I Want The Doll & I Want It Now!

I Want The Doll & I Want It Now!

Picture courtesy of www.americangirlfan.com and www.autumndeforest.com

It’s a Thursday post which means this post was inspired by the site, http://www.mamakatslosinit.com who sends out weekly writing prompts to those of us in dire need of fresh, compelling topics on which to compose our prose.  This week’s topic: What do your kids have that you always wanted when you were a kid?

I want an American Girl doll.  It’s that simple.  My daughter has FIVE dolls  and is not willing to share a single one of them with me.  Not that it matters.  I want my own. (And yes, I admit that I am NOT a child, at least not chronologically that is.)

I have always wanted the “IT” doll.  (No, not that scary clown from the Stephen King novel by the same name.)  I have always wanted the doll that I could never have.  When I was a child it was an old-fashioned china doll from Germany.  (See Exhibit A)

The China Doll of My Dreams

My elementary school best friend, Debbie Thalheimer, had one and I used to beg her to let me sleep with it.  I’m not sure why but my parents either didn’t have the means or the desire to search out or buy an authentic china doll for me.  So, I would schedule sleep overs at Debbie’s house just so I could play and sleep with her doll.  Eventually, Debbie left for boarding school and I started junior high.  That was the end of the “China Doll Sleep Overs.”  But I never forgot my sadness at never owning an authentic china doll.

When I went to overnight camp the summer I turned twelve, I was introduced to Xavier Roberts and his remarkable (but ugly) Cabbage Patch dolls. (This was before the company was purchased and the dolls mass marketed.)  One of my counselors have a GENUINE Cabbage Patch and I wrote numerous letters home that summer begging my parents to spend $40 and buy me a doll.  I can’t recall if I offered to send them the address of the doll maker but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had.

“Paul Otis” An Original Cabbage Patch

Alas, my parents ignored my desperate requests.  When the company was sold and Coleco took over the production of the dolls, they started being massed produced then…well, you know the story.  Everyone had a Cabbage Patch doll…Except me. My grandparents bought me a knock off.  Trust me, it wasn’t the same as having that sweet smelling baby doll with the Xavier Roberts signature tattoo on its bum.  Sweet was the last word that I would use for the knock-off.

By the time I eventually received a REAL Cabbage Patch doll, I was probably 18 years old and my high school boyfriend thought that it would be cute to get me one.  Honestly, it was too late.  That doll had no chance of ever being loved by me.

Fast forward a few decades and I discovered a new love: an American Girl doll.  And I finally found the excuse to get the “IT” doll:   I have a DAUGHTER.  I have no qualms about using her to get the doll of my dreams.  (No judging allowed!)

When K was five, my mother, her best friend, my niece (age 11) and my sister came to Chicago to visit and, yes, to go to the American Girl store.  My mother planned on buying my daughter her first American Girl doll.  But I harbored a secret:  I wanted my mother to buy me a doll.  I even knew which doll I wanted: Samantha.  If it came down to a choice between K or me, I chose ME!  K will get over the disappointment.  After, this is MY MOTHER ! 

Samantha, my first true AG love

But my mother did not share my opinion.  And did not seem to understand that Samantha Parkington was the PERFECT Victorian era doll.  And for as long as I can remember, I have had a “thing” for all things Victorian.  As we walked down Michigan Avenue on that cold November day, I mustered up as much courage as I could and asked my mother if she would buy me a doll.  And what did my mother say?

“Ahhh,,,,No.  You ARE kidding right?”

I laughed the whole thing off and stated that  “Of course,  I was just playing with you.”  But I wasn’t.  And my mother’s best friend knew it.  She even encouraged my mother to buy that doll for me.  But my mother held firm and refused to even entertain the thought that she should buy her grown daughter a doll. (Note to self: When K is an adult and a mother, should she ask me to buy her a doll, I WILL DO IT!  No questions asked!  I am HER MOTHER after all!) 

So I did what any self-respecting (and slightly jealous) mother of a small child would do: I tried to manipulate my daughter into choosing Samantha.  But that stubborn and unappreciative child refused to help out her mommy!  Instead the ankle biter chose a look-alike doll who she named “Molly.”  The doll doesn’t even look like her!  (But I am not bitter, am I?)

Then the American Girl company retired  Samantha! My mother had a chance to BUY ME THAT DOLL and now IT’S TOO LATE! I will never get my dream doll!  (And, yes, I understand that I sound spoiled and a bit whiny!)

To answer your question, Mama Kat, my daughter has the “IT” doll: the one toy that I never had growing up.  She has American Girl dolls and I want one of my own.  Now, I am sure with time and the right financing, I could find someone who would be willing to sell me a Samantha doll.  But, it’s not the same when you have to buy your own doll (especially when you are 40 and harboring a slight grudge against your own sweet child.)

So does my confession make me a bad person?  I don’t think so.  An overly indulged and slightly eccentric adult?  Maybe.  But you asked and I answered.  I am sure that I am not alone in my secret wish to have my own American Girl doll; I just may be older than the average girl.








An Updated Gift of the Magi?

It’s the holiday season and you know what that means?  Adam and I are co-parenting with the big man: Santa Claus.

Even though we are Jewish, for the past 8 years, we have insisted that Santa visits all of G-d’s children regardless of their religion.  For most of her life, Santa has surprised Kayla with a wonderful gift in return for her leaving him delicious homemade cookies.  However the ol’guy does have his limits and we thought that $80 for a battery powered stuffed dog was well above it.

A few years ago, Kayla decided that we needed a dog.  I was working full time and Adam was away for business at least 2 weeks out of each month.  In short, we did not have the time nor the patience to add another member to the already growing zoo.  So Biscuit, a battery powered realistic looking toy, became the dog of Kayla’s dreams: just large enough for her to hug, obey her commands to sit and lay down, came with a bone, and could whine and bark on command. Even better? She (and we) would not have to feed or take him outside.  He wouldn’t shed nor would he chase the cat around the house.

Biscuit: The Perfect Dog

Bottom line: Adam and I had every intention of getting the toy for Kayla and decided that despite our protests to the contrary, Santa would be the perfect person to deliver it.  We convinced Kayla that Biscuit was just too pricey and that she would need to select a less expensive toy.  She decided that she would buy the pup herself and came back to us with proposal to perform chores and run errands in exchange for payment.  When we told her that scooping the cat litter and sweeping the floor once or twice would only merit $5, Kayla asked us to take her to the bank so she could withdraw money from her savings account.  We refused to take her and that’s when Kayla decided that there had to be another way to get Biscuit.

Kayla has always watched more than her share of television.  We didn’t consider networks like Sprout or Nickelodeon would influence Kayla’s actions.  Actually the programs themselves had nothing to do with her idea; it was the commercials.  And Adam and I never really paid attention to the commercials.  Until one cold December morning when I emerged from the shower to find my six year old on my bed surrounded by jewelry: my jewelry.

Kayla had divided the trinkets into three piles: Gold, Silver and Not sure. While still dripping wet and in a towel, I asked her what EXACTLY she was doing with my things?  Her response?  “The nice man on television told me that if I sent him jewelry, he would give me money.  Then I can buy Biscuit!”  My mouth hung open.  I was not sure what to say. I exclaimed “You’re going to do WHAT? I don’t think so.  Those are my things!”  Okay, maybe that was not the best parental response but it was all that I could think of at the time. I then quietly (and slowly) explained to Kayla that that was Mommy’s jewelry and it was not for sale.  I praised her for her ingenuity (she was 6 after all) but told her that there had to be another way to get Biscuit.  I recommended that she do a better job of listening to her parents when we told her to go to bed. Maybe Santa would surprise her.

Our daughter cried and cried at the unfairness of the situation.  She was out of ideas.  When she wasn’t begging us or quoting Shel Silverstein poems about little girls who died when their parents did not buy them ponies, Kayla sulked in her room convinced that she would forever be dog-less.

Imagine her surprise on Christmas morning when she opened a gigantic box and found Biscuit ready and waiting to be played with.  (We put the batteries in the ol’boy the night before so Kayla would not have to wait to play with her new acquisition.)  She thanked Santa over and over for hearing her prayers and bringing her the toy she coveted the most.  The note from Santa admonished Kayla for planning to sell her mother’s jewelry and recommended that she focus on being more obedient and less crafty. (Well, you can’t say that we didn’t try, right?)

Fast forward two years, and Biscuit stands guard in Kayla’s room waiting to be played with.  He was pretty much forgotten when we acquired the German Shepherd a year ago who is much more interesting as well as a lot more work. Earlier this month, Kayla told informed me that there were other children who might appreciate Biscuit more that she did.  It was time, according to K, for Biscuit to be moving on to another home.  She asked me to make the appropriate arrangements.  When I asked her what she was planning on doing with the soon to be empty space in her bedroom, Kayla assured me that Santa would provide. Yikes.

As for me, I can’t help wondering what Kayla will think of next to generate some cash and will it involve doing something with my possessions? For now, I am keeping a close eye on my wallet.  She recently figured out how the ATM machine and credit cards work.