'I Drowned Winnie the Pooh'

Sometimes, the children's noisiest Christmas presents — the toys that annoy — simply have to go. The case of the plastic bear with the rumbly, tumbly computer chip inside is just one example.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Despite the song, there's noting silent about Christmas. And if you're a parent of young children, you may be reaching for your earplugs just about now.

David Curran has this commentary.

(Soundbite of laughter from Tickle Me Elmo Extreme)

DAVID CURRAN: Call them toys that annoy. I do.

(Soundbite of toys)

CURRAN: They bling, beep, and blink. They can be way too big or perhaps swallow-ably small, they maybe educational or sickeningly commercial. Happy holidays! Do you know where your earplugs are? How about your hammer?

(Soundbite of Winni the Pooh toy)

WINNI THE POOH: Hurray!

CURRAN: Some parents' special circle of hell involves the Sponge Bob, Superman, Elmo, Blues Clues, Hello Kitty, Dora, and Lily vortex.

(Soundbite of various Lily Dolls and a cow mowing)

(Soundbite of sirens)

CURRAN: When your child tears open the wrapping on a gift and you glimpse the words, Authentic sirens sounds, it's right to be concerned. When my kids open something that makes a lot of noise, I immediately rewind my relationship with the giver, wondering what I've done so wrong that they would inflict such an object upon us? This does not mean we always act, sometimes we tolerate. In fact, a very large police squad car has been driving around our house for two years.

(Soundbite of sirens)

CURRAN: And it still hasn't been sledge hammered. Other toys have not been so lucky. The first one my wife and I sent to the gallows was a somewhat innocent-looking plastic Winnie the Pooh.

(Soundbite of Winnie the Pooh):

WINNIE THE POOH: Let's play, shall we? Squeeze my hand, please.

CURRAN: He was about seven inches high, and when my daughter squeezed the honey pot in its hand, he gurgled…

WINNIE THE POOH: I'm so rumbly in my tumbly, ho-ho.

CURRAN: We heard this hundreds of times a day.

(Soundbite of Winnie the Pooh):

WINNIE THE POOH: I'm so rumbly in my tumbly, ho-ho.

CURRAN: There were no batteries to remove. This toy just had some rumbly-tumbly chip inside. So, finally, we stuck it into the sink and water-boarded the damned thing.

(Soundbite of Winnie the Pooh):

WINNIE THE POOH: I'm so lonely in my tum…

CURRAN: That's right. We gave Pooh bear dunking after dunking, until there was no rumbly, no tumbly, nothing.

(Soundbite of LeapFrog music table)

CURRAN: Silencing the LeapFrog music table wasn't so straightforward. After all, this toy may have been developing our son's music, language, and math skills. He spent hours pushing buttons to make “Mary had a Little Lamb,” or “Pop Goes the Weasel” play again and again, edging him ever closer to becoming the next Yo-Yo Ma! Right, marketing department?

(Soundbite of music)

CURRAN: Wrong. We pulled the batteries out. Then again, he did seem to have a real sense of rhythm, so we put the batteries back in. We're still undecided, and, alternately inserting and removing those batteries.

(Soundbite of music)

BRAND: David Curran is an editor at sfgate.com in San Francisco.

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