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Tiny tears under the Christmas-tree
Zapf Baby Annabel
Member Name: Fritzthecat
Zapf Baby Annabel
Advantages: She's so cute you just must love her
Disadvantages: Extremely expensive accesories
From the moment on that our daughter Anna,5, first saw an advert for Zapf's Baby Annabel she kept on begging to have one. As christmas came closer her only worry seemed to be that Santa might not know that "all she ever wanted" was Baby Annabel.
So my husband and me decided to have a word with the man himself and a few days before Christmas we were able to collect the newest addition to our household - from the local Argos store.
Now, we do not have one daughter, but two, and as Melis (3 1/2) always wants the same as her older sister, we didn't go to pick up one baby, but two.
The delivery was swift and easy. We gave our order numbers to the counter, paid £34.99 ( per doll) and a considerably higher sum for some of Annabel's acccesories, waited in the pre-christmas queue for about half an hour - and voila: we were the proud parents off a brand-new set of twins - and packed with carrier bags. Totally painfree !
What the twins look like :
When we unpacked the dolls to get them ready for the big day even my husband had to admit that they are extremely sweet and do look quite real.
Baby Annabel has the sweetest and most natural baby face I have seen on a doll lately. She has beautiful blue baby eyes, surrounded by long dark eyelashes, has a little button nose and a tiny, slightly open mouth, which moves when she drinks her bottle and sucks on her dummy. She is soft bodied and her arms,legs and head are plastic.She is wearing a white and pink baby-gro that bears the Baby Annabel sheep emblem and wears a little head.
The first feed:
After removing all the carton pieces we had to feed the babies in order to get them work.
First with 4 AA batteries per doll, the battery compartement is at the back of the doll hidden under a cover that is made out of the same material as the dolls body. You'll need a small cross-head screwdriver to open it, so that the little ones can't get their hands on the batteries.
Then with water out of the supplied sheep-bottle. Baby Annabell needs to drink about 1/4 of the bottle to make the tear function work. While she drinks her mouth moves as if she is really sucking, she makes little sucking noises and her eyes start to open and shut. If she is totally full water starts to run out of her mouth.
As soon as we took the bottles out of our babies mouths they started to cry. We then had to rub the babies tummies and they let out a loud and clear burb. The babies fell asleep right after this and would have most probably continued snoring ( she really does make a snoring sound when she sleeps) if we wouldn't have laughed to loud.
Especially my husband found that burb so hilarious that he couldn't stop laughing and we now found out that Baby Annabel doesn't like to be disturbed in her beauty sleep.
Both dolls started to cry and it took us quite a while to calm them down. Thankfully they come with a dummy as we felt quite foolish to use the other option the manufacturer suggests to calm Baby Annabell down : to sing a song...
Anyway, if you don't play with the doll for more then 60 seconds it shuts itself.
Babies cost a lot of money:
After we finished wrapping the babies in christmas-paper we started to work on the accessories. Everyone of you who's had a child will surely agree that small babies need a lot of stuff.
And Baby Annabel is a very demanding baby...
The list of accessories that Zapf offers in the Baby Annabel range is nearly endless and contains about anything you could buy for a real baby too.
There are beds, a wardrobe, a changing table, pram, a comfort seat, a baby-gym, a baby-carrier, a car-seat, a changing bag, a sleeping bag, lots of different sets of outfits, shoes, nappies,...
What all of them have in comon is the sheep emblem - if it doesn't have it, it doesn't belong to Annabel - and that they are all very, very expensive.
Each outfit costs between £14.99 and £19.99 . It dresses the doll from head to toe, but I still think that this is quite a rip off. Our kids are too small to care about the logo on the clothes, as long as they come in pink that is. Baby Annabel measures a proud 46 cm so we decided to go for a cheaper option. I went shopping for real baby clothes in the early-baby size and bought some really nice baby-gros, socks, pram shoes and even a dress. They fit perfectly and the twins don't seem to mind either.
I couldn't resist to buy the sleeping bag, though. It is pink, has a big heart in the middle, a long front zip which allows the girls to pack their babies in easily and an absolutely cute attached cap with sheep ears. And the ever present sheep logo, of course...
It cost me £14.99 and I didn't tell my husband, as this would have certainly deminished his feelings for our twins - so please don't tell him, too !
As it always is, when there is a new arrival in the family : The grandparents want to help out. What would we do without them...
Our kids got a pram each for their Annabels from my parents. They cost around £40 (EACH !) and you can find them in about every shop that does the Baby Annabel range.The handle height is 76 cm, so if you buy it for a very small girl it might be a bit high.It is pink - what else- and has a shopping net underneath, so that the little mummy can take all of Annabel's accesories on her trip.
From my husbands family they got the metall canopy beds. They are pink again, come with matresses, curtains, pillow and a duvet with the obligatory sheep on it. The bed costs around £30.
Further accessories weren't on the list, as we wanted to give the girls some non-Annabell-related presents too. And there is always another Christmas...
Zapf delivers you a brochure in the carton which makes sure, that your children are very well informed what is on offer. Not only for Annabel, but also for the other Zapf ranges like Baby Born.
There is also an offer for your kids to join the Baby Annabel Club, which would provide them with regular newsletters and magazines about what is new on the market for Baby Annabel. Mercifully that offer applies only to the German market, where the company comes from. I was quite shoked to read that they ask small children a fee of 12.90 € to join this club. As much as I like the doll, I am starting to hate the company who makes it ! And wouldn't mind if the club stayed where it is now and doesn't consider to cross the channel to recruit some new members.
The big day :
Needless to say that our girls were over them moon when they unpacked their presents. Santa was clever enough to put the other presents in front of the dolls and whatever came with them, so they had to work their way through to reach them. Otherwise they might have just forgotten to open them.
The kids played only with them for the rest of the day and ignored whatever else they got. We changed them a hundred times and even our little one manages to change her dolly all alone by now. They love it to feed the dolls and see "real" tears running out of their eyes.
Even my husband joined in, although I am slightly suspicious that he only does it because he wants to hear the burb that follows. He really has a thing going for it. Men can be strange creatures...
So we had lots and lots of tears on christmas and the packet of tissues that came with the dolls didn't even last for half an hour.
So where can you get a Baby Annabel :
I know for sure that you can get them from Argos, Toys'r'Us and Woolworth. As they are very popular I suppose you'll be able to get them from nearly every shop that sells toys
How much do they cost:
I've got ours for £34.99 from Argos, prices may vary from shop to shop and if you are lucky, you might find a cheaper option.
Are there any variations to choose:
Yes. Baby Annabell is also availlable as an ethnic doll. Then there is the First Baby Annabell. This is a smaller version, that costs around £15. First Annabell has the same outfit as its 'big sister' but doesn't have any functions.
What comes with the doll:
One outfit, a dummy with a dummy ribbon and clip (sheep-shaped - what else) a sheep bottle with an integrated heart shaped rattle to feed Annabel and a very small packet of sheep tissues.
Annabells Birth size :
How to keep Baby Annabell clean :
Out of the manufacturers handbook:
Romper suit : wash by hand
Little sheep bottle: use damp cloth
Dummy with dummy
ribbon and clip : use damp cloth
Sheep tissues: can't be cleaned ( well, who would
have thought that...???)
Manufacturers web site
To avoid long faces insert the batteries - 4 AA's - before handing over and to feed the baby it's first dossage of water - otherwise it will not work straight away.
Do make sure that the little mummy understands that she should never put anything else then water in her bottle. No matter how much she likes blackcurrant juice herself - one sip just might be lethal for Baby Annabel.
Kids learn to understand babies behaviour and it might be a great toy to prepare them for a real new arrival.
They also learn how to put clothes on and it does encourage role-play.
Our verdict :
We just love "our twins" and think they are a great toy for little girls between 3 and 8 years. We had our little nephew around who is 4 years old and he liked to play with them, too
Don't leave it around if your partner had a drink too much. Otherwise you might just find that usually ,oh so male, subject of your never-ending love with blurry eyes, cradling a doll and babbling about how nice it might be to have another real little one around....
Summary: Lovely live-like doll with lots of needs
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