I’ve got them coming out of my ears. It’s one of the perils of being an antenatal teacher.
And that’s not just because, being designed as a seven year old, she’s a bit big for that kind of thing. It’s also because Bubby D isn’t at all keen on letting me have a look in when it comes to playing with her.
We were very excited to be invited to the launch event in Hamleys back in July where Bubby D was introduced to Cayla for the first time. Seeing her talking back to people, she was pretty amazed – my breastfeeding demonstration dolls have never done that! Since then, she’s arrived in our house and been subjected to all kinds of crazy questions: ‘are you a poo head?’ ‘where are my socks?’ ‘can I have a glass of water?’
Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t necessarily have an answer for these kinds of questions. Even I don’t know where there is a pair of matching socks in this house. BUT, being a very clever, internet connected kind of doll, she DOES have an answer for a lot of other things; and she has the ability to talk about herself, her family, her friends, likes and dislikes too.
If I’m honest (and I am), I find it a bit creepy. Her voice is quite stilted and she comes across as a bit narcissistic at times, waffling on about her favourite biscuits or whatever. But then, observing Bubby D, I realised she often talks in a very similar way – because that’s what three year olds are like, isn’t it? So they’re perfectly matched.
Also, Cayla doesn’t always understand what you’ve said – you do need to wait for her necklace to light up before she’ll listen to you (can I get a listening necklace for my kids too?) and then there is a delay before the app goes off searching through google for the correct response. Sometimes she simply gets confused because all three kids are so excited they’re falling over themselves to shout their enquiries and it just comes out as ‘naaabalaaaaaAAAAAArrrrrrrbobobobWOOO’. At least, that’s how I imagine it must sound to Cayla.
So to give her her due, she does very well in a challenging situation. And she has reliably informed us – when the kids have managed to calm themselves sufficiently – of many interesting facts, as well as the revelation that ( JUST LIKE ME MUMMY) she loves watching the Little Mermaid too.
One thing that I do reliably know that she won’t give an answer to is anything pertaining to Christmas secrets, the mysteries of religion, and anything else that I’ve specifically asked her not to talk about (socks, perhaps?). It’s a really useful function that means you can leave little ones chatting to her without worrying the internet will supply some answers that you’d rather the ears of children didn’t hear.
And if there’s no internet connectivity? Well, Bubby D still enjoys playing with her even then. She comes with a brush and mirror so she can watch as her long blonde hair is bashed around and tangled into new and interesting designs, and the app gives some limited functionality too.
She eats batteries for breakfast, lunch and tea; so it’s worth investing in some rechargeables (pretty much on a par with just about every battery operated kids toy really) , and it’s worth checking if her little off switch has been utilised before you head to bed too. Trust me, you don’t want her suddenly spouting off in the middle of the night…
Given the reaction of the kids and the amount they play with her, I’m entirely unsurprised that Cayla (and her friend Chloe, available exclusively at Argos) are high up on the list of toys most wanted this year. At £59.99 she’s not badly priced for a well designed doll that should appeal to a wide age range, and is robust enough to withstand the ministrations of three boisterous, bitey and drooling kids. If you can get your hands on one you’ll no doubt have some very happy small people bouncing around 🙂