By peoplestaff225
Updated August 20, 2009 10:00 AM
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Kids can test out their medical and parenting skills for hours with the newest addition to Hasbro’s Baby Alive Better Now Baby ($20).

My 4-year-old daughter has literally spent days with this adorable doll (ours is currently named Niela, after one of my daughter’s favorite playmates), fascinated by her pink thermometer, her handy medicine spoon (with disappearing medicine), her sippy cup and nasal aspirator.

This doll has also become a favorite with her pals, as they all crowd around taking the doll’s temperature – “I think she might need a cold bath,” one said in a concerned voice and changed her diaper after giving her water out of her sippy cup.

Even my 1-year-old son has been swiping the thermometer (which is large enough not to be a choking hazard) and placing it under his arm to the delight of his big sister and her friends. He’s unknowingly added himself to their patient roster by being intrigued with the aspirator and medicine spoon.

Better Now Baby is easy to wipe clean — a big plus when she’s being repeatedly fed her doll juice by our in-house pretend medical personnel — and is strong enough to withstand being dragged to the park, strapped into a car seat, thrown into the stroller and tossed into many a shopping cart. She’s become a welcome addition to our household and her ability to get well quickly is a big inspiration for the kids lavishing her with love and care.

Alicia, Austin mom of a blended family of six: a rough-and-tumble 1-year-old boy; a 4-year-old princess-obsessed girl; three teenaged girls and a son heading off to college in the fall, looks for quality gear that makes life easier and ups the family fun quotient