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Every time I see the kid on the Ikea commercial pedal his toy car into his mom’s new kitchen appliances and cabinets, I’m assured that the copywriters for that spot were childless. It’s just one of many TV ads that could get some unsuspecting 5-year-old banned from my house for good— probably by one of my sons.

There’s the one where the kids are writing on the walls and painting on the carpet to prove that Wash Off Crayola products don’t leave permanent stains. Yeah, well, children don’t know the difference between a Crayola brand product that wipes off with a warm sponge (and costs a whopping $50, I might add) and a box of generic crayons from the 99 Cent Store. Therefore it’s totally irresponsible to undo 150 years of good parental threats that still make me shudder at the thought of ever taking a writing utensil to a painted wall in the house.

A lot of other cringe-worthy commercials involve paper towels and disinfectants… a potty training candidate who misses the toilet, the middle-schooler and dad who test their volcano science project on the kitchen counter and the little girl who carries a hot bowl of soup across the room spilling it along the away while mom beams in the background, reminding us that Bounty is the Quicker Picker Upper.

But one single commercial that’s most likely to get a kid in terminal time out (this the only punishment I can admit to, but trust me, in real life, it would be much worse) is the Subaru ad that shows two little boys washing their dad’s car inside and out. In 30 seconds, the curly head kids in swim trunks spray water on the car while the windows are down, pour a blue chemical on the windshield and polish the dashboard with toothpaste. The first time I saw it, I had a second of hope when they’re startled when their father appears.  But my heart sank when he smiles and tells them they’ve missed a spot. Yeah, right. What world is this where such disregard of someone’s property gets a pass? I know the point was that Subarus last so long that the car will someday belong to the little perpetrators, but could this inspire my boys to ruin my ride with suds one summer day?

Don’t Try This at Home  was originally published on

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