Hello Kitty wasn’t around when I was a little girl. It’s a phenomena I have been aware of for some time but I felt it was a shameless rip-off of Dick Bruna’s Miffy and I steered well clear. Someone offered to buy me some Hello Kitty branded clothing for the girls when they were small and I turned them down. Me and my silly spurious principles eh?
Anyway, it started with a single purple t-shirt with a picture of Hello Kitty on the front. A few months on, KITTY (it’s the way she says it) dominates R’s wardrobe. G has even got in on the act and
guilted persuaded Dh to buy her a Hello Kitty t-shirt or two. I have been putting bits and pieces aside all year for the girls’ upcoming birthday and Christmas and R is going to be the proud owner of an awful lot more KITTY stuff by the end of December.
Trouble is, Hello Kitty is EVERYWHERE. You simply can’t avoid it. Every shop seems to have a licence to sell Sanrio-branded merchandise. It’s an odd phenomena because it’s not like the children have seen a Hello Kitty tv programme or film (although I believe they exist). I totally understand the girls’ obsession with Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly (Dh has a lot to answer for the latter though) because they’ve watched the programmes and built up relationships with the characters. Hello Kitty seems to have invaded our lives by stealth.
The KITTY craze is speading around our family now too. My
parents Dad shouts KITTY when he and my Mum are out shopping and spot something with the damned cat on. (at least he gets the name right. He keeps calling Ben and Holly Ben and Jerry).
I made the stupid mistake of taking the girls into a toy shop a couple of weeks ago. Naturally they had a section dedicated to KITTY, including an extensive range of cuddly toys. R fell head-over-heels in love with a Hello Kitty dressed as a ballerina but I decreed that it was too close to her birthday to warrant buying a toy for no reason.
R’s a clever little thing and, realising that I was standing firm on the issue, went to work on Dh. He was treated to an Oscar-worthy speech: “G has a special toy that she takes to bed. I don’t have a special toy at night. I want to cuddle KITTY when I go to sleep” accompanied by ‘Peppa Pig sadface’ and big hopeful eyes. To give Dh a break I took the girls back to the shop on Sunday and the ruddy place was CLOSED! Five weeks before Christmas! I ask you!
R was devastated so Mum and I hatched a plan to pick one up during our annual shopping trip to Bluewater this week. I went into the toy shop, marched over to the shelf where the ballerina kittys had sat and…there were none there. Panicking, I grabbed the nearest sales assistant and, with pleading eyes, asked if they had any more. She offered to go ‘out the back’ and have a look. I’ve worked in retail. I know what looking ‘out the back’ means. It’s a way of humouring a hapless shopper into thinking you’re helping them when in actual fact you wander into the stockroom, have a chat with your colleagues for a few minutes, eat a chocolate bar, mooch back out to the poor customer and tell them that they don’t have any but there’s a delivery due next Wednesday and they might be on it
if the wind is blowing in the right direction. In short, I wasn’t hopeful. However, a couple of minutes later she reappeared and handed me a brand-new ballerina kitty in a plastic wrapper. I nearly hugged her! Mum and I danced over to the till, told the cashier how pleased we were, stepped out of the shop and tweeted Dh a picture of our success.
I’m now R’s New Best Friend. I can do no wrong in her eyes. In the bath last night she looked up at me, smiled and whispered. I couldn’t quite hear what she was saying so I leaned in a little closer. R whispered in my ear ‘Thank you so much for finding my kitty Mummy’ and gave me a little kiss.
Meanwhile, Dh was placating a ‘trying to be grown-up but obviously a bit hacked-off’ G. She was very good about it but she did big-eyes at Daddy and they came back from a trip to the supermarket this morning with a little rock chick (think Avril Lavigne in a Hello Kitty costume) Kitty. Sucker.
I wouldn’t mind but I don’t even bloody like cats…