About Kali Davies-Anderson ...

Kali Davies-Anderson lives in New Castle with her husband and four children. Each Tuesday, she will write a blog on her experiences as a parent, wife and what it’s like, on rare occasions, to be an ordinary human being.

Is there any invention more obnoxious to someone with small children than those claw toy machines ?

Typically situated in the lobby/waiting areas in stores and restaurants, these demon devices have been causing angst to parents all over the world for decades on end.

Last Sunday, I went to Perkins after church. For some reason several years ago, they decided that their waiting area would be a great spot for one of these machines. Actually, there are two: one has candy in it and one has stuffed animals.

The machine with the candy in it (the crappy kind, by the way, that most kids would completely disregard after trick-or-treating) has the SAME CLAW as the stuffed animal machine.

In other words, you are expected to grasp Skittles and Smarties with the same apparatus that you are using to grasp big plush dogs and frogs.

Just let that notion simmer for a moment.

So, we walk into Perkins really only wanting pancakes and eggs and suddenly, we are tantrumming for a 2-foot-long, rainbow speckled boa constrictor stuffed with foam.

My first line of defense is lying to my children, telling them that I don't have any change.

My 6-year-old is smarter than that, however, and tells me to get change from Perkins. I tell them “NO” and stand my ground.

Not once in my life have I ever been able to actually win a toy with one of those little claws; it is just a waste of money and those 30 seconds spent aiming at beautiful stuffed spectacles offer nothing more than false hope and disappointment.

Herein lies the problem: young children don't understand that these machines are actually cruel games aimed at making adults look uncoordinated. They think that if you put the money in, then you end up with a toy.

After they pressed their faces longingly on the glass and at one point shovedtheir entire arms up into the part that dispenses the toy, the server sat us at our table and they were thankfully distracted by crayons.

Of course, I endured the same persistence for a toy on the way out.

I once saw on the news that a small toddler was so intent on getting a prize, that they climbed up into the machine.

Clearly they are hazardous and should probably be banned — you know, for the sake of the kids.

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