I also could have named this post, "Things I never noticed before I had children." If you've never heard of the Joshua Tree Principle, you can read a little about it. It's interesting but not groundbreaking stuff. The first observation was something I put on my Facebook status yesterday. Yes, I updated my status, not something I do all that often. Anyway, I got annoyed yesterday because I was plagued with a recurring issue in my life: trying to find the boys' sippy cups. This shouldn't be that hard, since the boys basically spend all their time in two rooms in the entire house. And the rooms aren't that big. But when it comes to finding their sippy cups, I am pretty sure I spend half of my time wandering around those two rooms looking behind, under, next to and top every single item in the room. Why in the world would two little cups be so hard to find? Well, it's because sippy cups are the exact same color as every one of the boys' toys. They blend in perfectly. I swear, there have been instances where I am looking directly at a sippy cup and can't see it. There are deer and elk in Wyoming who wish they blended in with their environment this well. I know the whole point of these colors is marketing. I don't know too many parents who will buy their children earth tone sippy cups. But on a practical level, it's a little annoying that every company that makes anything for children uses the same colors. Toys, tableware, cups, books, DVD cases ... you name it. Put them all together and you get a brilliant mosaic of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and orange, and good luck trying to distinguish individual objects from within the mire. It's like Where's Waldo, but this time Waldo is a blue cup with a yellow lid.
The other observation I have made is how grocery stores, or stores in general, market to children. I noticed this the first time with my nephew Zach, and I have seen it replayed with my own children. Unless you are three feet tall, you would never notice that (seemingly) everything on the lower grocery store shelves is marketed for children. Sponge Bob, Spiderman, Lightening McQueen, Dora and Buzz Lightyear adorn such items as Spaghetti-O's, Mac and Cheese, fruit cups, juice boxes, yogurt, etc. From my perspective, we go to the grocery store to buy food. My kids think they are at Disneyland or Universal Studios. The same is true of Toys R Us. You need a bike helmet for your toddler? Good luck finding one without a cartoon character on it. Now, to be fair, the extent to which toy companies and the TV/film industry are in cahoots is no secret. I mean, I there was a time when I would have sold my soul for a Star Wars figure or ship. So, it's not like I go to Toys R Us and feel violated because 99% of the toys are based off television shows or movies. I know how the system works. I guess I am just a little bothered that so much effort is put into trying to attract my children's attention and turn them into little consumers. Even more annoying is how shameless these people are in trying to get to my wallet through my children.
This post is probably more appropriate for my other blog, but I just thought I would write what is on my mind. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.