Ok, Another Really Weird Work/Parenting Story

Hi Readers — Not sure if this is real, but it seems to be: Baby’s First Cubicle! Yes, a toy kiddie kubicle komplete with komputer! Let’s come up with some other funny things it should include besides the chair and a built-in mouse pad. Maybe baby’s first pink slip? Or baby’s first RSS feed he can read at work and comment on? — Lenore

43 Responses

  1. oh great! Baby babble in 140 chars or less.

  2. That thing is seriously disturbing. I saw it on another site — I think you forgot the link in this post though.

  3. It’s real : http://www.littletikes.com/toys/young-explorer.aspx
    How about Baby’s first sexual harassment case?
    “Yes your honor, the defendant buried his head in my chest and drooled all over me.”

  4. Babies first three hour meeting that runs through lunch (and maybe even nap) time.

  5. Actually, I could really get creative with this idea. I could see a variation being used by homeschoolers or folks who bring their kids to the office at times. What I hate most about it is that the child’s line of sight is completely blocked by the computer screen and blackboards. Then again, I never could stand having a cubicle/office without a window.

    What’s in the back of the cubicle? The water cooler?

  6. Aren’t those the computer stations in the children’s section of the library?

  7. They could add an adjoining conference room complete with teleconferencing (sp?) equipment so they can talk to penpals instead of using outdated snail mail.

  8. Forgot to subscribe…

  9. They seem to be designed as computer stations for pre-schools etc. (esp with a $2,500 price tag – ouch!) rather than a cubicle. As such I’m not that impressed – the input devices aren’t particularly great for little kids, the screen seems far too close and there’s no real room for anything else on the “desk” area if you wanted to try and use the computer with something else (like a sketch pad or a book).

    I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with a “Baby’s first cubicle” though. Kids like to copy what their parents do. It doesn’t seem any better or worse than a play washing machine. I worked in a cubicle for years and did great work that I enjoyed and was proud of, not sure why I would be upset to see my kid play copying that from time to time.

  10. I am actually not as disturbed by this thing as I am by the fast food drive through window things they sell at TRU. That is not the “imagination play” I had in mind for my kid.

  11. I also think it’s designed for a computer station for a school or library or other venue where kids visit. It’s too expensive to justify the price otherwise. I think it’s a good idea- room for two kids to sit, durable plastic casing, etc- it should help extend the life of the computer.

  12. 1984 anyone?

  13. I don’t think this is weird. My child imitates my husband’s workspace on her own. She’s just playing, just like kids in the bush have little stone kitchens, and kids on farms have their own little spades made of sticks. Not that we need a huge hunk of plastic for that, but anyway. Are you going to post about toy kitchens, doll houses, and the like? Kids imitate. Big whooping deal.

  14. It’s too expensive, but not weird. I used to set up tables in my house and open my own detective agency. I also had a typewriter (hey, I’m old!) and would set up an office. And I had a blackboard and enjoyed playing school, and playing house and doctor were always fun. Kids like to imitate what their parents and other respected adults to, so I have no problem with this, other than the price tag.

  15. it’s not “baby’s first cubicle.” That’s the blogger’s snarky take on it, which is admittedly amusing, but not what it’s marketed as. It’s a computer with a little plastic desk/workstation to put it on.

    It’s excessive and overindulgent, but it is not qualitatively different from any other way in which someone might buy a computer for their spoiled preschooler and put it on an appropriately sized desk.

    And Kim’s right — this is the 21st century version of “playing school” or pretending to dress up like Mommy or Daddy and “go to work.” There is nothing inherently weird about this. What’s objectionable is spending that kind of money for a computer for young children, who probably shouldn’t have their own computers anyway.

  16. How about baby’s first office affair?

    And to those who said they used to play the same way, yes! Of course you did. But you created the game from your very own imaginations! And that is what is missing from so many children’s toys today. There is no imagination required. And it can only be one thing: an office cubicle. Whereas your tables and blocks could be ANYTHING your heart and mind desired.

    Bring back the creativity in creative play.

  17. Discovery Place in NC used to have one of these in the kids’ room. They had educational video games installed on it. The annoying thing was that they felt the need to have a video game station in the science center. With so many things to explore, why include a computer with games? It was located in the room for kids under age 8.

  18. Back in the early 70’s I had a play stove and sink and lots of play dishes and cups. I also had a doctor’s kit. There was no debating how we were supposed to play with those – very similar to this little office play area.

    You know, times do change. My mother always talks about how much better things were for kids when she was a kid in the 40’s and 50’s. Things changed, though, and when I was a kid in the 70’s and a teenager in the 80’s, we did a lot of things differently than she did in the 40’s and 50’s. Now kids are different again, but really, not much. My son still climbs trees, plays in the dirt and rides his bike all around. But then he’ll come in and play with his Nintendo and Wii. As long as kids are well rounded, I have no problem with the new stuff that is out now.

    Btw, I love Discovery Place. I don’t live very far from it. A fun thing to do is take a train there! 🙂

  19. I don’t know – when I was little I LOVED to play office. So much so that my grandparents purchased a miniature desk for me and set it up with a stapler, hole punches, an old typewriter they had, a toy phone and all the scratch paper they generated. I spent hours imaging myself into all sorts of different jobs. I think children exploring various forms of adult life through imagination play, even the ones we see as drudgery, is very independence-fostering.

    Therefore, I can see a toy cubicle having the potential to be the bees knees. However, this version doesn’t seem like a cube a child can imagine in so much as a durable plastic computer station that’s not really so exciting and is a big fat zero on the imagination-inspriting scale. Probably great for homeschools or libraries though.

  20. While I am sure some overindulgent parents somewhere may buy this, this item is clearly being marketed to schools as a work station, not so kids can pretend they are office drones. If Lenore had taken the time time to use her reporting skills, she would have found:
    http://www.littletikes.com/toys/young-explorer.aspx

    ” …Having child-appropriate computers and software in your facility shows parents that you understand the important role technology plays in providing an enriched learning environment for their child’s growth. It’s a hallmark way to set you apart from other childcare facilities.”

    Lenore, I am starting to lose respect for you as you just take everything at face value and post them (Lady helping kid down from tree, which turned out to be bogus)

    “Hi Readers — Not sure if this is real”– if you are not sure if it is real, why did you post it?

  21. Bernadette – No I didn’t. Well, I mean, I did, but I also had a Wendy house, a cash register, a nurse outfit with stethoscope, probably a bunch of other things. That was nearly 40 years ago in a family that was definitely free-rangy.

    I played with blocks and cardboard boxes too, but I had toys that were supposed to be specific things intended for me to play a specific role. Of course I didn’t always stick to that role, but this isn’t going to blow up if some kid decides it’s actually NASA Mission Control.

  22. I don’t always agree with Lenore either but:

    ” … technology plays in providing an enriched learning environment for their child’s growth.”

    Just about makes my head explode. This comes from a software developer who’s son is addicted to playing a particular puzzle game on my cell phone. I don’t think there’s anything WRONG with kids using computers, but I think their time is much better spent making dams. It’s kind of like the difference between reading a book and watching TV. The more control you have over what’s going on, the more involved you are and the more you get out of it. You simply can’t replicate the variety of the real world with a computer program.

    How about playing WebKinz vs. playing with real animals?

  23. Have you seen “The Cubes” by Archie McPhee?
    http://www.mcphee.com/shop/categories/Classic-McPhee/Action-Figures/The-Cubes/

    I have to admit that if I found a Little Tykes plastic cubicle playset (which is not what this is– they don’t have one) on Freecycle or reasonably priced at a garage sale, I would be tempted to buy it, to go with the plastic kitchen set, etc. It’d be like “take your kid to work day”.

    But then, we gave my baby son an old keyboard with the cord cut off to use when Daddy was typing and he wanted to type too, and his uncle’s gift of a ‘baby laptop’ has been rather helpful in luring him away from hassling daddy when daddy is on call and working from home.

  24. The following is even better. And, like everything on thinkgeek – is offered tongue firmly in cheek.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/cubegoodies/722a/

  25. My kids LOVE the computer at home. Why shouldn’t they? Both their parents use computers, both at work and at home. Our 3-year-old saw a line of TVs for sale at WalMart the other day and said, “Wow, look at all those computers!”

    It’s just such a central part of their lives.

    (Their favorite program is iMovie. My 5-year-old likes to memorize the speeches from Mac tutorials and recreate them in his own video clips.)

    If I had 2500 bucks to burn, I wouldn’t mind giving them their own computer area… one gets tired of kicking a bunch of preschoolers off your desktop.

    “Hey, kids, it’s Mama’s turn!”

    They have toy kitchen stuff, too. Doesn’t mean I’m trying to brainwash them into domestic servitude.

  26. “But you created the game from your very own imaginations!”

    Actually, I had a toy stove and refrigerator and dishes. The play was from my own imagination, but I had child versions of things to implement the play.

    The computer vs. creativity thing aspect of this is a problem. The “child version of legitimate aspect of grownup life” aspect, as far as it goes, is NOT problematic in any way that I can see.

  27. To the people who commented on how they used to imitate their parents or their own kids now imitate them: isn’t that the point?! Using your imagination and looking for materials to set up a play “home office” or detective agency or grocery store or whatever it is, is a whole lot different than plunking a kid down in front of a hunk of plastic with a computer in it. While educational computer games may have some merit, they are a far cry from imagination and playing pretend. And to be quite frank, if my job does involve sitting in a box, staring at a screen for 8 hours a day, I’d really rather my children not imitate me.

  28. @beckyK, my “play” office wasn’t made out of cardboard, it did have either real or child’s toy versions of office supplies, just like a “play cube” would. I frankly enjoyed having a neat looking toy phone much more than I would have a toy “phone” made out of cardboard once I was old enough to realize the difference (I played office well into my upper elementary years). Like toy kitchens, I don’t think a toy office would be bad – I think kids enjoy having things that seem somewhat authentic for the base of their imaginary play. However, I don’t think a plastic computer station geared toward educational settings (cause kids DO need to learn to use computers these days) counts as a “play office.”

  29. Jenne – that’s exactly what this is. I found it on the Little Tikes website. Had to go there to check out its authenticity.

    but then there’s this little jem…

    http://www.bookofjoe.com/2009/10/my-cleaning-trolley-girls-only.html

  30. Only thing that bugs me about this one is the price tag. Having a nice kid sized setup could save me a lot of trouble. My kids would love to have a computer of their own. They’d probably even like the workstation setup, although I would worry about how soon they’d outgrow it.

    For my toddler, all I really need is an old keyboard. We had one with the cord removed for the older two, but I think it’s gone now. My littlest one is much into keyboard pounding just now.

  31. BeckyK — you have something of a point, but again, if this is a problem, play kitchens you buy at the store are a problem. I just can’t see that. They may have certain disadvantages compared to do it all yourself stuff (though I can’t see a three year old doing that anyway) but they are certainly not generally recognized as horrible creepy toys.

  32. Baby’s first blog. C’mon, any day now,

  33. They have these for educational games at the local libraries. The kids seem to love them.

    I didn’t know they were available for home use though.

  34. I wonder if baby will hang up his own art work and baby pictures in his cubicle for co-workers to admire.

  35. Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb here and admit that I’m not sure what’s disturbing about this, other than the price.

    I did buy my kids their own desktop computer when one was 3 and the other 6 plus a desk and chairs, for a combined $600 or so– admittedly considerably cheaper than this $2,500 combination. My daughter began playing educational computer games, by herself, at the age of 2. This is a generation born into computers.

    I also work from home, on the computer, in my home office, so something like this would be a natural imitative exercise for my children.

    Why is it any freakier than buying a grocery store, a kitchen, or a play house for your kid? The only thing that freaks me out is that someone would actually spend $2,500 on a child; then again, I suppose it depends what proportion of your income that constitutes. People throw their money away in all sorts of ways. As long as they aren’t going into debt for it, big deal.

  36. How about a cup with a sip-thru lid and a handle, so important papers don’t get spilled on? Now THERE’s a real grown-up accessory!

  37. What would be REALLY realistic is if they connected a second cubicle, but you have to share desk space with the other person, so you need to work out where your boundary is.

    Maybe a filing cabinet so you can lock up your office snacks from said cubicle-mate.

    He also needs a security badge.

  38. I have to chuckle because I bought my tots brooms and taught them how to sweep the kitchen when they spill dry stuff on the floor. The first time they used them, they were very proud of their accomplishment. But their “auntie” muttered, “oh goody, you are preparing them to grow up and be maids.” The sad thing is, I think she was partly serious.

    I learned all the ins and outs of housework at a relatively young age. Then grew up to be a lawyer/MBA/CPA. I think there are many adults nowadays who don’t have a clue about child development.

    I gave my kids an old but functioning laptop when they were under 2. The only problem is that it has no way to print, transfer, or transmit anything they create. But they still have fun with it. We only bring it out occasionally, though, as I believe they benefit more from physical activities and varied stimuli.

  39. As much as I hate the ideas of things like this, my middle child loves everything like this. Right now, she is sitting behind me with McDonald’s cash register, playing store. When I first discovered there were play drive-thru toys, I was appalled, thinking this is what I am teaching my child to strive to be? A McDonald’s employee? Then, I loosened up. My daughter plays office and store all the time, so, when I found a McDonald’s cash register for $1.25, I bought it (it has a built in calculator—cool!). I was a waitress all through high school, so would her working at McDonald’s be any different? Someone has obviously been watching a child like mine and cashing in on it. Haha
    For this cubicle to work for her to be like her dad, she would need a headset, a few old coffee cups, bunches of paper lying around, etc.

  40. SKL — the auntie might have considered that you were teaching them to clean up after themselves! Do only maids have to sweep floors? 🙂

  41. Pentamom, where she comes from, they don’t believe in kids doing these things. She told me that when she went to school, a servant would come at lunch time every day with a hot lunch, and would actually feed the food into her mouth, because a little schoolgirl could not be expected to know how to properly feed herself. Needless to say, she thought I was hallucinating when I told her my sister was cooking her own lunch at 4. Of course, I also wondered if she were confused, thinking that children who couldn’t feed themselves could be expected to attend school and learn how to read and write.

    I think some folks believe that if young kids are learning “manual labor” type stuff, they won’t have room in their brains to also learn book smarts. My personal experience is that the more you engage them in the real world – including scut work – the better you prepare their minds to understand everything else. As she watches my kids grow up, I think she is getting it – and hopefully passing it along.

  42. Throughout this grand scheme of things you actually receive an A with regard to hard work. Where you confused me personally ended up being on your specifics. As they say, the devil is in the details… And it could not be more accurate here. Having said that, let me inform you exactly what did deliver the results. The text is actually very convincing which is probably why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, even though I can certainly notice the leaps in logic you make, I am definitely not certain of just how you appear to unite your details which inturn help to make the conclusion. For now I will, no doubt yield to your position however trust in the future you link your facts better.

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