Monday, September 29, 2003

Child’s Play

I spent an hour last night in the toys section of Robinson’s Metro East department store in search of the perfect gift for my niece Andee. She turns five today.

Choosing a gift for a little girl is a serious undertaking because I didn’t want to give her something she’d lose interest in too quickly. Nothing static or boring, preferably an item that’d pick at her brain to get those neurons and axons growing, yet doesn’t fall under the ‘educational toy’ category. I had my eyes fixed upon the Barbie laptop/girlie bag but I choked at the four-digit price.

The Lego-clone MegaBloks seemed like a good choice, and all 250 blocks were nicely packaged in a brightly colored bucket. But my niece is still in that bratty impatient stage, and she still tends to leave things lying around. I checked the rows of Play-Doh kits but frowned at the cost-benefit disadvantage, and Andee had already gone through the McDonald’s make-burgers-fries-and-sundaes version.

Kitchen sets? Done that. Plastic animals? Uninteresting. Hand-eye coordination games? Too soon. Walkie-talkies? Nah, something she could play with on her own. Transforming robotic insects? Ummm . . . no.

I did see something that caught my fancy. Adorable golf ball-sized electronic animals that respond to voice commands. (Micropets, or some such name) The package claimed 18 tricks and functions, and there were over 20 kinds of the little buggers available. But I should practice restraint. Must get GameBoy Advanced SP.

So I ended up getting Andee a What’s-Her-Face doll. (Really, that what it’s called.) Dressed up in funky teen wear, the doll comes with the novelty of being faceless. The child is encouraged to get creative by affixing eyes and mouths on the face using special stamps. Three sets of eyes and four kinds of lips that the young ‘un can mix and match. The ink can be easily wiped off, and the water-soluble markers can be used to add color to the doll’s shiny fuscia hair. Little stencils come with the package, allowing one to add patterns on the jacket, blouse and jeans. Pretty neat, eh.

After paying for the thing (which was on sale, doubling my pleasure) and having it giftwrapped, I headed off to Cravings Katipunan to meet Jam over coffee and cake.

My 33rd birthday approaches (though I’ll forever be 26). I wonder what I’ll be getting myself.

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