Product Review

The Year Every Little Girl Wished for a Robotic Baby Doll

The year was 2000, and I was but a chubby tyke watching cartoons when I first saw the commercial for My Dream Baby, and I clearly remember bugging my dad to death about wanting one for Christmas. The promises posed in the commercial were pure magic to my little eight-year-old brain – a baby doll that GROWS UP. This was a baby doll that you name, teach to speak and walk, and watch “grow” from an infant into a toddler within the span of days. What kid could resist such an awesome toy?

This was no ordinary toy. This was MGA Entertainment’s ambitious interactive My Dream Baby, a dip into animatronic robotic baby dolls that seemed like a great fit for the beginning of the 21st century. The doll came to be by creating a robot that mimics behaviors of human babies through the stages of early childhood – from Newborn, Infant, Young Toddler, and Older Toddler. And yes, it could eventually “learn” up to 500 words, sing, walk, and “grow” an additional two inches with a telescoping spine. This thing was amazing – it even came to recognize the name it would be given. It required one 9 volt and three “C” batteries and she was ready to go. Included was a dish of food, feeding utensils, a bottle, another pair of clothes, and a cute little teddy bear.

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MGA Entertainment’s My Dream Baby

But My Dream Baby certainly was not the only high tech toy on the market that year. No, it had some steep competition, mainly against Hasbro’s similar and considerably more creepy My Real Baby, which grew “emotionally” instead of physically, and boasted some pretty intricate skin with sensors that could react to touch with a mess of other features that, though it seemed like a stellar idea at the time, only came across as… well, human-ish.

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Hasbro’s My Real Baby, a still from the television commercial. Or also nightmare fuel.

So, imagine my delight when “Santa” left my very own My Dream Baby under the tree on Christmas 2000. I was over the moon, naming my blonde baby girl Snow Angel (I had a weird interest with angels until my mid teens, even naming my poor dog Angel when she most certainly would have been better named Peanut or Dragon Breath.) But, there was a problem. After about a day, something in the electronics of Snow Angel malfunctioned. I don’t remember exactly what she would do, but I do remember being pretty traumatized and my parents had to return her right away for another My Dream Baby doll. I vaguely remember naming this one Kimberly after my favorite Power Ranger, and like poor Snow Angel, this one suffered the same fate. There might have been a defect causing this issue and therefore a recall, but I am not sure as there is hardly any information at all online on My Dream Baby past its first year on the market. So, Kimberly was sadly returned for a cash refund, but my sadness was quickly cheered when my dad let me go on a shopping spree with the entire $100 that the doll was worth. Trust me, this was a once in a lifetime spree and I will always remember the joy of filling that shopping buggy with books and toys. A hundred dollars just doesn’t hit the same way it did back then.

As you can probably imagine, these robotic baby dolls have long since been discontinued and are beyond rare now. Sometimes you might see one pop up on eBay or in a garage sale, but nine times out of ten it will be missing parts and in pretty rough shape. There is an Amazon listing for the doll, but it is currently unavailable.

Come on, y’all, were you ever hyped up on the robotic toy trend in the early 2000s? Did you even get the opportunity to own a My Dream Baby… or even the My Real Baby? Did you experience any creepy malfunctions that you have possibly repressed until just this moment? Comment below and tell us your story! ✌

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