The frog sits on the couch taunting me. It is green of course, but not just any green. It is the kind of green that goes into making rainbows and lollipops. It is so pleasant-looking it makes me ill. But my one-year-old daughter is in love with it. Baby Frog is the first toy Emmeline reaches for every morning, a role that used to be reserved for something, someone, else.
Baby Frog wears a cheery orange jumpsuit with lights that, when pushed, initiate a song and dance routine that would earn a Tony Award if they were ever given to amphibians. And its face holds a wide, unblinking smile that my daughter must believe says, "Let's play!", but I think is channeling something more sinister like, "Let's rob banks together!" Because no one is that joyful all the time, not even stuffed animals.
As much as Emmeline adores Baby Frog I have come to loathe it. I was always of the mindset that very young children didn't need electronics.
"She doesn't need things to play for her," I told my wife.
And so Emmeline was left with little but blocks, books and her own imagination. Until her first birthday that is when Baby Frog hopped into our lives. Emmeline immediately hugged the frog and began singing, something she had never done with me before. Baby Frog coached her to perform hand movements with each song and within a span of a few days I saw that Baby Frog had taught her more than I had in months.