Park Life: Corrupted - by a bunch of girls

LAST SUNDAY it rained from morning to night, my wife was incapacitated by a slipped disc,and the boys were beginning to get cabin fever. I knew I should have bullied them into coats and wellies for a sprint round the park, but I just couldn't be bothered. Instead, we dropped in on some old friends we hadn't seen for a while and their two small daughters.

Normally such a visit would not work. Within 10 minutes of arriving our eight-year-old son Darcy would be champing at the bit and demanding to go, which is why we don't see as much of friends-with-daughters as we used to. But in a recent development, alongside football, collecting football stickers, fishing and warring with his Digimon computerised game, Darcy is now hooked on Beanie Babies, the first hobby he and his mates must have picked up from the girls in their class.

Beanie Babies are a range of infuriatingly cute soft toys in the shape of animals, small and cheap enough to be collectable and addictive. At our friends' house, Darcy duly disappeared to discuss the relative merits of Tracker the basset-hound, Nut the squirrel and Crunch the shark with Lily and her friend.

The four parents, meanwhile, cringed at the cutesy voices our children adopt when dealing with their Beanies, and tut-tutted at the way our offsprings' worst acquisitive traits had been exploited yet again by a marketing campaign designed to part them from their pocket money. Darcy must now weigh the merits of one new Beanie Baby against 12 packets of stickers - a task that would surely stretch Gordon Brown.

But given Darcy's taste for rough sports (which I approve) and violent computer games (which I don't), my own feeling was that Beanie Babies were a good thing, even at the risk of turning him into a Graham Le Saux- type footballer - one who collects antiques, visits art galleries and, heaven forbid, reads The Guardian. For the first time, Darcy has a peaceful hobby he can share with girls.

Or so I thought. A circular was sent from school alerting us to a spate of bullying in the playground. I opened my interrogation, but Darcy pleaded ignorance. There must, I insisted, have been some incident to have sparked this letter. "Well," he said, "we were playing football the other day, and suddenly the girls attacked us with their Beanie Babies. Someone threw Nut in my face."

So much for the gentle influence of soft toys. What these girls clearly need is a sprint around the park to work off that latent aggression.

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Pandas may be more sociable than previously thought
news
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss