Park Life: Corrupted - by a bunch of girls
Saturday 13 March 1999
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.
Life & Style blogs
Surgeon backs 'good death' plans - and reveals his own
NHS hit by stealth cuts of £2bn as tariffs received for medical procedures are reduced
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...