Doug has managed to put many baby things away without complaint, the stroller, the high chair, his crib and quite an assortment of toys. But not the Baby Einstein Aquarium. He's on his third one. The first one broke within a year, and in a panic we ran out to buy one that night, because dude, we need sleep! The second one broke within a few months and I emailed the manufacturer, who sent me a replacement free of charge. That was about 18 months ago.
We kept hoping that he would outgrow the need for this battery devouring toy. Every two-ish weeks we'd need to replace all four C batteries in it. We hoped when he went into a regular bed he wouldn't need it. No such luck. I bought him a Sleep Sheep (we've replaced its batteries twice in 18 months) in the hopes that just the soothing white noise from it was enough. No dice. Recently we'd taken to just asking him if he could possibly sleep without it. HA! I realized that he wasn't going to take it off to college, but I thought it was about time to gently disengage him from it.
Last week I saw our opportunity coming. I was singing him his lullabies, and I kept hearing a clicking sound. I noticed that it was coming from the infamous aquarium. There was a small tear in the background, and every time it went around it caught. I came to the conclusion that one of two things was going to happen in the near future: 1. it was going to just catch and tear off completely or 2. tear enough to impede the progress of the scroll. Either way, it was close to breaking. I began to imagine a nightmarish scenario in which it broke in the middle of the night and we had an inconsolable child on our hands, possibly sleeping in our bed (which is a HELL no).
I decided to be proactive and head this dilemma off at the pass. I turned to the old parental stand by: bribery. I began looking for a toy so amazingly awesome that Doug would trade the aquarium for it. I found a game called 'Lucky Ducks' there are twelve ducks in a moving pond that go around Ernie from Sesame Street. There are four groups of ducks, each set of three have the same shape on their bottoms, so it's a matching game. Doug is quite the duck enthusiast, so it was perfect! I ordered the game and oddly enough, it was delivered on a Sunday. We came back from church and a package was sitting on our porch. I told Doug it wa a surprise for him (always a sure way to get him all worked up). As I opened the box I noticed that the batteries were not included, it needed two C batteries. So we told Doug he could have this game, but only if we got the aquarium, because we needed the batteries from it. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried.
I thought that Doug might hem and haw over this trade for a few hours to days, but I was willing to give him time. What I wasn't prepared for was him skipping down the hall to hand us the aquarium so we could butcher it for batteries. As you can see, Doug was clearly pleased with this arrangement:
As I expected, bedtime Sunday night was a bit rough. Jeff has moved Doug's night light closer to his bed as Doug primarily used the aquarium as a night light when he woke up in the middle of the night. Doug asked to have a flashlight in bed, but I offered to loan him something else. I'd had a glow worm when I was Doug's age and when I was in college my mom gave me one as a nostalgic gift. I went and fished it out for Doug and he's able to give it a squeeze when he needs a little extra light. All in all, I think the trade has worked out quite well.