w_b_toys.gifAs part of our planning for our trip home to South Africa, we’re looking at how to deal with ensuring Calvin has the right toys to keep up his learning. Our quandry is that his favourite — his playgym — isn’t compact enough to be easily portable. But he spends a significant amount of time batting, kicking, grabbing and gooing on it.

So we’ve been looking into what we can take with us, and what we might get for him when we arrive. Which has led to some interesting discoveries, such as these racially-appropriate hand puppets, titled in true racial-modifier, SA-style, “white mother puppet” etc.

My online wanderings also turned up two Tolo brand topsellers that I find particularly funny. This is considering the items, their descriptions, and the question of whether parents should be buying these toys, given the likelihood of a child in SA to run into one of these rather dangerous animals.

Try Curly the Cobra, described as being “crazy and full of fun… Pull his tongue and watch Curly shake.” Growing up in the country I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of cobras I’ve run across! Given how many interactions have been aggressive, I’d hate to see what would happen if I’d tried to get at that flicky tongue!

More mind boggling is another “beautiful, crazy character,” Kyle the Crocodile (pictured above.) “Pull the fish and watch it slowly return to Kyles waiting jaws! Watch Kyle shake and shiver as he waits for his fish!” Yes indeedy — I need no prompting to imagine his shaking and shivering at the anticipation of eating something more meaty… like me.

bumbo.gifBut there is one big plus I discovered about South Africa’s baby product prowess. The Bumbo, an innovative chair for infants who are able to hold their heads up independently, is an award-winning South African design and is produced in Rosslyn, not far from the city where I was born. Cool.

Calvin just test drove one at his friend Nina-Rose’s and looked awfully comfortable, so we’ve voted with our wallet and purchased one. You can see him sitting in it at right, getting to grips with the new Skwish toy that Nina-Rose and family gave him. (Those guys know the best toys!)

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