Sunday 4 December 2016

Rude toys are all the rage

What is it with kids this Christmas? All they seem to want are pooing dogs and toys to terrorise their granny

Published 13/12/2011 | 06:00

Prepare yourself for some strange noises from the sitting room this Christmas morning, because it's all pooing, weeing, burping and cursing when it comes to toys this year.

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Yes, I'm afraid 2011 is the year of the rude toy, gifts that would make even Father Jack blush. Apparently our little ones are waiting for Santa to bring them a plastic pooing dog or a high maintenance doll that turns her nappies a shade of green.

There are wall-to-wall TV ads for products such as the Horrid Practical Jokes set featuring a kid terrorising his granny with whoopee cushions, fake poos and nails through the finger.

According to Smyths Toys spokesman Robert Guckian, their scary radio-controlled tarantula is walking out the door, as fast as his eight hairy legs can carry him.

"Stock is very limited. It moves in multiple directions with real spider movement. The TV ad features a small boy terrorising his teenage sister," he says.

Smyths are well stocked with the likes of Mr Creepy Magic, whose main attraction is a floating, rolling, squirting eyeball and this magic set is also jam-packed with creepy maggots and ants.

Popular

"This is proving popular with its chattering teeth, severed ear, severed finger pull and a gory guillotine," adds Mr Guckian.

But top of this steaming, pooy pile of rude toys is Doggie Doo, a pooping dog game that's selling like hot cakes. Now one million Doggie Doos have been sold.

Doggie Doo passes wind and deposits a claylike substance after players feed it with the clay pellets. To play you roll a dice, and this tells you how many times you get to squeeze the dog's leash.

Each squeeze pushes the poo through the system. The first person to pick up three pieces of dog poo with their scoop is the winner.

The manufacturers Lund knew the mischievousness of children was the one thing that would make Doggie Doo a success.

"Since most kids on the face of the earth find humour in all bodily functions, Lund was sure this pooping dog would be the next craze. All we needed was to find the dog a master -- a toy industry expert to adopt the concept and turn the dog into the next mega hit game," they say.

They eventually found a backer and a plastic pooing dog is now at the top of many Santa lists. It even featured prominently on this year's 'Late Late Toy Show'.

Another party pooper that starred on the 'Late Late' was My Baby Alive, a doll that deposits green poo on her own nappy. You can even buy replacement food and drink for her at €4.99 a packet.

But what is it about a little mind that finds it so hilarious to pick up fake poo with a pooper scooper or change a baby's green stained nappies?

Renowned scientist Desmond Morris's new book 'Child' explores how children think and learn from the age of three to five, and part of the book analyses kiddie humour.

"Humour appears most when something incongruous and unexpected happens. A playful adult who suddenly appears wearing a funny mask or a silly hat may make the child laugh simply because the action breaks one of the social rules that the child has just started to learn.

"Another kind of humour occurs when something unlikely occurs, and the more impossible it is, the funnier it is," states Morris.

Funny

Thus the breaking of social norms involved in a toy dog that poos or a baby that soils her nappy is funny for children.

Dr Sheila Greene, child psychologist at Trinity College Dublin, also agrees that there is something unique about childhood humour.

"Freud wrote a lot about the psychology of humour. For children it's about learning rules and breaking them. It is the unexpected and the upsetting of dignity that people find the funniest," says Dr Greene.

Psychologists wonder whether these types of toys leave much to the child's imagination.

"I'm not so sure about the formalisation of this type of humour. Where's the fun for children if parents are actually buying these very literal humourous toys for them?" she adds.

Perfectly innocent toys are even being dragged into the rude toy controversy this year. In the United States Toys 'R' Us stock the You & Me Interactive Play & Giggle triplet dolls range, but these little babies have parents up in arms.

Some parents claim they've heard the doll say "you crazy b**ch". In their defence Toys 'R' Us have said: "In this case, what is in fact being said is baby babble. Please be assured that we would not carry a doll that said profanity of any kind."

In his book 'Child', Desmond Morris explains how vitally important humour is to a child.

"Tests have shown that the more humour that there is in a child's life the fewer disturbed moods he or she has. They are generally less anxious and experience less tension in ordinary day to day activities."

He also goes on to say that humour improves children's relationships by making them friendlier and less aggressive.

So the next time you step on a plastic poo or hear the squelch of a gooey doll's nappy underfoot, just reassure yourself that it's all good for your child's development!

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