Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, we are exposed to so many wonderful things that in the past we were only able to see in our imagination. Ever since we got our first modem when I was a teenager, I have been able to visit countries on the other side of the world, learn about significant moments in history and try exciting new projects that I had never thought possible. But for every good thing you see on the internet, there are at least 20 things that will make you shake your head in confusion or disgust. And I'm not even talking about adult entertainment.
Quite recently I have become interested in researching children's toys on the internet for several reasons. One I hate driving anywhere and Miss K is a pain in the neck to take up the street, and two the internet has a wider variety of toys available than my local K Mart. Even though Miss K really is too young for a lot of the toys around at the moment, it's fun to see what kind of things I can buy for her when she's older and I've won the lottery (it could happen, let me dream). But for every toy that I look at and say "yes she MUST have that" there are so many that are so inappropriate you have to wonder what the toy makers are smoking when they come up with these ideas. The one toy that makes me want to headdesk every time I see a new version is the pregnancy and labour dolls.
While being pregnant and giving birth are two of the most natural things that a woman can do, I question the appropriateness of turning this process into a doll for several reasons. While I can understand that there may come a time in a child's life when they become interested in the birds and the bees, especially if mum starts having more children, I think showing a child a doll that is pregnant and gives birth may provide more questions than answers for the child. However, toy makers and some parents disagree with me, and so the market is flooded with all kinds of dolls with buns in their ovens and some of them are quite graphic.
WARNING... Some of the images you are about to see are NSFW so to save having to do a lot of explaining to your boss, or your children it might be best to save reading this blog when you are alone....in a room with a lock.
Probably one of the first and the tamest pregnant dolls was Barbie's best friend Midge. I remember wanting one of these when I was a little girl but for some reason mum wouldn't buy me one. Probably a good idea she didn't otherwise I would have gone into labour with Miss K thinking they would just remove the top of my tummy and pop the baby out before safely clipping my stomach back into place. Thank goodness we don't spread this lie to the children of today...
That's right ladies and gentlemen, apparently children need to know the absolute ins and outs of labour and delivery these days. This lovely doll is called the VBAC doll (available at www.mamamordolls.com) and teaches children about how mummy can have a safe vaginal birth even though she gave birth to her last child through a caesarian. The baby even comes with it's own umbilical cord and placenta still attached, and there is a strip of Velcro across the stomach to show them where the baby ISN'T going to come out because they are delivered without surgery. Way to confuse the situation. There is a similar baby available at the same website that just focuses on natural child birth and doesn't go into caesareans or VBAC or anything like that. The real difference with the natural birth doll is the press studs sewn into place where the nipples should be. This enables you to attach the baby to it's mother's breast so she can feed it. Great now babies are going to think that underneath our tops are press studs that we used to clip on to our babies so they could eat. Do children even need to bring breast feeding into their play time??
Apparently they do. Because it's not enough that their own mothers had to stop everything they were doing the minute the baby cried because they were all of a sudden doing a very realistic impersonation of a fountain, we now have to inflict this annoyance on our children. What you are looking at is the Breast Milk Baby. With thanks to some high-tech sensors in the form of flowers over the nipples of a halter top, this baby can simulate breastfeeding, complete with sucking noises and a charming burp at the end.
With all of this "educating" children on the wonders of being a mummy I'm not sure if the parents complaining that this is going to cause more teenage pregnancies aren't barking up the wrong tree. I'm more concerned that there is more of a risk of a huge drop in the population as our children will be scarred for life by the clip on tummies and press stud nipples that they will develop once they become pregnant. I know I am.