Friday, July 19, 2013

The Toy That's Changing it All

It begins.

Madison got a birthday present yesterday from a friend of ours at the pool. She got a princess t-shirt for the fall, a sundress, a jeweled wand and....


Her very first Barbie.

For the record, I really could care less what Barbie looks like or what proportions she has or how much makeup she has on. I played with Barbies as a kid and I really don't think I ever saw her as something to aspire to. It was a doll. Madison has plenty of babies who automatically close their eyes when they lie down, and that alone should teach children that dolls and people are different. Seriously, when was the last time Reagan laid down and instantly closed her eyes?

And yet Barbie still made me cringe inwardly.

At first I thought it was the clothes and shoes thing. Shoes that will fall off and get lost and get sucked up in the vacuum. Clothes that my children will desperately want to mess with, but lack the motor skills to do so without help.

But I don't think that's it.

Maybe it's the consumerist thing? Once you have a Barbie, you need this Barbie and that Barbie and this outfit and this car and this house and this camper and this beauty salon and before you know it, Barbie has more square footage of the house than we do. And has clothes that cost more than our living, breathing, children, who were are actually required to clothe?

I don't think that's it either.

And I'm pretty sure I know why I'm all twisted up about this new addition to Madison's doll menagerie.

Barbie isn't for babies.

Little baby dolls? OK for toddlers. Even the Bitty Baby from American Girl seems like a little girl toy. Princesses? Even Reagan likes princesses.

But Barbie signals that move into kid. Little kid, but kid.

Three years old is tough to think of as a baby.

She's moving into the preschool stage, the kid stage, and out of the baby stage, the toddler stage.

Barbie's arrival was a sign that things are changing around here. She'll always be my baby, but she's not a baby anymore.

I'm excited to see who this kid grows into. She's a strong, independent, smart girl, and she'll always be my baby.

On second thought, Barbie won't change a thing.
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