Ask The Parenting Expert

18 07 2011

Okay, I am SO clearly NOT a parenting expert it is scary.  But there are a few situations where I have lucked into some pretty good experiences and therefore have the ability to provide sound advice.  These are not areas that will keep your kids healthy, safe or trauma free, but if you are going on an airplane, I might have a few tips. After all, PJ had been on 21 different plane rides before she turned two – the vast majority of those trips were she and I, sans SAG.

Last January, when a friend picked up two of these “plane toys” for my kids, I lucked into another great tip.

They meet all the criteria for a great traveling toy:

relatively quiet, light-weight, easy to pack,

cheap, they inspire creativity

and if the kids start smacking each other things with them, it doesn’t do any real damage.

We have really enjoyed them.

There is huge value in that.

But I like to SHARE.  I want to be a Parenting Expert or at least be able to provide one small, but valuable, traveling-with-toddlers tip.

In order to be able to share my wisdom, I needed to know the name of the toys.

Problem is, when my friend gave them to me they had no tags on them.  And while I was pretty sure of where she bought them, the store is located in Oregon.  (I may have mentioned a time or two that we no longer live in Oregon.)  And the store has a primitive website. (Maybe there is no such thing as a primitive website, but if there was, theirs would be one.  Maybe not carved on a cave wall, but probably scratched on the back of an animal skin.)  I refused to call the store to try to describe the things because I am punishing them for having a crappy website.

I have tried to describe them to clerks at other stores who all remember a version of them from their childhood but don’t actually sell them.  “They are similar to “Sound tubes” but they do not have fluted ends.  Instead the ends fit together, blah, blah, blah…  ”  One of the challenges in describing them… well, even if you have a clean mind, the description becomes a little, well, let’s just  say, phallic.   After my last internet search (I tried for you, Claudia) for the elusive, not-really-pen1s-like-until-you-try-to-describe-them, airplane-friendly toys, I had pretty much given up.

Then, yesterday, when I was in the chips aisle of our new (and diverse, thank you very much) supermarket, I started laughing because they put the toy section inside the chips aisle.  This seemingly random pairing of merchandise is a brilliant marketing strategy that really should be used by all stores.  If I did store layout I would put the Pepper1dge Farm Milan0s directly across from the Mid0l, the p0rn next to the power tools, and the earplugs and wine near the Elm0 videos.

As I stood there laughing, I, of course, perused the toys. That’s when this store’s revolutionary product placement strategy became the answer to six months of prayer (agnostic mental whining).   Right there on the shelf, across from the Cheet0s, sat a box of THE WORLD’S GREATEST PLANE TOYs.  They were 75 cents a piece and I bought 10!

Now instead of describing them to people, I will just send them a couple.

But, in case you want to buy your own – I have photographed the labels.

(Can’t imagine why I didn’t think to Google “Poof Slinky” or “Pop Toobs.”)

Apparently they are only for kids 6 and older.

For the life of me I can not figure out how a toddler could hurt themselves with one.  So far Little Dude hasn’t managed to do any damage with the thing, and if anyone was going to, it would be him.

Still, I am not putting it past him.  Sometime soon you may see a Thursday Toddler Trick entry with a sub-label of “Pop Toob.”

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9 responses

18 07 2011
Tamara B

love it. Pop tubes… seriously, a good laugh. maybe I’m just that tired. loved your light hearted post. Mine was a bit heavy today.

love you dear friend!

18 07 2011
Erin

Well, I learned something. I didn’t know you could attach them end to end (we have but one and one of its ends tore off a while back). Coolio! I’ll invest in a stash for travel.
I’m guessing you were referring to the TF… you should have called ’em 🙂 or sent me on a mission!

19 07 2011
Tonggu Momma

I have those! I used them in my classroom when I taught. Mine are from the eighties, but oh well, they still work. The kids loved them, and could fit them together to make really long whatevers. Glad you found them. (I didn’t know what they were called either.)

19 07 2011
Scooping it up

Our OT JUST suggested this yesterday for our plane ride and I bought them on Amazon for WAY more than that. Dangit.

19 07 2011
claudia

YOU FOUND THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Totally irrelevant for me, because I am NEVER going on a plane again, EVER. But I really hope this helps some other suckah.

(They do look great).

19 07 2011
Shiloh

I am having a hard time reading the words pop toob and it keeps coming out poop toob. Maybe I should have another caffiene ridden Coke… 🙂 Regardless, thanks for sharing, I’ll keep my eyes open!

19 07 2011
Meg B

I. need. these. We leave for trip 2 in about 10 days. I’ll see if I can find them on Amazon(?) Thanks for sharing the wisdom!

19 07 2011
GRU

I am going to the store now! We are leaving in 5 days and my panic is just starting to set in! Any other travel tips you have would be appreciated!!!

19 07 2011
Lynn

I just looked at their website. Seriously? Out of all the toys I’m super impressed these were a hit! And I’m with Shiloh above… I first read “poop toob”. Ha!

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