Fame of Shame Game #8: Triple Play Edition

Below are brief profiles of three children’s products that debuted at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas this month.

I invite you dear Thinga-readers to tell us why these products do not signal apocalypse as foretold in the Book of Revelation. No, sorry, I meant to say, why these inventors are destined for fame, or shame. You’ve surprised me before. Feel free to do so again.

Photo of a yellow Bizzy Bee hand-held digitial baby assistant device.

1. BizzyBee by Chicks With Kidz is a “baby data assistant.”

A what? Oh yes, last year the craze kicked off with the digital Itzbeen “baby care timer” by Coast Innovations. Paper and pencil are so yesterday.

For the suggested retail price of $150 the BizzyBee allows you to track sleep routines and feedings, sound a medication alarm and upload the data to your computer so you can obsess about it later.

I don’t know how we survived between 6,000 and 200,000 years without hand-held computers to remind us what transpired earlier in the day. (Hey, don’t remind me about sleep deprivation. I’ve been operating on 4 to 6 hours most days for the past six months.)

Photo of two children sitting in a shopper car, each with a My Ami teddy bear facing them. A second photo shows a video screen embedded in a My Ami teddy bear.

2. My Ami by Ami Entertainment Solutions is a portable child entertainment device. Full details aren’t online yet, and will be posted later at My-Ami.com.

Early information tells us that it is teddy bear with a video screen grafted to its chest through which videos and music can be played. Interchangeable bases allow the bear-device-thing to be mounted to a baby stroller or shopping cart, placed on a flat surface or attached “to anything” (except perhaps the family dog).

My Ami is billed as “a child’s companion.” Good news Mom and Dad: you’re off the hook.

Photo of a young girl applying Piggy Paint to her toes and a second photo showing bottles of Piggy Paint in different colors.

3. Piggy Paint by Piggy Paint LLC is “non-toxic fingernail polish designed especially for your little girl.” Apply 2 to 3 thin coats, air dry for 60 seconds and blow dry polished nails for 1 minute with a hair dryer.

Careful: “Since most young children are squirmy during the drying process of any polish, we suggest singing songs to pass the time.”

The polish is “piggy” because it’s billed as “natural as mud” containing “God’s natural ingredients.” In this case God is a fan of “water, water-miscible acrylic and polyurethane film formers and thickeners (well below 100 parts per million), glycol ethers. May contain mica, D&C red lake, ultramarine blue and chromium, iron and titanium oxide pigments.”

This product is not about encouraging the sexualization of girls at the youngest of ages. No, it was invented by a mother of a 2- and 4-year-old who love to have their fingernails painted. It’s a bonding experience that teaches fine motor skills, color names and patterns.

What say you? Fame or shame for these three inventions?


13 Responses to “Fame of Shame Game #8: Triple Play Edition”

  1. Ticia says:

    First two are completely ridiculous, but the third could be a fun treat for a little girl. I remember having a nail polish as a girl that dried super fast and could be peeled off. I had so much fun playing with it, the great humor of it all is that I now don’t wear make-up. So, that one is the only product that isn’t completely ridiculous.
    Sadly, I can see some people actually buying the first two…….. They’re defined as people who are slightly crazy and sleep deprived and will realize within a week or two of buying it that its’ a silly product.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 6:07 am

  2. Stephanie says:

    Okay, enough of attaching a tv to anything within a child’s view. That’s really getting ridiculous. The first one would be great for the rich, obsessive compulsive mom (like Desperate Housewives– which we know isn’t based in reality.)

    But the third… that’s cute. It’s more of a fun, girly thing rather than “sexualization”. Those baby high heels were sexualizing kids, painting their nails is just plain fun. And a fun little art project.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 6:45 am

  3. Christy says:

    #1: I carry my iPhone around with me constantly. If I need to administer medication to my toddler, I just program it in and it beeps at me through the “Alarm” function. You can do this with most phones, or you could use the kitchen timer. No special “baby computer” required.

    #2: Horrible. Just horrible.

    #3: I have incredibly fond memories of my Grandmother painting my fingernails as a little girl. It was always a treat. I had the “peel-off” Avon Polish as a kid and this product sounds similar. I don’t have a problem with polish. When you start talking about getting your 5 y/o a full set of French Tips, we’ll talk again.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 7:34 am

  4. Marie says:

    1. meh. I too use the alarm on my cell phone to remind me when the next dosage should be. I can see people using this, though I couldn’t even be fussed to fill out a feeding chart, except on rare occaisions where the kid has been really sick. I’m nto the target market there.

    2. No. Fracking. Way. Really? Shame.

    3. This, I’m OK with. My daughter is a mimic. If I ever get around to painting my nails again, I know she will want to. It could be lots of fun. I also had the fast drying / peel off nail polish and remember it fondly. As it is, she wants lotion every day because she sees me use it.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  5. KGS says:

    I’m kind of on the fence about #3. I strongly agree with the second page of the linked Time article; a lot of the “sexy” things younger teens do are not experienced in a “sexy” way by them, but as emulating adults to try on new identities. If the behaviors they copy are ones used as sexual signals among adults, those new identities can be problematic.

    To be honest, I’m not sure what is or isn’t a sexual signal a lot of the time. Perhaps it’s context-dependent: a sleeveless T-shirt at a summer BBQ isn’t, a sleeveless dress at a cocktail party (mildly) is? Nail polish probably means different things to different people, but it seems worth thinking about how it will be interpreted on different occasions.

    Ultimately, I hope to give my daughter some awareness about how style/dress carries messages by the time she’s a teen. We’ll argue about what those messages are, I’m sure, but at least she’ll have some idea that they’re being sent to all kinds of people, not just people who think the way she does. If she really wants to challenge those interpretations that’s sometimes okay, but she should be aware of what she’s doing first and mature enough to handle the consequences.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 3:07 pm

  6. BusyMom says:

    The inventors of #1 must have figured that most parents that feel the need to precisely track, have an aversion to pens and paper. When I was preparing to go back to work, I did document the schedule for a couple of days so that I could figure out an “average” schedule to communicate to daycare when my kids started. The schedule evolves so much, even week to week, that constantly studying it seems like a bit of a waste of time. As a new mom, I know I had a lot better things to do with my time (like sleep) than spend time evaluating what we had done that day.

    #2 – Again, same comments as the stroller distractor you had the other day. Are you serious? I think perhaps we cause ADD in our children with constant flickering lights of TV and not allowing them to find ways to entertain themselves. They get bored too easily and I think TV is a partial contributor.

    #3 – Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad. My daughter has to do everything I do and at least it is quick drying. But, since I don’t paint my nails (I pick it off too quickly to waste my time), I guess she won’t feel a need to do this. But, it could be fun for a “glamour” or “spa” night with the girls.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 3:12 pm

  7. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    #1 – Oh dear lord it just seems like overkill but if people want to have a specific gadget to track baby related stuff and obsess over it then there they go. I do keep a daily journal which has come in really handy for stuff like tracking when we introduced new foods, spotting signs of an ear infection or figuring out patterns. My vote for this one isn’t shame but not fame either.

    #2 – SHAME. Although I do realize it really isn’t that different from the Teddy Ruxspin I had as a kid. I still think it is a shame, at least Teddy Ruxspin came with read along books.

    #3 – Well if you are going to do the nail polish thing then it is nice to have a non-toxic option. I also have to say I like the range of colors provided. They even have the black in there for the young goth set and the blue for the punks! I remember when I used to have to search and go to special stores to find my blue nail polish in my teen years. I will vote fame for this one.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

  8. Sara says:

    I feel like I’m only echoing the previous posters, but hey, here goes:
    1-Shame. Too expensive, and it’s function can be replaced with many things just about everyone has and already knows how to use. Plus, what would you do with it after baby grows out of it’s usefulness? If anyone has ever seen Alton Brown on FoodTV, he has a similar dislike for kitchen gadgets that only serve once purpose. Why buy them if you already have something else that can do the job?
    2-Shame. If you are going to buy your kids a portable TV, why bother to disguise it as a Teddy Bear?
    3-Indifferent…I don’t feel like allowing a toddler to paint her toenails=over sexualization at a young age. I do feel like the product is a little redundant, though. I would probably just use regular old grown up nail polish, to be honest.

    September 23rd, 2008 at 7:59 pm

  9. gertie says:

    1. Neutral. I’d never use it, but if other people want to be all OCD about their babies then that’s their business. On one hand, the survival rate for babies is a lot higher now than it has been for most of human history. On the other hand, it’s been my anecdotal observation that the parents who freak out the most about their baby’s health have sicker babies…

    2. Insidious. The worst part is products like this are just going to become more common, and end up clogging the shelves of WalMart, being marketed to poor people, whose children will then fall even farther behind in the education gap.

    3. I’d say fame, but I’m pretty sure that there are already child-safe nail polishes on the market. I don’t have a problem with kids wearing nail polish. I used to love nail polish as a kid, and I was probably the least-girly tomboy you’d ever find. I never had any interest in make-up or dress-up as a girl, but nail polish is just fun, somehow. I don’t paint my finger nails that often anymore, but I do paint my toenails, and my daughter is always begging to do the same. I’ve also known plenty of little boys who have painted their nails, so I just don’t see it as of big of an issue as other types of make-up might be. (Of course, I associate mainly with SF Bay Area computer industry alternative types, so my kids have as much exposure to blue/green/black nail polish and hair, nose piercings, and other “alternative” makeup, which I approve of. I’m sure my views are different than many parents.)

    September 23rd, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  10. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    gertie: Maybe the people who have sicker babies freak out a bit more about health stuff BECAUSE they have sicker babies and don’t like to see their babies miserable?

    I like the itzbeen timer, though we never managed to put it into the budget. #1 would not have fit either :( unfortunately. But its really really cool!

    September 26th, 2008 at 5:02 am

  11. anjii says:

    I’m going out of order here, because #1 is going to make me ramble, lol…

    #2 – Shame, shame, double shame… totally disgusting… calling a tv a FRIEND!

    #3 – I can see how some people would see this as overkill, but to me, this thing would have been a godsend… (actually, I’d still get a lot of use out of it, even now at a year with #2) Both my boys were preemie. Both had eating issues, reflux, horrible sleep patterns, etc. #2 was also Intrauterine Growth Retarded, so I’ve had to be a little extra anal about nursing intake, weight gain, etc. He is now 14lbs and 1 year old. Not to mention, they’ve both been HORRIBLE sleepers, so I’m too braindead to remember much. My first nursed every 1 1/2 hours through the night, almost till his 2nd birthday, and #2 is still at least every 3 hours, usually more often.

    I have the Itzbeen, and it’s helpful, but I always wished it could keep track of history for talking to the doctor about stuff. I also couldn’t use it for meds, because it only tracks one and we needed multiple. I used that button instead for keeping track of how long baby has been awake. We do everything on demand, instead of following a schedule, but to plan our days, it helps to know approx. how long he usually naps, and how long he usually stays awake, etc. Anyways, there’s a few things I’d add to the BizzyBee, and the price is HIGH, but for us, this thing would be amazing!!!

    September 26th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

  12. anjii says:

    Oops! I was so excited about #1, that I skipped ahead in my brain, lol.

    That big ramble was for #1… about #3, I don’t have a girl (yet), and I rarely wear nailpolish at all, but I think this is cute and harmless. I also remember the Avon peel off polish with great fondness and innocence.

    September 26th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

  13. Jasi says:

    I’m a mostly ap mommy. I follow my baby’s schedule but damned if I know what that is. The first product would be really great for me, an ocd person, to continue to entertain the lifestyle of a laid-back mommy. Fun fun.

    But the other two seem kind of lame. I really enjoy the face time in the shopping cart with my kids. They’re captive and cute and have very interesting things to say about the world around them. Would be sad to have them “plugged in” all of the time. Save that for when I -need- a shower!

    The paint? Meh! I saw my mom shaving when I was a kid and I said to myself, “Man! That looks like fun”. Sadly, been maintaining my leg fuzzies since I was 10. Let kids be kids. Natural nails are pretty enough. They’ve got plenty of time when they’re old and beat (chasing their toddlers without sleep) to improve upon their appearance.

    October 6th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

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