March 1, 2006

Blessing & Curse: The Hello Kitty Cell Phone


When the wife couldn't make it to the Muji store on this last trip to Tokyo, she couldn't get the kid the replacements for the shoes she loves but had outgrown.

So naturally, with only the airport gift shop's "I've been gone and haven't seen my kids" assortment of guilt toys to work with, she got her the next best thing: a Hello Kitty toy cell phone.

The kid took to it like a teenager; it's really eerie. She talks on it with one hand while doing a puzzle with the other. She has elaborate mock conversations with Kitty that start with the Answer button [Moshi moshi, watashi Kitty!/Hello, this is Kitty!] and end with the Hang Up button [Mata o-shaberi shimasho!/Bye, let's chat again!]. Then she pushes the ringtone button and the whole thing starts all over again. Once, she even turned her back on us while she was talking.

The annoying chirpiness of the recordings and the pink cuteness overload of the phone itself are, for now, small prices to pay for luring the kid away from our real phones, though. My wife found that the kid had purchased a "My Humps" ringtone on her phone, and just the other day, I realized she'd erased a whole batch of voicemails on mine before I could listen to them.


I just give the kid one of the real cancelled phones hanging around the house (we have 5 now, I think, including a 3 year old camera phone from Japan that got used all of 6 months on an extended business trip)... she also likes doing a sort of DJ-set on the old cordless phone base answering machine I left plugged in to the outlet after I replaced it... "The... The... Thethethe... The Answering... The Answering system is off!"

That last bit, about her purchasing ringtones and deleting messages is funny from my current perspective as an expectant dad, but also a bit terrifying, since I've got a Treo full of info for the boy to wipe out. I suppose those security codes aren't just to stop thieves and hackers, eh?

For some reason, my son seems to prefer the phones we actually use over the old ones. I image it has something to do with the lingering scent of daddy/mommy.
[About the shoes: Greg, if you ever need anything (within reason) I would be happy to pick it up for you, send it along and let you reimburse me by paypal.]

I guess I am happy that my daughter is happy talking on the fisher price phone like I had as a kid -- you know, the one with the wired handset, the rotary dial and the eyes that move up and down when you pull it along the ground.

We also have the FP phone you describe, but I have to say that the spiral "cord" is so short, it makes the phone all but impossible to use! Obviously this is in the name of safety, but try telling that to a kid who keeps accidentally picking up the entire phone and then (of course) dropping it on his foot.

Lee - yeah, my daughter just picks up the entire phone, too. We did cut off the pull cord because we gave it to hear when she was younger and more likely to wrap it around HER head rather than the cat's head.

We also have a pull dog that my in-laws got her that is really cute, but she's not that tall for 19 mos, and the cord is almost too short for her to pull it smoothly with. Again, probably in the name of safety...

I gotta say that the phone looks a little too real. I am pretty sure the next thing will be the toy "Blackberry."

We bought an evil little flip top toy cell phone from Target for our 2 1/2 yr old that rings two seconds after you close it. He loves it though. He has mock conversations with his Grandma and aunt and uncle. He just goes on and on about what he has been and is doing and makes jokes which are followed by him fake-laughing histarically.

He has several phones though, an old cell of ours, another toy one, and an old handheld phone with the chord removed. It is scary. He always seems to have one of them nearby.

any chance you still have that phone?
i'd like to buy...please email me!

-thank you.

its kinda cute - but it encourages little kids 2 hav phones when there young...

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