Toybox Dissections: What's Inside Sophie the Giraffe?

Ever wonder what's inside that roll up piano mat? Or how the squeaky toy got its squeak? In this new semi-weekly feature I slice, cut and rip my way through Sweet Baby James' toybox. I just can't help cutting his toys apart to see how they tick/bleep/vocalize. Documenting it for you is a bonus. Yes, I've thought about what he'll say when he grows up to find out I dissected the gifts on which he first slobbered. No, I don't think it'll be pretty. So sue me. Curiosity killed the cat but this week it also killed... Sophie the Giraffe.

Name: Sophie the Giraffe

List Price: $26 ($17 on Amazon, though it might be counterfeit)

Date of Dissection: December 21st 2011

Cause of Death: Lack of continued infant interest, maternal curiosity
Instrument: Scissors

Biographical Information: Sophie the Giraffe is the toy that unites all (bourgeois) babies. She first came out in 1961 --  she turned 50 last year, though she doesn't look it -- and she's had a certain retro resurgence as of late. She's made of natural rubber and 'food paint' in a small town in France. There are 1,687 customer reviews on Amazon. Good for babies of all ages. 
Eight months pregnant, receiving Sophie the Giraffe
at my interpretive baby shower.
I received our Sophie as a gift at our baby shower from dear friends Sam and Charlotte. It was a perfect gift because I never would have spent $26 on a classic baby toy myself, no matter how cute and hip. They also gave us a copy of Olivia.
Sophie spent the first few months of her life in her cute little box. I brought her out when the baby started teething. Sweet Baby James was immediately taken with her squeaky nature, long floppy neck, and particularly delicious hooves. From about November 2011, however, Sophie the Giraffe took a backseat in the toybox, left on her anatomically incorrect backside in favour of empty yogourt containers and measuring cups.
It was clear that Sophie's days were numbered. She was sad and lonely. She was also a very, very dirty girl. My attempts to clean her up -- including the time I brought her into the bath with us, which downgraded her bright little squeak to a forlorn squawk -- were futile. When I was hanging with other mama-baby dyads I could tell which Sophie was "our" Sophie just by virtue of her greying, grimy rubber. I figured I had two options: I could throw her in the trash like a normal mama or I could slice her open like I secretly always wanted.

Sophie's front and back sides, vertical incision along frontal (coronal) plane

What's inside Sophie the Giraffe?

Sophie's slightly damaged plastic and rubber 'reed'
(the little flap in the centre is the part that vibrates)
Cutting along the seams left by the rubber molding, I was happy to find that there was comparably little dirt, water, or dirty water organisms living inside Sophie. Just her squeaky valve, a plastic and rubber 'reed' that vibrates and produces the high-pitched sound when air is forced through it. Because Sophie can only contain a small amount of air inside her at any given time, the high-pitched sound comes out as an attractive, short little squeak. Having taken her into the bath with us, I probably damaged the reed's flexible parts, thus reducing its ability to vibrate and dampening the sound.

What new/hacked uses does this toy have?

Sweet Baby James is in two minds about Sophie's sudden death mitotic reproduction. In two pieces, she offers a bit more flop than before... But her hooves seem no less delectable.

In 2 minds about 1/2 a Sophie

More flop for your (26) bucks

And she's still delicious!
Bonus: Instead of making one little squeak, Sophie the Giraffe can now function as a great whistle! You can even play her kind of like a flute: just put your mouth on the reed and give her a good blow, intermittently tapping the other side. This will stop any baby mid-cry -- if you don't mind looking like an ass, because it looks like you're doing something naughty with Sophie's. In fact will make your baby very, very happy. And once in a while, desperate times call for desperate measures.

1 comment:

  1. Any way to get the squeaker to quit without sacrificing Sophie?