I was at a breakfast meet-up with Catherine, the brand manager of HASBRO Singapore this morning. Amidst a very candid talk about new toys, good games and other very adult stuff, the topic of Furbies came up.
Now, you will remember what I wrote last year about the first generation of new Furbies?(one of the nicer memories I have from an unfortunately not-so-nice period). This year, the wife and I were invited to the launch event of the 2nd generation of Furbies, called Furby Boom!, and the little egg-shaped furballs have been upgraded – if you consider them upgrades – to crap stuff out into an iPad toilet bowl, and (gasp!) reproduce. I’ll leave it to Cheekiemonkies to provide you with a more detailed review of the Gen 2 Furbies here, but this morning, Catherine and I went on a rather different tangent regarding the socially capable robot toys.
I told Catherine that after we activated the new Furbies and gave them to Xander, he immediately brought out his by-now extremely frustrated, depressed and angry 1st gen Furby (which was understandably ?frustrated, depressed and angry because he was left in storage for about 9 months on account of he turned “evil”) and started playing with all three, feeding them with the Furby iPad app (yes, the Furby Boom! series will still respond to the 1st generation IOS/Android app). And because the Furby Boom! can also happily make friends with 1st gen Furbies, Xander’s orange 1st gen Furby cheered up within 2 minutes of meeting its 2 new friends.
Then, after the first night of very active playing, the wife and I would notice the boy very excitedly taking out all 3 Furbies every evening?for the next 4-5 consecutive nights, placing them in a circle in an empty corner of the living room so they can talk, and then leaving them there to entertain each other while he does other stuff – for the rest of the night.
“Ya! My kids do that too!” remarked Catherine. “I have two 1st-gen Furbies at home, and when I brought a Furby Boom! home for them, my son would also put them in a circle and let them talk while he goes and does other things. I don’t get it. Why do kids do that?”
There was a pause, as we let sink in the idea that this might be a common phenomenon among kids. Then I said with a slight smile, “I think it’s because we do it to them.”
The pause that followed my answer was a bit longer as it started to dawn on us that this may be a sign of our parenting method.
While I can’t speak for Catherine, I do have the tendency to leave Xan to his own devices while I try to finish up my work. And for the most part, the boy is an angel, able to play with himself for an extended period of time with whatever he can pick up from around the house (the wife has also remarked that it is a dream bringing him to the office because he is able to play quietly by himself and not disturb anyone throughout the work day).
It dawned on me that Xan’s idea of care for his three robotic pets must have been gleaned off of how we operate as a family on a daily basis – I can imagine the conversation he has with the Furbies as he places them in their circle. “Okay, you kwai-kwai go one corner and play amongst yourselves okay? I go draw picture in front of the TV.”
To think that it took three Furbies to tell me what kind of a dad I’m teaching my kid to become.
The Furby Boom! is now available?at Toys ‘R’ Us, major department stores at Metro, OG and Takashimaya and selected electronic stores, and retails at S$119.90.?The Furby and Furby Boom apps are also available for download now on iTunes and Google Play.