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Super Mommy vs. Toy Packaging

2012 December 10

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Lina-EPA permalink*
    December 10, 2012


    I loved your blog post! As a parent, I have been there many times! Glad that Super Mom saved the day!


  2. Arman.- permalink
    December 10, 2012

    Conscience In Reality……..

    Mommy very understand what her children want. She could war with anything in anywhere if her children disturbed. No diplomacy, No deal, No negotiate, No aids, and No regret to love her children……..!!!!

  3. DADSGETNDOWN permalink
    December 10, 2012

    I think you miss the point of all this.
    Theft, delivery and broken items, Tampering and a few other things.
    Maybe we would like our child or family member to get poisoned, or swallow a few marbles or razor blades instead.
    I also think this is a good way to not just hand the item to person and let them go for it, it is a good way to bond, spend time, with the child/children and such.
    Should I elaborate more ?

  4. wade permalink
    December 10, 2012

    I can close my eyes and see the thrill of an 8 year old having a Mother who can do anything and takes time to do so. Then I can see this young boy using the curse word that his mother just taught him and his reply when later repeating the word is “well I learned it from Mother”. I hope and pray that the curse word was not audible. Our children learn so much from our actions as well as from our words.

  5. Paul permalink
    December 12, 2012

    I feel your pain, with Christmas coming up we have to remember to get all the essentials in place before the kids get up and start opening their presents. Our essentials now include, various screwdrivers to unscrew toys from the packaging, or for opening up battery compartments, (whats wrong with the battery compartments that just clip shut?), scissors, spanners for tightening bicycle nuts, alan keys etc……a whole tool box is required on standby.

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