Sunday, November 28, 2010

We got a new girl in the family today

Today, T2 got to spend the gift certificate she got for her birthday (thanks super generous JL and M).  She took a class this past summer reading books from the American Girl series.  She fell in love with those stories of those plucky historically-themed heroines.  She started asking for an American Girl doll soon after this.  DG and I knew that this desire was probably tied to the reading (which is her real first love) and that playing with dolls is something she just doesn't really do.  Barbies sit untouched in a drawer and last year's Christmas staple Liv dolls enjoyed a short-lived affinity in her life.  We said, "no American Girl doll."  She just doesn't play with dolls enough.

This has always bothered me a little.  I LOVE dolls.  As a kid, I played with every kind of doll I could get my hands on.  I had a 18" doll, American Girl doll size, that I named Karen.  My grandmother made all kinds of clothes for her.  My sister and I played Barbies non stop with our neighborhood friends all summer.  We even had Chrissy and Velvet dolls in the 70's.  These were dolls whose hair could go longer or shorter with a turn of a knob on their backs. 

Don't they have super groovy 70's outfits?

This doll is still in its case in my garage today.  But T2 did not get the doll-playing bug the way I did.

Until now.  Something shifted this year.  She started playing with the Bitty Baby that was given to her by the very same JL mentioned above pretty much every day.  She started asking to take the doll everywhere we went.  She changed the doll into pajamas and read to her at night before bed.  My heart was singing. 

Last week, when she received the gift card for the American Girl store from JL, I teared up a little.  I almost think I wanted the doll more than she did.  And today, when we were at the fabulous American Girl store in Los Angeles, we shared a love of these beautifully crafted dolls that made us both giddy.  She chose the Rebecca Rubin doll--a Jewish girl living in New York in 1914.  She took the doll out of the box and immediately started creating an imaginary world in which Rebecca plays the main role.  T2's stories rivaled the ones in the books.  I can't wait to see how T2 and Rebecca's adventures play out.

We won't be able to visit the American Girl store very often.  I'd go broke!  But for today, it was magical to share this with my daughter. 


MomAgain@40 said...

I also loved my dolls. I did not even have a Barbie, but only a Cindy... But she was super!
Mieka at 23 months love playing now with her dolls, so I can see we are going to enjoy it!
Glad your daughter found one she likes.
Love the pic with Santa!

Aging Mommy said...

I never liked dolls as a young child but at about your daughter's age I did ask for and get a more grown up doll. My daughter, who is three, has so far shown zero interest in dolls too so maybe in a few years from now we will be visiting the American Girl store too.

notmytree said...

Sorry to be the rain-on-your-parade cynical one (I looooved dolls as a kid), but I just want to point out the institutionally sexist notion of girls-get-dolls and boys-get-trucks. In one of my women's studies classes, we were discussing how children are socialized via many means like clothing and toys to learn and perform their gender, and with that gender comes all of the rigid gender roles and expectations prescribed by society at large. I had never thought about dolls this way before--what are you teaching young girls by giving them a doll? To mother it. What are you teaching them by getting them play kitchens? To do household work.

Not saying dolls and motherhood and cooking and everything aren't cool, but I dunno, those gendered occupations ought to be freely chosen without years of subtle direction. Get her some toy spaceships too. That girl can do anything.

Also, just got to mention, I LOVE her tights. She's got such a cool style.