inflatable slide that the kids love, but it has a small leak on one of the seams on the slide and I have not been able to patch it sufficiently. I will try again next time I want to fill it up. I am also concerned as right now we have rats in the garage, and I am a bit worried what they will have damaged by the time we finally manage to get rid of them.

I’m sure I am not the only parent who is tired of finding out my kid’s expensive toys are disposable. I’m just not sure what to do about it.

-HL