Included in the packages from Germany with the other treats that my sister sent for the holidays this year were several boxes of Kinder Eggs for Sprout. (Well, Sprout and mama if we're being completely honest... Sprout gets the chocolate, mama gets the toy...) Having spent a significant portion of our childhood in Europe, Kinder Eggs hold a special place in the hearts of myself and many others.
I remember reading somewhere, about the same time that the FDA banned the eggs in the US, that some engineering or design programs use Kinder Eggs as an instructional device. Some of the toys contained inside Kinder Eggs are rather complicated and involved. The eggs, and the toys inside, are manufactured and sold in many countries with very diverse languages. Adding to the difficulty, the toys must fit inside a rather small plastic capsule inside the chocolate egg. This often means breaking a complicated toy into quite a few small parts which must be assembled by the recipient no matter where they live or what language they speak. The instructions must fit inside the plastic capsule with the toy, so if they're too complicated or require translation, it cuts into the space available for the toy. As a consequence, the instructions are usually illustrated and sometimes puzzling. (Think IKEA assembly instructions...) The point being, I love Kinder Eggs and try to justify that love with admiration of the design accomplishments and tech writing genius represented by the toy surprises. (Like most other Kinder Egg enthusiasts, I almost want to cry when I open that little capsule and find a figurine instead of a wonderful puzzle of a toy.)
The unfortunate down side of the current supply of Kinder Eggs in the house is that my days are punctuated by repeated two word pleas, screams, whines and demands for "Chocolate Egg"... Sprout seems to think that repetition is the key to getting what she wants. If I don't immediately acquiesce, she experiments with changes of inflection and volume. She sounds a little like a star-struck theatrical amateur experimenting with the verbal inflection of a line of dialog trying to find just the right delivery. It would be funny and cute if it weren't so damned anoying.