One of Will’s cousins gave Stella a pink Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Talking Puppy for either Christmas or her birthday – I can’t recall which. This is one of those toys I just hate. It’s not just that it makes noise. I’ve actually adjusted pretty well to the constant racket that comes with having a child. The racket that this particular toy makes just gets to me. It has this peppy, high-pitched female voice that just makes me grit my teeth. It’s just so freaking sweet and insipid.
While the voice is bad, what’s worse is the sensitivity of this thing. Remember back in the 1990’s when everyone got Viper car alarm systems? You always had the asshole that had the sensitivity set so high that a bird losing a feather would set it off. Fisher Price must have subcontracted the old Viper factory to make this puppy. If the cat farts near it, it starts singing or proclaiming, “I love you.” It’s also deceptively difficult to turn off. The bottom of one foot is a 3-way switch for power or to switch between singing and learning modes. The switch sucks. It’s impossible to know if you’ve turned it off correctly.
I had jammed Talking Puppy into the oven of Stella’s play kitchen, A) to get it off the floor, and B) to attempt to shield it from anything that could possibly activate it. It didn’t work. At 4:22 yesterday morning, Stella decided she wanted to wake up. I tried to move her to the couch, hoping we could doze back off for a bit before I had to go to work. Talking Puppy informed me that she loved me. That was it. We were up.
Fast forward about 4.5 hours, and I’m grumpily at work trying to stay awake and not cuss out the gross old man near my office who continues to suffer from what can be nothing other than a good old-fashioned case of either the consumption or black-lung. I get a text from Will. This a transcript of our text discussion:
Will: No it’s not learning time mother fucker. Talk again I grind u up.
Me: Did it wake her up?
Will : N
Me: Just you?
Will: Y. So pissed I had to get up. Takes me forever to get comfortable. (Note: you must conform your body to that of the napping child, making it difficult to nap yourself without some kind of violent cramping)
Me: You turned it off? Put the damn thing outside. I won’t miss it.
If there is a toy hell, I’d like this talking puppy to end up there one day. I read an Amazon review from Gary in Germany that apparently felt the same way:
This toy might be fun, if it didn’t start spontaneously singing songs in the middle of the night on its own. We haven’t even ever taken the “puppy” out of its box, and yet, that has not stopped it from entreating our daughter to come play with it from the other room.
Also, I don’t know what some of the other reviewers meant, but it seems to us that playing with a haunted demon-spawn of a toy does nothing to help prepare little children develop the skills they’ll need later in life to get a job in the current economy, or any other educational aspect in general, unless they plan on a future career as an exorcist.
May be a fun toy to play with, but we’re all too scared.