Trust the Gene Genie

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Polly Pockets and brain surgeons

Polly Pockets are insane toys.

For those of you who don't have girls or who never had sisters, let me give you a crash course. Polly Pockets are like miniature Barbie Dolls. They come with their own little cars and houses and clothes. Except, because they're only 3 inches tall, their clothes -- all made of this stretcy rubber material -- are ridiculously small. Especially the shoes. Oh, the shoes. I have fillings in my teeth bigger than these shoes. And because they're so freaking small they go missing with impossible speed. They also turn up in really strange places -- the inside of my guitar, the bottom of my pillow case, the spare tire well in my trunk.

The worst thing about Polly Pockets, though, is how appealing they are to really young girls -- like 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. A 4-year-old will sit down to play with a Polly Pocket and because she doesn't have the fine motor skills of a veteran brain surgeon, she'll have no way to pull on the stiff rubber shirts and the stiff rubber pants and she'll certainly have no way to get the impossibly tiny shoes onto the dolls impossibly tiny feet. Which, of course leads to maddening frustration and then copious amounts of tears.

Elsa, our 4-year-old, seems to have found a way around this. She and our 8-year-old Leigh have begun playing real life Polly Pockets. Elsa becomes the Polly, holding he legs and arms stiff and straight, and she makes Leigh dress her in various outfits. To accommodate Elsa's fantasy Polly Pocket world, Leigh has to push Elsa's arms up when she puts on her shirt and then push Elsa's arms back down when she gets the shirts on.

To put this in perspective, it would be like if H.L. and I, as kids, dressed each other up like G.I. Joes and then just stood in the room admiring our handiwork. No, instead, we would just go the playground and act out our favorite G.I. Joe episodes on the playground equipment. We didn't need to dress up, we had our MINDS.

And I guess that's what Elsa has done. She used her mind to better the playing-with-Polly-Pockets experience. Somehow in that developing brain of hers, she KNOWS Polly Pockets were really designed for brain surgeons. And, as we all remember so well, knowing is half the battle.
And they love it. It's hilarious.


Stephanie B said...

Awesome, Rob, you are in the right profession. You have a way with words!

Uncle E said...

My girls have 'em, but they've been replaced by those toys with the "web code" so they can go online and interract with others. Webkinz, I think they're called.

On a different note, I'm kind of excited about Wilco's new album coming out. And the fact they've covered "I Love My Label" by the magnificent Nick Lowe is the main reason.

cdillon said...

Ah, yes. The first Polly Pockets (1994 ish) came in little containers which doubled as each Polly's domain. The containers were small enough to fit in a pocket. this meant that the dolls themselves were even smaller, just about an inch tall.
The originals were molded with cloths and shoes permanently in place That's the good news.
the bad news was that inside the container domiciles included a number of little bits. In addition to Polly, there were pets, little trees,etc.
The chant on the way home from the Toys R Us was "Don't open them in the car!" I imagined the tiny Polly parts cascading deep down into recesses behind seats, into door crevices, under mats, and dreaded the ensuing squeals of horror, the angst-laden appeals for intercession, should this mishap occur.

Angie N. said...

Having taught both Claire and Leigh and seeing Elsa in Primary...I now have a picture in my mind of how this activity looked. Oh, to be a fly on your wall!!

Popular Posts