Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear IPlay Toys...

Why are you trying to dumb down my daughter?

Last Christmas I added this cute little "tractor and friends" toy to my daughter's wish list in case Santa wanted to give it to her. First off, it plays songs and actually rolls along the floor which I thought would be fun for her. We had been at another kid's house who had it and Katy Belle had seemed vaguely interested so my "you must get this for her" alarm went off. 

(Parenting insight: Just because your baby likes something at another child's house...or something she finds on the street for that matter...does not mean she will like it for an extended period of time. You don't have to get it for her. You are welcome.)

Second, it is a farm related toy. If you have a baby then you know that it is apparently IMPERATIVE that your child knows farm animals. It seems that 70% of all baby books and baby toys focus on farm animals and even more specifically what the animals say. My working theory is that babies need to know this because when the technology apocalypse comes and wipes all living creatures from the planet (except us, they will still need their human slaves) it will be important for us to remember for future generations to know there was more than the Mad Max world that we live in..." Still in all, every night we does the tell, so that we 'member who we was and where we came from..." 

Moving on, Katy Belle got the toy for Christmas and has enjoyed it. 

It has been 4 months roughly and I just noticed something. 

When you put the animals in the trailer they match with their animal sound. You put the pig where it "oinks." You put the horse where it "neighs," etc...

Then there is the chicken. If it looks like a chicken, sounds like a chicken...oh wait. It doesn't sound like a chicken.

That is a rooster. Not a chicken.



Let's not focus on the fact that it was only until yesterday that I realized the error. I am a good parent who vets all toys that enter this house. These are not the droids you are looking for.

Let's focus on IPlay toys and their serious lack of due diligence. How did this get through the factory and onto shelves? Did this happen in the design stage and not seen as a mistake or did this happen somewhere along the line on the assembly floor where ala I love Lucy this sound cue got used?

How does the company describe the toy: "There are five farm animals and farmer included with this tractor. Listen for fun sound effects." and "Five animal friends stand in the trailer and make animal sounds when placed in their appropriate spots."

I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say maybe it is a rooster, just not a very good one, but the company won't even own up to the animals. "Animal Friends" seems a bit vague and a little like an "out" for any possible "animal atrocities."

I guess they get points for it being in the same general family, but I actually think that may be worse because it is harder for the toddler to sort out. We must review animal sounds with Katy Belle over 20 times a I said, almost all books and toys are geared towards this..."chickens say cluck! Roosters say cock-a-doodle-doo!" "Chickens say cock-a-do do do do NOT!"

Luckily, Katy Belle currently thinks all animals say "arf" (genius) so I am sure the bi-ligual chicken isn't going to be what keeps her out of gifted classes. I do think I am going to write the toy company and find out if I have a fluke or if they are just stupid.