Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Surgery Doll: Erwin the Little Patient
Behold Erwin the little patient from Sigikid. He’s a plush doll with a crooked smile and take-out organs. Measuring in at 16-inch (41cm) and machine washable, Erwin hides his special nature under a hospital patient gown. Lift up the gown to see Erwin’s nippleless rectangular torso.
Unzip his chest cavity to find six removable plush objects: lungs, a heart (Valentine shaped), intestines, liver, spleen and kidneys. The six count is a little deceptive because the kidneys include an attached bladder and the intestinal piece contains both small and large intestine and also the stomach and esophagus.
Oh, and my wife, who is a nurse, doesn’t know a cecum from a hole in the ground. Yep, I correctly identified the brown nodule on the lower intestine as the appendix.
Each organ is a different, unrealistic and cheery color. The organs also have one, sometimes two, color-coded Velcro strips that indicate to which other organs they connect. Underneath it all, a posterior skeleton is embroidered on the inside back of Erwin’s interior.
Connecting the body parts is probably a tall order for kids under 5-years-old, but parents who buy the doll are likely to do so as a teaching tool. Parental assistance will be involved when all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put poor little Erwin back together again.
My almost 2-year-old son is happy to carry Erwin around, not yet realizing there is a zipper underneath the gown. My 5-year-old daughter loves the inside of the doll.
Age appropriateness is difficult to gauge. In addition to the Velcro assembly, there’s also the issue of squeamishness to consider.
My then-3-year-old daughter loved her Your Body anatomically correct multi-layer body puzzle, but when she brought the puzzle to a 3-year-old friend’s home, the friend was freaked out and scared.
It really depends on how proactive you’ve been as a parent to explain the human body. By 3-years-old we had read to her the Me and My Amazing Body picture book. Our journey began at 16-months-old when I explained Halloween-themed skeleton displays we saw in stores.
My daughter’s only criticism is that the doll has a crooked smile. My only criticism is that the hospital gown is secured by ties rather than Velcro. My wife’s only criticism is that esophagus gets incorrectly placed in front of the trachea. I think she’s overcompensating for the cecum slip.
Now, here is a bit of bad news. The doll doesn’t appear to be sold in America. I purchased it via German Amazon, and while Amazon.de will ship to America, it specifically won’t ship this doll to America. That’s right. I have illicitly circumvented international trade restrictions to obtain a children’s surgical doll plaything.
Actually, it was my wife who befriended a German exchange student in high school and later reconnected with her long lost friend via Facebook and convinced him to ship Erwin to us. That’s right. Another Facebook miracle!
Erwin retails for 27 Euro. Repackage him with a German dubbed copy of the French film Le Premier Cri and stuff the empty spots with Kinder Eggs and you can ship the whole thing at the most economical rate of 14 Euro and receive Erwin just six weeks later!
Included with Erwin is a booklet containing color photos of each plush organ segment along with rhymes in German that help you memorize what each organ connects to.
Das ist das herz. Fühlt Freude und Schmerz, pumpt gleichzeitig Blut und alles wird gut.
Ach so! This is the heart. It feel pleasure and pain, while blood is pumping and everything will be alright. Or at least that’s what Google Translate tells me. I’m sorry Herr Westrup, I didn’t pay attention in class.
Tangent: The friend recently posted his first comment on Thingamababy, weighing in on the au gratin issue sharing a European perspective. I forgot that nude beaches aren’t that big a deal in Europe. We’re talking about a region where Renaissance art was born while in America we hide nude statues behind curtains.
In any case, my best guess on why Erwin cannot be shipped to America is that Sigikid has an American distributor and maybe distributors don’t like the nature of borderless commerce. But I haven’t found the doll being sold anywhere in America. I have an e-mail in to the distributor to find out if I totally wasted my money shipping the doll from Germany.
Wasted? No way! My daughter thought she was playing doctor, but I totally saw Dana Scully doing an autopsy in my living room!
Update: Thinga-reader Bryany found Erwin for sale at a UK shop that will ship to America.