The kids came home to presents tonight, courtesy of Christmas vouchers kindly gifted by their Auntie Gwen.
And what are they, I hear you cry? (I've got very good hearing). Well I'm glad you asked.
They're "Worry Eaters" and were new to me until Jamie started going on about them last weekend.
Still none the wiser?
OK, let's go with the product description:
"Children have fears and troubles and woes and don't always tell their parents about them. Psychologists and teachers recommend Worry Eaters as a waste bin for problems. The children can write or draw their troubles and feed them into the zip mouth of the Worry Eater. Not that this solves all the problems straight away, but the first step has been taken and you can be sure it will provide an immediate feeling of relief. And when the Worry Eater tells the parents about the problems, they can talk to their children about them. What's more, Worry Eaters are nice and cuddly in both good times and bad and not just for children."
A good idea or just clever marketing? Probably a bit of both, but I look forward to finding out how Jamie and Charlotte fare with "Ed" and "Polli" respectively in the coming weeks.
Needless to say the Daily Mail hates them (making me wanting to love them even more).
"The Worry Eater toy shows that we've raised a generation of anxious children," someone called Bel Mooney wrote back in August. I'm feeling ashamed, aren't you?
She continued: "Both parents must be there for their children — to talk to them at meal-times and on the sofa (without the TV on), and to read a story at night. For it’s not a worry doll that will really take away a child’s anxiety — it’s a balanced, stable and secure home life."
There you go folks, simple as that. I'm just relieved that we're all so blessed in both emerging from and living in such well-rounded, Waltonesque families.