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Some weeks back I took Baby CrazyEgg to a joint physio/occupational therapy appointment. During the course of this the Occupational Therapist announced that she believed Baby CrazyEgg to be "ready". I found myself suddenly very alert and holding my breath: what new kind of task was Baby CrazyEgg going to be required to perform? "She is ready..." the OT repeated, "for pop-up". I managed to breath again. "Pop-up?!" I thought, "Pop-up? Easy-peasy, she'll manage that no problem."
The OT turned to me and said, "Does she have any pop-up toys at home?" and I did a mental run through of the now considerable number of toys that Baby CrazyEgg owns, before concluding with a sense of impending guilt that she did not have any pop-up toys at all, unless, at a pinch you counted me. Every time she begins to peel the tape holding her naso-gastric tube in place I pop-up as if I've sat on a red-hot poker, and perform a very entertaining dance indeed.
Anyway, from out of the cupboard the OT retrieved a number of pop-up toys and Baby CrazyEgg subsequently showed what I understand to be "appropriate startled behaviour", and interest in the toys. Seeing her interest and convinced Baby would be expected to demonstrate pop-up progress at the next session I determined we would buy one of the toys to practise with. It turned out though, that the price of the toy being used, was £26 on Amazon and could not be justified. After much searching we found the Funtime Pop up Farmyard Friends, an identical toy in terms of operation and purpose, and very much cheaper at £7.
The toy is made of a strong plastic, that seems quite brittle: don't let it be used at a height over a hard floor. The rectangular toy houses four farm animals: a hen; a sheep; a horse; a cow. Each of these animals lives under his own trap door that springs open when the correct mechanism is applied, leading to the animal popping out at high speed. Each trap door is operated differently and requires great dexterity and finger manipulation. The first is a dial that needs turning, the second a switch to pull, the third a lever to push, the fourth a button to press.
Disappointingly each of the mechanisms was very stiff at first and took a lot of effort on my part to operate let alone Baby CrazyEgg. Over time, however, the mechanisms have eased up somewhat, but they are still not as smooth and easy as the toy that the OT had. Even now at her corrected age of 14 months there is still only one that Baby CrazyEgg can operate with ease- the pull-switch- and another- the lever-that she has occasional success with. The button you simply press, should be the easiest I think, (she presses other buttons all the time), but this one she cannot budge.
This aspect has been disappointing, however, Baby CrazyEgg still loves this toy and we have great fun with it. I have discovered that she does not like the animals to remain out. If I make them all pop-up, there will be a squeak and a flurry of activity whilst Baby crawls to the toy, and grapples with the trap doors until not one, not two, not three, but all four animals are safely back inside. Either she is one of those neat and tidy types, or she is communicating a level of discomfort with the green-faced sheep, the yellow and blue horse, and the purple and white cow. I suspect the latter as the sensibly-hued white chicken with yellow beak is often allowed to remain out just a little longer than the rest. It is clear in any case that she requires closure.
Each animal's house is stickered with an appropriate image, that tells you a little more about each animal. So we learn that chicken's lay eggs, horses have metal shoes, cows produce milk, and sheep ... run about in threes jumping over fences. In addition, each trapdoor is numbered, allowing you to ask such questions as, "What's under number 2?" which I dare say will become more useful in time.
Baby CrazyEgg has almost trapped her fingers on occasion, but she has realised and carefully removed her fingers before any damage has been done. If you have more than one child there might be more potential for fingers to get trapped in a painful way.
Overall, this is a very good toy which has already been put to great use. However, it loses a star for the stiffness of the buttons. It would have lost two stars, but the very reasonable price in comparison to other similar toys won me over.