Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baby Alive: The Worst Toy Ever

Do not let this toy into your home!

One thing that I always believed to be true, but never could confirm was that boys toys were infinitely superior to girls toys. I always had this suspicion lurking in the back of my head, but due to the composition of my family as I was growing up, I could never confirm that I was correct in this notion. I was raised in a testosterone dominated family with my Brother, my Dad, and me. My mom was the only girl, and even she wasn’t a girly girl, so my history with all things pink is rather short. I never really felt like I was missing out on anything by not having girl toys in my life. I have come to discover that I was right.

You see, I now have a little girl. I am crazy about my little girl, and love her to pieces, but the thing is…she’s a girly girl. She loves princesses, sparkly things, getting her nails painted, and the color pink. Any clothing suggestion that alters the plan from a pink dress is met with a lengthy discussion and a healthy dose of four year old skepticism. Being a father of a child like this is somewhat like landing in a foreign country and discovering new customs and traditions that seem other worldly and bizarre. “You guys really eat that? You even eat the head? Eeeewwwww!!!!”

So I find myself adrift in this cross cultural sea of little girl-hood with nary a paddle, I’m grabbing at driftwood and trying to see how I can steer my life raft with little experience and no map. One thing I have discovered is that the color pink is my guide. Pink was never a major force in my life until my little girl entered the scene, now it is like a homing beacon to help find the items that will tickle her fancy. Did you know that there is an entire aisle in the toy store that is pink? I had no idea, or rather, I must have blocked out any such remembrances from my memory as a survival mechanism of being a boy. I am here to tell you as a father, that you do not need to fear the pink aisle. If you have a little girl, the pink aisle can be your friend. Don’t get me wrong, girl toys are mostly lame, but at least the pink aisle serves as a guide to help you find the right items for that just right Christmas or Birthday gift. However, I am writing to day to speak of the bane of the pink aisle. This is an item to avoid at all costs, you must discourage your own little girl from ever discovering this item for herself. The item of which I speak is (Cue ominous music) THE POTTY DOLL!!!!

I stumbled across this abomination innocently enough; my daughter and I were watching Spongebob and the commercial came on for the Baby Alive “Learns to Potty” doll. These people who market things to small children are evil geniuses; all it took was watching one commercial and my daughter was hooked. Her girl toy radar alerted her to the fact that she desperately needed a doll that poops and pees. Actually, thanks to the marketing people who put commercials on Nickelodeon, she can be convinced that she needs any number of obnoxious toys. I usually throw a wet blanket on her enthusiasm, as many of the toys they are peddling are absolute crap, but alas, I could not dissuade her from the potty doll. It was meant to be.

I thought I’d try to wait it out to make sure that it was actually something that she really wanted and not just a flavor of the day. Weeks passed, and she continued to press for her potty doll. I figured by this time that she had already been pretty thoroughly potty trained herself, and that a doll that reinforced this concept wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. We told her during the holiday season that she would be getting some Christmas money from various family members, and that if she decided that she really wanted to spend some of it on a potty doll she could do so with our blessing.

Do not make this mistake! The potty doll is pure evil! First of all, it retails for forty bucks, which seemed excessive to me, but that isn’t even close to the worst part of it. The doll needs batteries which bring it to life when you press a button on it’s wrist. It has those creepy doll eyes that open and close, and it talks to you. It tells you that it is hungry or thirsty, and it is up to you to take care of your doll. The potty doll comes with a few packets of “food.” You mix that “food” powder (which they warn you is not for human consumption) with water to create a brownish green goo which you then feed to a creepy plastic doll who sucks it down along with water from her little baby bottle. A minute or two later it begins to say things like, “Uh oh, I have to go potty!” and if you don’t heed it’s warnings it starts to get urgent saying, “Hurry, Mommy, Hurry!!” The doll has some manner of mysterious sensor which knows when it is sitting on it’s potty, and if you get it to the potty on time, it gets all excited and poops the nasty green goo into the mini toilet and the celebrates like it just won the World Series. If you don’t get to the potty in time, the little shoot in the doll’s butt opens and green goo drops into the baby’s diaper and it says, “Uh Oh, I had an accident.” Of course, if you have the diaper off, but the baby is not yet on the tiny plastic toilet, the green goo will dispense it's disgusting load with no concern that it might be hovering over fine furnature or clean carpets. Yes, as a parent of two small kids, I need this drama in my life.

The doll is quite creepy, but to be fair, I find pretty much all dolls to be creepy. After you use up the few packets of “food” the Baby Alive company conveniently sells packages of “food” in separate packages. They also sell more of these toy disposable diapers, because it would be silly to have a reusable diaper. We are stuffing landfills with one time use diapers for dolls, America is truly brilliant.

Then of course, you have to keep feeding this monstrosity with batteries so that it can continue to eat fake uneatable “food” and then poop that fake food into a fake diaper. There is nothing about this process that I like. Feeding the doll is just as annoying as feeding an actual baby without the benefit of it being an actual child that you care about and that needs to be fed. After feeding the doll, you need to clean her face because she gets “food” all over her face, then a minute or two after the feeding is done, the doll starts to freak out, and you have to get her to the potty pronto to avoid having green goo soil a tiny non-reusable doll diaper or drop a mess on your clean carpet. The best case scenario is that the poop drops into a doll potty which you then have to clean up. Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case that boys toys are superior to girls toys. Not all girl toys are this annoying, but if I didn’t love my daughter as much as I do, I would gladly drop Baby Alive into a wood chipper without a hint of remorse.


Brent O'Connor said...

Wow... just wow. I'm thankful I have two boys. :)

Diane said...

Laugh out loud funny! Now that you've posted this, there's no chance of regifting either. Ha!

I remember in one of your messages you said that you might be taking requests for blog topics... I'm still thinking on that one. One of these days I'm going to send you a fabulous suggestion. But you are doing so well on your own for now.

Craig Dodge said...

Regifting isn't possible, but it's because my daughter would be devastated not because of this post!

Oh, and for my Blog on Demand series, I am always open for others topics. I can't guarantee I'll be interested in writing about it, but if I am, you will be credited! Man, I really like exclaimation marks!!!