Friday, March 12, 2010

The Sophie Choice

My friend Ruchi sent me an email today asking about Sophie. Ruchi is several months pregnant, lives in India, and is prepping for the birth of her baby. She says that Sophie is the hot item on Amazon and elsewhere, and was asking me if it was "worth it." The answer is a resounding... oui!

Sophie is a giraffe, Sophie
la Girafe, a squeaky, rubbery teether for babies and tots produced by French toy manufacturer Vulli. Indeed, many people are now familiar with Sophie on both sides of the Atlantic, but she has been a staple of the French baby's diet for over 40 years. My sister-in-law Claire gave Sophie to Camille when she was born. I thought it was a sweet gift, but I didn't appreciate it fully until I got the voice-over from Claire explaining how essential Sophie is to any French newborn; de rigueur, you might say.

It's true! The more I looked
à gauche et à droit, the more I saw French infants gnawing on Sophie's leg, chomping on her neck as if auditioning for a cover of National Geographic, or nibbling her ears between drooly jaws. Babies can go to town on Sophie with no risk to their bloodstream because its "all natural rubber" (don't ask) and "handmade in the French Alps." Sophie was designed on May 25, 1961, the day celebrating Saint Sophie (hence the name, talk about auspicious beginnings!) By 2007, over 20 million copies of Sophie have been produced.

Ruchi was right, though. Sophie la Girafe
is a hot item. More than once I've seen it featured on hipster parenting blogs, and there is even a webpage devoted exclusively to it. The difference is that outside of France, it typically retails for over $20.00, presumably cashing in on the ooh-la-la French factor. Here you can find it as cheaply as 5,00€ (less than $7.00 at time of this post).

So, if like Ruchi, you're a friend of mine and you're expecting, you should also be expecting a Sophie la Girafe at your doorstep along with a nifty set of Petit Bateau pajamas (but that's another post).

"Rien comes between me and my Sophie"

Sophie la Girafe photo courtesy of

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