My Kid Just Wants to Go Wheeeeeeeeee!

On Buying Two Broken Toddler Slides

Who knew trying to buy a toddler slide could cause a lot of stress? You find one for your kid's age (or within your own personal "close enough" comfort zone), pick the blue or the pink option, and purchase it, right?

Wrong.

We decided to buy Matilda a toddler slide last week. The slide at kiddie gym is her favourite thing in a massive room full of awesome play/gymnastics equipment. The slide in her friend's garden is her favourite thing out of an array of ginormous plastic sources of entertainment and a huge, rather amazing mud kitchen. The slide at the park is her favourite thing there (but currently unavailable as a summer playscheme has the run of the place in the mornings and, in the afternoons, everything's covered in flirtatiously surly teenagers).

So, as part of our ongoing efforts to make the garden more enjoyable (place bench in sunny area; give toddler duck-shaped water can), we decided to buy a slide.

The first slide we ordered was a blue Little Tikes one from Amazon (£20). It slid out of the box with its ladder already smashed to pieces. There was no bodging it together with duck tape; this slide was properly broken. Unfortunately, Matilda had seen the picture on the box and was shrieking with excitement so I improvised, propped the chute against an armchair and spent the rest of the day trying to appear calm while she chucked herself down it over and over again.

That night, it was parcelled up and hidden out of sight (out of mind), ready to be returned to Amazon. I decided against a replacement because the reviews were full of other people having the same problem.

So then we ordered a pink Chad Valley one from Argos (£19.99 in their sale; it was even in a 3 for 2 deal so we got a couple of Christmas presents - already - for Matilda, too). It turned up the next day with all of its pieces intact. But not all present. There was a bit missing.

I scrunched up my mouth at the instructions whilst Matilda attempted to slide along a chute which was lying flat on the floor. It was just the curved bit which fits onto the bottom of the chute; it probably adds stability but I've decided all it's actually for is to help kids slide gracefully into the mud instead of landing with a splash. We (unlike our laundry powder) can cope with a mud-drenched child; we do it all the time.

I assembled the slide and had my single easiest afternoon of parenting to date, lying on Matilda's bed and watching her hurtle up the ladder and hurl herself down the chute ("Wheeeeeeeeeeee!") over and over again.

Calling the Chad Valley "missing items" line (now there's a damning thing to include on your instruction leaflets...) is on my to do list. Phone calls are not exactly my favourite thing, though, so keep your fingers crossed that wedging the bottom of the chute firmly into the lawn makes up for the missing part... it could be a while before it's actually replaced...

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