Sunday, July 10, 2011

If it Looks Like a Dog Toy…

…and it squeaks like a dog toy, is it in fact a dog toy?

No! It’s the BPA-free, all rubber, French-made teether to the stars—Sophie the Giraffe. I have seen this trendy toy pop up at baby yoga, the park, and restaurants, hanging from strollers and car seats everywhere I go. One woman even asked if I named my older daughter, S, after Sophie the Giraffe. Um, yeah…if it was a boy, we were going to go with…Elmo…or…Batman…

Anyway, popular consensus is that STG is a miracle toy. A quick perusal of the Internet will show you that people cannot live without their Sophie. At least ten Etsy stores make “Sophie saver” leashes so you won’t lose her, and the product website even states at the bottom—YOUR BABY NEEDS HER!

It’s hard to argue with that kind of subtle marketing.

Meanwhile, baby N has been teething since she was 2 months old—drooling like crazy, gnawing anything within her reach, and protesting loudly if you remove the placemat, or checkbook, or breakable figurine from her tiny yet iron-like baby grip.

And so, despite the fact that we are cancelling our gym membership, shopping at thrift stores, and eating beans at every meal (I’m talking a lot of freaking beans, here), I recently went out and spent $25 dollars on Sophie the Giraffe. Okay, technically, I had store credit, but still. If I’m spending that much on a teething toy, it better not only soothe baby N’s gums, but also put her down for a nap and change her diaper to boot.

In the store, baby N smiled and cooed at the sight of Sophie, immediately reaching for the box. I was feeling pretty pleased and justified with the purchase, and couldn’t wait to give her the cute little giraffe to suck on.

I opened the box and presented her to N. But instead of flashing the gummy smile of appreciation I expected, baby N squirmed and scowled. She looked me straight in the eye and threw poor Sophie on the ground. I tried again, but to no avail. Baby N continued to fuss until it dawned on me. She wanted the box.

I offered her the flimsy cardboard, and sure enough, she put it right in her mouth with a little grunt of satisfaction. $25 rubber toy made specifically for this purpose? No go. Cheap cardboard box? Oh yeah.

A few weeks have passed, and N still doesn’t give Sophie more than a passing glance, er, chomp.

Here are five things that baby N would prefer to chew on over STG:

1.     The label from a rotisserie chicken. The kid loves cardboard, what
        can I say?
2.     The finger of anyone within her reach. Big sister gets a kick out of 
        this and loves to offer N her hand. Unfortunately, S has a 
        summertime aversion to soap and water, so I’m not such a fan.

3.     Those tiny packages of Kleenex. These are N’s absolute favorite 
        teething devices. They’re crinkly yet soft, light, easy to grip, and 
        provide endless fun. That is, until someone notices that she’s
        managed to open the package and has possibly ingested some of
        the tissue, and then her daddy freaks out and asks why I don’t give 
        her a real toy. Like an expensive French giraffe that she will either
        ignore or throw at me.

4.     Pretty much anything else you can possibly think of. Well, anything 
        that’s not meant for children to chew on. For example, cell phones,
        toy cars made in China, construction paper, watches, Barbie limbs…

5.     Her big toe. She really goes at it if I let her:

Must. Have. Toe! 

Nom, nom, nom.

"'Who's Sophie?' she said, and smiled in her special way..."


(Dontcha wish your Sophie was a yogi like me? Dontcha....?)

Meanwhile, big sister S loves STG. And not just because the toy could be her namesake. As soon as we brought Sophie home, S suggested that I go back to the store to buy one in her size. It went straight into her mouth, and she found it very satisfying to chew on. If only she didn’t have all of her teeth already…

S was also thrilled to discover that Sophie the Giraffe makes a very loud, high-pitched and not-at-all annoying squeaking sound. In no time, S learned how to squeak out Jingle Bells on Sophie, and this has kind of become her theme song. She’ll race around the backyard, squeaking out Jingle Bells (again, not at all annoying), and eventually get bored and try to shove the toy in baby N’s mouth.

But of course N doesn’t want STG. She’s already found a stick or leaf or something else entirely unsuitable for babies to suck on.

I still think Sophie’s cute, though, and she’s taught me an important lesson. If I’m ever tempted to spend $25 on a baby toy again, I’ll remember her and look no further than my own recycling bin for entertainment (soda bottle rattles, anyone?). 

So for that I say, Merci, Sophie!


  1. Funny! N's mohawk is hilarious, and she has a fantastic smile.
    Leigh Johnson

  2. Thanks, Leigh! I hope your little ones are doing well!

  3. N is gorgeous!! Check out my sisters blog too..she's also a mommy blogger!