I remember getting a brand new doll every year for Christmas. I couldn’t wait. They always had that new doll smell…of plastic and Johnson’s baby lotion in the pink bottle. Aside from Baby Alive and the cool “Joey” doll that came out when Gloria had her baby on All In the Family, most of the dolls my sister and I got were not name brand. Just normal, run of the mill dolls. But they were special. And we played with them endlessly. So much so that neither of us ever really got into Barbies that much. We’d much rather play “house” with our life-size baby dolls and push them in strollers and feed them fake food and change fake diapers.
I played with dolls longer than many of my friends. Probably until I was about 11 or 12. Not out in public, mind you. But safe in my bedroom or in the living room.
My 9-year-old is nearly at the age where society says she’s too old to be playing with dolls. But she doesn’t care, and neither do I.
Until she was about 4, she played with other toys. But that year, she got her first American Girl Doll and she hasn’t looked back. Her doll has visited a Broadway show, gotten her hair done at the famous salon for dolls in the NYC store, and traveled with us on various family trips.
She now owns three American Girl Dolls and is asking for one or two more this Christmas. And I love it. She takes good care of her dolls; carefully folding their clothes and spending hours fixing their hair. She’s reluctant to let her baby sister play with them so she takes time to share the finer points of how to carry the dolls (my two-year old prefers to carry them by the hair…).
Earlier this spring, she came with me on a routine trip to the grocery store. She grabbed the shopping cart and immediately strapped her doll into the child’s seat and began to push her. Moms and grandmoms smiled and nodded at me as if to say, “Savor this moment…”
Today, she and I were at Target. One of my most favorite places on Earth, if you must know. We were there to get just a few things, but I thought it might be wise to scoot down the toy aisle to see if anything caught her eye. As my Christmas shopping is now in full swing, I’ve noticed she’s gotten a bit more difficult to buy for. Too old for the “kids” aisle. Too young for the teen aisles.
She went down the “pink aisle” and found the knock-off American Girl dolls called, “My Generation.” The dolls are cute and have tons of very cool accessories. They have a full size RV camper?! Hilarious.
The My Generation doll clothes will be a good purchase for Christmas since they’ll fit her other dolls. But she surprised me by asking for a doll. A little redhead named Peyton. She just fell in love with her. Right there in the middle of Target.
*It’s worth noting that prior to Target, she’d had a moment of pouting and sulking after being told we wouldn’t buy her something she saw online…so we had a pretty serious discussion in the car about how she was nine now and shouldn’t be acting like a two-year old when she doesn’t get her way, blah, blah, blah…*
Back to the doll aisle. I told her that no, I really couldn’t afford to get her a doll today and Christmas is coming so why doesn’t she just add this doll to her list. No dice.
But! She didn’t sulk. Or pout. Or whine. Or beg.
Instead, she looked me straight in the eyes and said she understood what I was saying, but she really loved this doll already and didn’t think it would be here again for me, or Santa, or anyone else to get for her for Christmas.
Then she reached in the shopping cart and removed the $20 makeup bag I had planned on buying for her and handed it to me. (*And OMG she does not wear makeup already…she just noticed on Halloween that her play makeup is in need of a new home…so off to Target we went to get a suitable makeup bag). She told me she could wait for the makeup bag, if I would reconsider getting her this very special doll.
Maybe it’s because I have the dreaded mommy guilt. Maybe it’s because I’m a sentimental softie. Or maybe it’s because I just started my period and I’m unbelievably hormonal, but I caved and bought her the doll.
And she LOVES it. And I love that she still loves playing with dolls.