Are you a toy snob?

[deleted account] ( 49 moms have responded )

Enough about spanking, CIO, formula vs breast, rice cereal, vaccs, circs -- let's talk about toys!



Are you a toy snob?



Do you restrict the type/amount of toys your children have?



What about your play environment set-up?



What do you do with unsuitable toys given to your child by grandparents, friends, etc.?



I have to admit that I'm a toy snob. I don't mean they have to be made from the finest organic nude wood available to humanity (though I do prefer natural materials) -- but if it isn't open-ended and simple and doesn't grow with the child, I don't want it.

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Mary - posted on 12/04/2011

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At three, I, for the most part, could care less about what others buy for her. After all, I have very little control over what others chose to purchase.

In my house, we do a lot of crafts throughout the week. I also do sensory bins with her, which I change up about every month. The toys I buy for her probably are more simple and open-ended, but I'm really not bugged if someone gets her some plastic, garish, battery-operated piece of junk, simply because I know what will inevitably happen: she will initially ohh and ahh over it when she opens it. She will play with it for a little while...and within a few days, it will lose it's appeal, and be forgotten in favor the bin of colored pasta we made together, or her basket of pom-pom's and foam shapes.

For us, child-led play is more about letting her make her on choices about what to play with, as well as how she plays with it. If someone specifically asks me what to get her for her a an occasion, I will certainly offer suggestions. However, I'm not about to rob someone of the joy of picking out something they think she will like and seeing her open it by making a fuss about the toy's "unsuitability".

Sherri - posted on 12/03/2011

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Which is why I would never buy my teens a pellet gun or air soft gun and my kids aren't allowed even at 14 and 13 to anyones house that has them or if they do the parents know my kids aren't allowed to touch them. So it does work because I can say my kids have never been shot or have a desire to be around them.

Krista - posted on 12/04/2011

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I'm not a fan of electronic toys where the kid only has to push a button -- how is that playing? So I gently discourage people from buying him toys like that. I prefer for him to have things like blocks and crayons and balls. Lately he's gotten hardcore into Hot Wheels, which is fine. I do like toys that are well-made and sturdy -- I hate that cheap dollar store shit. I'd rather he have 5 toys that are well-made and durable and that he loves to play with, than 50 cheap dollar store/fast-food restaurant bits of easily breakable junk.

If the toy is just annoying beyond all measure, then it "disappears" while he's sleeping.

I do try to keep the amount of toys down to a reasonable amount, because we don't have a separate playroom -- it's all in the living room. Right now it's pretty reasonable, I'd say. In preparation for Xmas, we're going to pack away some of the more babyish toys that he no longer plays with.

Nikki - posted on 12/04/2011

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I wouldn't say I am a toy snob but I am particular when it comes to things that I buy. I look at the educational value, the quality, whether she will be interested in it, what she can gain from it etc. I don't buy many toys, with the exception of dolls, pretend cooking and accessories, otherwise I generally buy books, puzzles, craft activities, playdough, construction, role playing materials and outdoor equipment.

My daughter has been given heaps of flashing noisy fisher price style toys, I am not a huge fan but then neither is she, she plays with them for a while then looses interest and is back to playing with her usual stuff.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2011

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I don't consider air rifles or pellet guns as toys. They are guns, pure and simple. In Australia, they are also regulated as guns, not as toys.

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Tracey - posted on 12/05/2011

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Noisy toys. In-laws wanted to buy my son a drum kit once, I said fine but it stays at their house - no drums bought, funny that.

Corinne - posted on 12/05/2011

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I've just spent my day sorting through all of the 'baby' toys and bagged them up to donate them to the school baby group. I can see the floor in the playroom!!!!!

Jodi - posted on 12/05/2011

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I love Lego. Even my 12 and 14 year olds still play with it. And now our 6 year old is so into it, that's all she wants for Christmas. It's a toy that has so much longevity.

[deleted account]

I'm a little bit of a snob, but not much ;)
We don't have room for many toys, so the toys we bring into the house need to be the kind that can keep his interest for more than 15 minute spurts.

He is 7 years old now and STILL loves his wooden blocks set--in fact, he asked for more for Christmas (and I found really cool castle shaped ones at Bed Bath & Beyond). Another fave is Legos--he's got a table and organizer for bricks & miscellaneous ones, then a drawer in our buffet dedicated to sets he can build with his dad or on his own.

I bought a Leapster2 for him when he was 3 for plane trips and long drives and he still loves it too. It is one of very few electronic toys in our home. I asked him if he'd like to upgrade to a Nintindo DS this year and he said no. So I'm happy with that.

If he gets a toy I don't like from someone, he gets to keep it as long as it holds his interest, but when he gets tired of it, it goes to the donation bin. Luckily, most of our family knows our predicament and stick with Legos, books, and video games (Yes, I allow them--we have a Wii, PS3, & Xbox360, but time on them is VERY limited. They were mostly for my husband; He's a big kid).

Books. Books occasionally get traded for credit at the used book store if they are too young for him or he just doesn't like them enough to read more than once or twice.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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My son is stacking toilet rolls as we speak. Why do I even bother to buy toys.

[deleted account]

I will have to try that on the Wiggles guitar a coworker got for my son (that I hid but he found)

[deleted account]

My MIL loves to buy "noise" toys. She bought the boys musical toothbrushes that song Christmas songs last year. Within a day I was ready to throw them out! I normally modify musical/loud toys so they aren't as loud. Duct tape on the speakers is great for that.

[deleted account]

I am not a fan of toys that come with a lot of accessories and expansion packs. It all started with a 100 piece wooden train set with train table. At first everything fit nicely into the drawers under the table but quickly multiplied into over 500 hundred pieces (thanks to my husband and in-laws) that are stored in 2 Rubbermaid totes and several baskets. When I put my foot down with the trains my in-laws started on the Handy Manny workshops and Chuck the Dump Truck race tracks. More bulky stuff with tons of accessories that fill 2 toy boxes and a 3 tier 12 bin toy shelf. My son still plays with it all but he can only play with one set at a time and he has to pick them up when he is done. He also has downstairs toys and bedroom toys to keep the mess to a minimum. There have been a few gifts that my in-laws have given him that have stayed at their house (much to their dismay). I did the whole if we leave them here he can play with them when he comes to visit routine. There was no way in heck the barking dog race car thing was coming home with us!

Barbara - posted on 12/04/2011

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I think Nikki S kind of already said this but it's kind of key at our house. People give the kids those flashy plastic disasters at every opportunity, but instead of deeming them inappropriate we just let them play with them for five minutes, at which time either break or they put them down and never think of them again. That's when we can sweep them away, and the kids get back to playing with the core group of toys they have that are always fun, like blocks, paper and crayons, the cars and train sets, balls, marble rollers, sheets + furniture forts and the like.

We do try and keep the toy area clean and uncluttered, because it makes such a difference in how they play, and also the likelihood that they will pick up after themselves increases when it's easy to keep up. So I am a snob of sorts, but hopefully my kids don't notice;)

Elfrieda - posted on 12/04/2011

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I don't know if I'm so much a snob as I am easily annoyed. :)

I don't like toys that make noise, especially the ones with batteries and buttons. My parents-in-law gave my toddler a set of soft farm animals that moo, quack, etc when you press their bellies, and I was not happy originally (of course I didn't say that to them) but actually they are pretty quiet and also actually sound like the animal, so it's okay.
My niece and nephews gave my son a plastic cell phone. It was very sweet. I took the batteries out immediately. My son still loves it.

My husband is making him unit blocks for his birthday. I prefer those kinds of toys. I don't like the way my son gets mesmerized by flashing lights and moving toys when we're at someone else's house or at the church nursery.

[deleted account]

Yes if anyone i know comes with a toy for my children, they have always been very excited and loved what was got for them.Even if its something they might not of picked for themselves.I think its just nice to receive and esp when its out of the blue.I wouldn't put it down at all.I wouldn't be even thinking about the suitability to be honest.Unless its clear that there is small parts and i have a baby that was giving the toy.I would just keep it up until there old enough.

Mary - posted on 12/04/2011

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Liz, I do one of two things with these toys - I either take them to a local kid's consignment shop, or donate them. We are attending a children's holiday party in a week at my daughter's toddler gym. The "cost" of admission is wrapped toy for their Toys for Tots drive. I have five wrapped, barely used (and two unopened) toys to donate, since my daughter's bday was just a few weeks ago.

My dad isn't an offender, since he usually asks me to pick out something for him to give to her - and he is the only family member that is around often enough to really notice what toys she has and plays with. My in-laws live 5 hours away. They honestly don't remember what they got her the last time they saw her, unless it is something she plays with in front of them, and I happen to say "Oh - that's the toy you gave her when we came up to visit in October - she loves it!"

Nikki - posted on 12/04/2011

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We have quite a bit of space so I don't really have the issue of clutter but that being said, if she doesn't play with it for an extended period of time it either gets put away, handed down to cousins or sent to charity. It doesn't bother me who bought it, I do get rid of things she has no interest in or has outgrown. I am pretty lucky that my family doesn't buy too many unusable toys, generally most of them ask me for ideas when buying presents.

[deleted account]

Yes, my son isn't very interested in the battery-operated type of toy either. But the problem with living in a tiny flat is that clutter adds up. You have to throw away stuff at some point, and what if it's something given by Grandma?

I haven't really faced this problem much, though. We live abroad and don't see our families very often.

Corinne - posted on 12/04/2011

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I wouldn't say I'm a snob, my kids have all kinds of crud. But, I do unwrap gifts to check if they are suitable before the kids get to them. Last Christmas someone bought my son an elephant shaped medicine dropper?! Ya, that one found the bin, as did the happy meal toys that were from the same person.
Pellet guns are also on my black list. A mate of mine has a glass eye from shooting himself in the face. Nuf sed.

Jodi - posted on 12/04/2011

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You know, it gets a bit hard to be a toy snob when your kids reach an age where they are at school and have birthday parties......unless you only let them invite friends who are like minded.

[deleted account]

@Emma, that's not Montessori -- that's just a mess. ;)



---



Oh, and we don't have corporate/TV show character-based toys and clothes.

[deleted account]

We do the getting of toys.Just because they can be expensive and family etc get clothes for the kids.
Its funny though, now my kids if asked what would they like.They always say books please.There two book worms.

So its nice to see they difference in styles with family..due to the books they get them.I have to say they have bought the most beautiful books for the girls over the years.There taken care of a lot better than some of the toys.lol..Our kids have always loved to explore and they are not the type of girls to sit and play with toys to be honest.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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I didn't realise having a toy box in every room was a style. I thought i was just lazy. Now i feel smart.

[deleted account]

@Rebecca, our flat is set up Montessori-style too. He has a low shelf, drawer, or basket in every room. Our flat is only 600 sq ft so I'll never get to set up my dream playroom :(, but this way works too. We have a lot of wall space in the hall, so we're either going to paint one of the walls with chalkboard paint or use chalkboard contact paper.



@Jennifer, I envy you. How nice it is to have homemade toys to pass down!



My son does have some plastic toys, like stacking cups and zoo animals. Material isn't the most important criteria for me, but I can't stand the flashing, beeping, garish plastic horrors. It's hard on my own senses, but I don't think they're good for small children either.



Wooden toys are more expensive I guess, but since I limit the amount of toys my son has, I find it works out about the same. You can have one or two beautiful wooden toys or a lot of electronic plastic stuff (which isn't cheap either, mind you).



A lot of the time my son just plays with household items.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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If it's too old for him I put it away until he's old enough since he isn't interested in it if it's too complex. My family always gets them books for some reason.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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My kids have never gotten unsuitable toys from anyone. I don't have guns but anything else is fair game. Logan spends most of his time in the wading pool or sand pit or playing with homemade playdough anyway. He has a few of those little ride around things and some trucks and stuff which he plays with outside and blocks for inside.

Erin - posted on 12/04/2011

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No snobbery here. I am lucky that my family would never make a big purchase for my daughter without checking with me. For example, my Dad and step-mum are getting my daughter a bike with training wheels for Christmas, but they asked first to make sure a) I was ok with her having it and b) I wasn't planning on getting it myself. Same goes for my Mum and step-dad buying her a cubby house.

There will never, ever, be guns of any kind - toy or otherwise - in my house. Luckily I'm Australian and I don't ever have to worry that my child will get shot while playing with a friend :-/

I'm not keen on video games either, and my daughter is not even 3, so if someone were to buy her one without checking with me it would either be returned or put away until she's older.

Other than that, it's game on.

Kimberly - posted on 12/04/2011

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Not a snob at all, my daughter has been given everything under the sun!!!! She gets presents from people that I would never buy her but thats just because I dont want to spend that money on it, if they want to go ahead. We do have rules with some of the things though like playdough is only used with us and at the table no where else ( she's 2) she can paint in her chair, drawing in for paper only. I do try to get her more learning stuff and we have tons of books which we both love but not really against anything. I have a bigger problem with kids not respecting the things they are given, you treat you stuff poorly you wont have it in our house

Becky - posted on 12/03/2011

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The one toy we do restrict in our home is electronic video game type toys. Our kids have a toy computer (a baby one) and a Tag Jr. and that's it. We don't do the handheld video games like the Leap Pad, Innotab, etc, even though they are educational. We don't want the kids getting hooked on video games, especially when they're so young. They can learn the old fashioned way - by reading actual books and doing hands-on stuff.

[deleted account]

as long as it isn't dangerous (really tiny, full of sharp pointy things)_ i let him play with it. he mostly like cars and tucks anyways.

Becky - posted on 12/03/2011

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Not a snob here! I can't remember my daughter ever getting anything that I felt was truly unacceptable. She never played with Barbies, but has gotten a few over the years . . .she decided to give them to her little cousin who adores them!



We gave her a bow . . . yes a real bow several years ago for her birthday because she wanted to shoot like my BF does. She has been taught safety with her bow first and foremost, and it is not to be used at the house . . . only at the range, Grandma house & out at the property up north. She respects her bow and has great focus and attention with it when she has it out. She will not even pull it out to show her friends at the house unless she has asked permission, and then the case is opened, but the bow stays put!



This year she wanted a gun. We thought about it, but decided against it at this point in time. She has shot .22's in the past and really enjoys doing so, but a decent .22 starts at nearly $300.More than we really have to spend this year, and like her bow, it can't be used unless we are at the range or up north and there is parental supervision.



I have no issue with guns; I grew up with them in the house for hunting, and target shooting. My brothers & I have never "played" with a gun, shot anyone, or even pointed a gun in the direction of a person! Guns are for hunting and we eat what we kill. We never had bb guns or pellet guns around - the smallest gun we ever had was a .22 and that was training for shooting the hunting rifles.

Medic - posted on 12/03/2011

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I am a complete toy snob. Most of thier toys are wooden, some made by family, some are passed down from me when I was a kid. Everyone that knows us knows how I am so we do not get anything that makes me cringe. Now that my son is into his computer our friends and family that do not like my rules tend to get him stuff for the computer. My daughter is just starting to really get into her dolls and most of the accessories are from when I was a kid. I swear they made toys to last back then and now they are made to fall apart.

[deleted account]

I'm 100% a toy snob. Everything I buy for them is wood, wool, or silicone. Plan Toys, Haba, Selecta, Vilac, Vulli, Bajo, etc. I'm also a big believer in open-ended -- unit blocks, silk scarves, sandboxes, etc. We have the complete set of Froebel toys. We have quite a few Montessori materials as well. We actually have the house set up Montessori-style --- everything on an open shelf, easily accessible. The toys are rotated frequently to keep things fresh. Actually, the boys have reached the point now where they will ask to rotate items and bring out new items, which is nice.

The only toys by kids have that are plastic were given as gifts. We are actually planning on keeping all the kids' wooden toys to pass on to their kids (should they choose to have any).

We don't get many gifts that fall into the unacceptable category (probably because everyone knows I'm a toy snob). Some of the things we have kept; some we gave or threw away. I would say once they past the stage where they were chewing on everything, I was more likely to let them keep an unacceptable toy.

I will say the absolutely best toy we ever bought the boys was a set of maple unit blocks from Community Playthings. They weren't cheap, but so, so worth it!

[deleted account]

My brother had a cap gun as a kid at 8ish..(don't think they make them anymore.. he's 38) He had the caps in his pocket and was taking them out for the night to get a shower. They went off in his pocket and set his pants and his hand on fire! So not cool.



Granted, my boy is only 3, but as of now I have the same thoughts as Sherri. My son has learned to 'shoot' at people thanks to the other boys in his preschool class. I know kids will make guns out of anything, but I prefer the imagination (though I'm constantly discouraging the gun play imagination) over ones that actually DO shoot stuff out of them... except the squirt guns we have in our tub.

Vicki - posted on 12/03/2011

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Yes and no. I don't take toys off him if they've been given as a gift, even if I wouldn't choose that. Although none of my family have bought him a toy gun, that might be different! I do select which is most available. His nice wooden toys are the most accessible, out on the toy shelf and in an easy to get to basket on the floor. All the plastic crapola is in the toybox in his room and in some drawers. I prefer him to play with the wooden toys but it's also because his toy corner is in our loungeroom, I'd rather have the pretty ones on display!

[deleted account]

No, I don't really restrict anything aroudn here. I have to be honest that for the first couple of years, I was so insitent on educational only toys. But then, he grew up! I hate toy guns too, but let's face it, Nerf rocks, and mega super-soakers are utterly hysterical when you catch Mommy off-guard! So this year he wants a pellet gun and that;s when I absolutely positively said NO! Dart Nerf guns are fine-pellet guns can hurt big time.

Jennifer - posted on 12/03/2011

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Yeah, kinda a toy snob!! LOL, and for those moms saying "no guns, ever!!", it doesn't help! I taught my son gun safety, refused toy guns, gave him a 'real' pellet gun and taught him how to ues it. Yep, his friends shot him. TWICE. Once in the lip, surgery to remove the bb. Once in the EYE, air soft pellet, luckily he didn't loose his sight. Mom's heart litarally stopped! But the Navy guy stopped calling. So now, he can have all the guns he wants, but I ban his friends from having any!! (lol, not really, he's twenty, but I sure wish I could!)

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/03/2011

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It really depends,my MIL thought it would be a good idea to send my Fiance home with helium balloons when he was 11 months old and they were leaking confetti everywhere,we didnt notice at first until he had some in his mouth so i stabbed the balloons with a knife and all that junk went in the garbage outside.who ever thinks balloons and confetti are a great gift should give their head a shake! i was not happy. as for actual toys there hasnt been any i gotten rid of after,he has ALOT for only being one years old,so i normally clean up the ones he outgrows and sell them on a local buy and sell site,to collect a little money for Him or new useful toys.. in the beggining when i was pregnant i said i wouldnt have a million toys,but that didnt last lol.

Amanda - posted on 12/03/2011

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no play duh or magic dough, god I hate that stuff. I use to be anti guns but now my son owns like every Nerf gun out there. As for barbies im not a fan of them but i wont get rid of them if someone else buys them for my kids.

[deleted account]

Now that it's been mentioned, I don't think I ever want a toy gun in my house, I absolutely hate them. If I'd be able to keep them out is a different story though...

[deleted account]

Oh, I was wrong.... If you give my girls beads... I WILL throw them away. My dad gave them a set of 1000 beads JUST after I had finally gotten rid of all the last set. Beads are evil and get EVERYWHERE.

And if you give my kid a toy that makes noise and is powered by batteries.... the batteries will never get replaced. lol

[deleted account]

Nope. Not at all. I'm anti-gun (except those cheap, bright colored, water guns), but no one's ever given my son one yet....

[deleted account]

I was probably a toy snob for the first six months or so, but then I realised that my daughter kind of knows herself what's a good toy for her and what isn't.
Some things I don't like because they look really tacky (german toys are so much nicer, i kind of miss home for those things...), but I still let her play with it if she wants to. We are also kind of poor, so the really nice wooden toys I'd be after are totally out of my price range.
I don't want too many electronic toys around the house and I will probably keep an eye on video games and the like, should that ever become an issue (I so hope not, but let's not be naive...).
That said, I was fighting tooth and nail to get her a good quality balancing bike for her second birthday and nothing else was going to do for me (my partner thinks they are rididculous). AND I am a total book snob. I don't like most books we get as presents for her and most german books simply annoy me - which sucks, seeing that they are important for the whole bi-lingual thing. I generally spend ages to pick a book for Nina, and those are also the ones we read most. But again, if she picks some crappy, boring, super-stupid book and says 'Mommy, read that', I'll oblige.
So in short, I guess I'm a bit of a snob in my head, but I don't really act on it.

Sherri - posted on 12/03/2011

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Nothing to me is off limits unless it is a toy gun since guns aren't toys in the first place. My kids are allowed to have anything someone buys them. I don't restrict it.

Nobody has ever given anything unsuitable to my kids. So no clue what I would do.

Tam - posted on 12/03/2011

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For me, certain things. But it's usually based on my aggravation level. For example, my son was given a set of stamps complete with a nice, pair of ink pads. Red and black ink, guaranteed to seep its way into any permeable surface he might touch.



He was given this set before he turned two. Now, don't get me wrong, stamps are great fun for young children. But at the time I was dealing with the impending birth of my daughter and making sure everything was squared away since my husband was deploying shortly after.



Four years later, the stamps are currently stored in their original container in a closet. And to be completely honest, they really aren't missed.



It just depends on the toy, the age of the child, and my willingness to clean up the aftermath beyond the normal chaos.

Becky - posted on 12/03/2011

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Not in the least. My house looks like Toys R Us threw up in it. My son, on the other hand, if it's not Cars (disney), he doesn't want it!

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2011

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Nope, not a toy snob. If my kids are given toys I wouldn't normally give them, I let them have it. If my daughter wants to by ANOTHER Barbie with her pocket money, I don't care.

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