The Sound of Silence

Beware. If you buy someone else’s kid a noisy toy – they will get you back. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday – BLAM! Your life will never be the same.

Here’s my case study for this hard-fast rule…

When my niece was born, our family was overjoyed. The first of the next generation was here. To say she was spoiled is an understatement. We heaped love on this little girl – as it should be.

By the time she was past the toddler phase, I was out of work. I took a seasonal Christmas job at the mecca of all things Christmas shopping – Toys R Us. I did it for a few reasons: 1. I needed work. 2. I’ve always loved toys. 3. I wanted to be able to spoil my niece for Christmas (again) and the discount TRU provided was a very nice carrot.

Amongst the items I purchased for my niece was something called Lisa Lemonade. A cute little blond-haired girl who came with an adorable lemonade stand. Seemed harmless enough. Right?

Yeah, no. Remember, that cute little girl from Poltergeist was blond too.

Lisa Lemonade wasn’t just a doll with a stand – this doll actually MADE LEMONADE. You put in the batteries, the mix, the water and hit the button. She stirred her big spoon and talked to you… with one of the creepiest doll voices ever. (Or at least, that’s how we remember it.)

It was terrifying. And if you ask my brother and sister-in-law the thing would turn on in the middle of the night. They’d be sleeping and hear; “who wants lemonadeeeeeeeeee”.

They vowed to get me back someday.

Fast forward to current time. My niece is now going into her second year at College and I have kids of my own.

For my son’s first Christmas my brother had a pile of small packages with my son’s name on it, under the tree. No big surprise, right? Not until we started opening them.

Tambourine. Maracas. Sleigh Bells. Drum Sticks, Shakers… you get the picture. An entire bin of noise making band instruments had arrived into my life. I thought we were even.

We weren’t.

Now three, my son (and his 1-year-old sister) got a surprise move night with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. The movie on the docket – the newly Netflixed Moana.

As Moana was setting sail, my brother and sister-in-law reached into a very large gift bag. They pulled out a small Pua the pig and Hei Hei the chicken toys. Nice little plastic animals. Cute.

I didn’t see it coming.


As Moana was singing about finding herself, they went back into the bag.

Welcome to the family – singing Moana doll!

You push the necklace and she says (and screams) lines from the movie and sings a few lines from “How Far I’ll Go”. With this, my 1-year-old daughter created instant arm raising choreography which we must ALL do every time she pushed the necklace. Every. Single. Time.

Ok, back to the movie (while all doing the arm choreography another 100 or so times). My brother and sister-in-law couldn’t stop smiling.

Lin-Manuel Miranda came on the movie with his voice over song “We Know The Way” and my daughter rocks out (as she does for Hamilton soundtrack too – she loves LM-M). Back into the bag they go…

Moana Soundtrack. It’s now entrenched as the #2 disc on the CD player and my son knows exactly what numbers to go, to listen to “You’re Welcome” over and over and over again.

The scary crab part was coming up in the movie and my sister-in-law was prepared. As Tamatoa turned all freaky neon colors, she went into the bag and came out with multi-colored glow sticks. It was a rave in the house and the frightening scene came and went without a tear.

This looked like it was it. Phew.


I definitely didn’t see that last hit coming…

Maui and Moana defeated the crab and Maui got his hook! So did my son. A giant plastic, LIGHTUP, sound making hook. It’s got a button to make the noises, OR it’s motion activated. Meaning if it’s on the floor and you walk by it lights up and makes noise. If it’s on the table across the room and something shakes – it lights up and makes noises. Day… OR NIGHT.

They were very thoughtful to make a fun night of gifts and movies for the kids. They had a blast with their family. But there was something on the faces of my brother and sister in law that made know there was more to it.

I texted them again the next day to thank them for visiting and the ‘fun’ toys. I got back a 2-word text message.

“Lisa Lemonade”


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