Last summer, something strange began to occur here at Rock Father HQ. Addie, our oldest daughter, started spinning tales of some mythical creatures known as “Neonate Babies.” There were other bits and pieces she would tell us – stories peppered with words like “Espongie” and “Nerlie,” endearingly spoken in a somewhat-Spanish accent from a child that doesn’t speak Spanish… especially when she’d say “Ksi-Meritos”. For whatever reason, it took a few months for the entire story to come out, and it was when she started telling us about someone called “Nurse Tania,” and that she’d come across her on the YouTube Kids app. While I try to keep the devices to a minimum, this is one example where YouTube videos managed to open up a whole new world, and it’s one that I think is poised to be massive. Get ready to explore Neonatopia…
Back in November, I tracked the Neonate Babies back to a Mexican company called Distroller World. At the time, Distroller USA was just starting to gain some steam, but details were surprisingly light. In the back-channels of the toy world, unscrupulous re-sellers were getting their hands on these toys and charging some hefty fees on the secondary market. But how were they getting toys from a company that seemingly wasn’t selling them in the States? Turns out they were…
The concept behind how the Neonate Babies were being sold is something that’s experience-based and currently offered at retail locations in San Diego and Houston. The most obvious comparison would be to Build-a-Bear Workshop, but what Distroller is offering is so much more… and when it comes to the toys, there’s an adoption component and scarcity that makes me think that we could be looking at a craze on-par with Cabbage Patch Kids circa 1983. That’s if it catches, and I think that it will.
For those nowhere near a Distroller World retail store, they were taking orders via phone and email through much of the fall, putting out the call to a growing social media fanbase. Now, they’ve entered 2018 with a proper online store with everything that new Neo-Parents could need. Yes, kids who adopt a Neonate Baby have an official name, and our girls are among their ranks. After doing some digging during the fall, the folks at Distroller were kind enough to send us an assortment of items for review, and they’re impressive. Not only that, in just a couple of months, the product offerings have grown.
No matter if a child visits a retail location or the Distroller website (with help of a grownup), they can adopt a Neonate Baby of their choosing (an exception would be the Alushhhes, which choose the child). These creatures come to Earth in special capsules from the planet of Neonatopia. As Distroller states, “just like human babies, Neonate Babies arrive in distinct sizes, personalities, and species whom have different stages of development. Since Neonatopia’s atmosphere is different, they are kept in their incubators at Distroller World until they can acclimate to the Earth’s climate.” These creatures come in varieties including Nerlie, Zygotie, Preemie and Espongie, each with exceptionally-detailed care instructions. And to further drive that home, Nurse Tania has plenty of videos to help new Neo-Parents in their journey.
Each style of doll has a full range of accessories available, including food, medicine, clothing – everything that a growing alien needs. And these toys are exceptionally well-made. We have a Nerlie named SuziKing along with a pair of Espongies – Cora Lee and one who the girls call “Larry,” but I believe is sold as Willy. The Nerlie has some real weight to it and comes packed in an “incubator” along with a feeding tube plugged into its umbilical cord. The Espongies have sounds and scents built into their huggable bodies.
What’s fascinating about the entire Neonate Babies experience is that they pair cool design from Mexican artist Amaro Serrano with a teaching element of real care. Like the Cabbage Patch Kids a few decades before them, there is the adoption factor, but these really encourage children to nurture these creatures – to make sure that they’re properly fed and dressed – and that their medical needs from vaccinations to prevent illness to treatment when they are sick are met.
The Rock Daughters have become so enamored by theirs that these little ones have become constant companions – loved daily (there was a major meltdown when the girls thought one might’ve gotten lost at the movie theater), and even becoming the inspiration for art. Indeed, our girls have drawn pictures of their Neonate Babies – something that’s a huge honor for any toy.
Neonate Babies are considered Rock Father-Approved, and can be found at DistrollerUSA.com.