We joined a handful of new parents clubs soon as soon as our son was old enough to leave the house. What we found, rather quickly, was that said meet-ups weren’t put together for the benefit of the baby. They were basiclly an excuse for the adults to get dresed, get out of the house and get as much information about as many baby-related topics as they could.
One day after a playgroup, my wife tells me about Sophie. Sophie the Giraffe. She raved about how nearly every newborn in her playgroup had one. So much so that I kinda felt kind of guilty our little big man didn’t have a Sophie character of his own.
So, what is a Sophie the Giraffe and why is it so popular you may ask? Well, Sophie has her own website but here are a couple of highlights taken from the website:
Why is Sophie such a huge success? Sophie the Giraffe is BABYS FIRST TOY, stimulating EACH OF HIS SENSES from the age of 3 months:•Sight: At the age of 3 months, a baby’s eyesight is still limited and he can only make out high contrasts. The Dark and contrasting attention-catching spots all over Sophie the Giraffe’s body provide visual stimulation and she soon becomes a familiar and reassuring object for baby.
•Hearing: Sophie’s the Giraffe squeaker keeps baby amused and stimulates his hearing. To begin with, the funny sound Sophie makes when she is squeezed helps to stimulate baby’s hearing, and then later, helps him to understand the link between cause and effect.
•Taste: A Sophie the Giraffe is made of 100% natural rubber and food paint, and is completely safe to chew, just like a feeding bottle teat. Her soft texture and numerous chewable parts (ears, horns, legs), make her perfect for soothing baby’s sore gums during teething. •Touch: Touch is the first means a baby has of communicating with the outside world. Sophie the Giraffe’s soft feel, like baby’s mother’s skin, stimulates physiological and emotional response that soothe baby and promote healthy growth and well-being. •Smell: The singular scent of natural rubber from the Hevea tree makes Sophie the Giraffe very special and easy for your child to identify amid all his other toys. •Easy to grip: Sophie the Giraffe’s shape and 18 cm (7 inches) size are perfect for baby’s small hands. She is very light, and her long legs and neck are easy for baby to grip, even from his earliest days.
Okay, makes total sense to me. Sophie the Giraffe is this awesome baby toy that my kid will totally love.
He will play with it, learn calculus and shower me with his affection; sign me up. We promptly marched out to the local infant specialty store and bought our little big man one. This unique natural rubber toy retails around $20.00 USD. We were so excited, we could not unbox this fantastic new baby toy fast enough. We washed it off and immediately handed it to our newborn.
Then Sophie squeaked.
Our son’s eyes widened, his mouth opened wide, and he let out one giraffe-sized scream. Keep in mind, he had an insane kung-fu grip on the poor giraffe (Easy to Grip! As Advertised!), which only made it squeak more, which, in turn, made him squeeze harder, which made Sophie squeak louder, which…
We realized, of course, that at this point the little big man wasn’t ready for Sophie the Giraffe. This was fine for us because in the ensuing struggle to pry the delightful innocent play toy from his kung-fu grip, Sophie the Giraffe sailed clear across our living room, through the bathroom door and directly into our toilet.
Needless to say we went ahead and purchased a new Sophie the Giraffe. It is sitting in our closet, in a box, waiting for its moment to be reintroduced to our son.
A funny thing happens when you have a kid; you automatically become part of a new club. It’s kind of like college in a sense. A bunch of people from various backgrounds are all in a similar situations and are trying to navigate this new mysterious experience together. You innocently go in search of anything and everything that you think will make your child the same as every other new child in the club, only bigger, better, cuter, of course, and defenitly smarter.
There’s a lesson here somewhere about ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and using your own parental instincts to do what’s right for your newborn. Your newborn has no idea who The Jones’ are, and until he expresses the explicit need to keep up with anyone or anything other than his own two feet, let The Jones’ go.
And that’s my story about Sophie the Giraffe.