Super Mommy vs. Toy Packaging

By Sarah White

“Open it please.” Ugh! Those dreaded words again.

My son looks up at me, his eyes wide with anticipation as he hands to me the object of his desire- a newly bought action figure complete with accessories. The toy is entombed in layers of cardboard, plastic and sadistic twisty things.

“Okay, okay” I tell him, “but I’ll need my tools. Go get me the scissors.”

As I contemplate my plan of attack, my son trundles off to look for the scissors. He returns and like an eager apprentice, he hovers beside me eager to assist. In my 8-year-old son’s eyes I am on par with his super heroes. He has complete faith in my mommy super power abilities.

I start with surgical precision, cutting the top layer open. I pull back the cardboard under which is another tight layer of plastic. I see the toy figure smugly beaming out at me. More cutting but the plastic is thick and hard to cut. I reach for a knife from the drawer and begin to pry. My finger catches the edge of plastic.

“Dang it, ouch! band-aid! Go get mommy a band-aid.”

I tear away the plastic, finally ripping it open only to reveal dozens of tightly wound twisties. Drat! Evil, hideous things those twisties. I make a mental note—next time we go toy shopping, we’re buying from a thrift store.

As I curse the toy, I am not thinking of the trees being felled at a rate of 100 acres per minute to box this plaything. I am not concerned with statistics about the 250,000 plastic bottles dumped each hour in this country, making up nearly 50 percent of recyclable waste in the dumps, waste that takes close to forever to decompose. Even the fact that plastic thrown into the sea kills and destroys sea life at an estimated 1,000,000 sea creatures per year fades into significance. I am too busy combating the twisties.

Is it my imagination or is that toy figure mocking me. Mom vs. toy packaging.

I slowly begin to untwist the ties finally emancipating my son’s beloved action figure. My son is thrilled. I take comfort in that in his youthful eyes I still wear a cape and a suit with a big “M” on the chest. One day he’ll realize Superheroes are just toys and I am just a mommy.

About the author: Sarah White is a community involvement coordinator in EPA New England’s Superfund Program.