Sunday, August 3, 2008

An American Girl Dream

I used to work in Chicago Visitor Information in a prime location on North Michigan Avenue. We were only steps away from what was, at the time, the only American Girl Doll Store. It was, coincidentally, where I met Mr. Hobbitfeet. We both worked there, but that isn't what this is about.
Often there would be families who had come to Chicago only to shop at the American Girl Doll store. These people were easy to spot. The daughter would be cradling an AG bag most likely filled with HUNDREDS of dollars worth of accessories and clothes, the father (if one was present) was looking dazed, and the mother was wearing the EXACT same dress as both her daughter and the AG doll.
I need you to understand how frightening I thought this was. I find matching outfits to be disturbing any day of the week, but when the outfits are mother-daughter-doll it is too eerie to express in real words. Even worse were the Mother-Daughter-Daughter-Doll-Doll outfits. Now, not only is the mother dressed like both of her daughters but there are TWO dolls dressed alike. It is a sea of pink, floral, collared dresses.
I've seen too many scary movies where dolls come to life and kill people to be comfortable with this.
Then multiply this by two-three times a week (more in the summer) and then by a year. Also throw in the yuppie, "I'm better than you" attitude, and toss in a bit of fevered anticipation for a vacation completely devoted to high-end shopping. What I am trying to say is these people scared me because they were devoted to a frenzied feeling that I could never hope, or care, to sympathize with.
I said to myself, "As God as my witness, I will never allow my children to own an American Girl doll!"
And then, if you triple that, you'd know Mr. Hobbitfeet's feelings on the subject.
Now move forward in time seven years.
Girl got her hands on an American Girl catalog, and she can not stop talking about it. All she wants out of life is 17 inches of China-made plastic with ice skates and red hair. Her goal in life is the "Girl of the Year," Mia and the package that comes with three or four outfits all for the low, low price of $168.
And "as God as my witness," I am going to get it for her. We've told her there will be no birthday party. We have told her there will be no other presents. She doesn't care (as long as maybe she gets some balloons too).
Of course she still has threeish months until her birthday, and Mr. H is hoping (against all hope) that she'll forget her obsession and move on. Of course he isn't home all day to see her pouring through well-worn catalog, exclaiming at all the cool accessories that you can get for your doll, kissing the picture of Mia and telling Boy over and over again that she is getting it for her birthday with some balloons, but no party or other presents.
There is NO WAY she is letting herself forget.


Pelmo said...

There is a word that parents have used in the past and has worked wonders, and it's the word "NO".

A bad precedent is set when you start to bargin with a 5 year old, as is trying to wish it a proble away.

Pelmo said...

That's supposed to be trying to wish a problem away.

Woodlandmama said...

Yes it is certainly a bad precedent to not allow your child the only thing she is asking for and force her to get something she doesn't want and won't play with and a party that will inevitably cost more because you hate the mentality of some people you saw behaving a certain way.

My comments were more of a "my love for my kids have made me change the way I feel about something" than "I better get her this or she'll have a tempertantrum."

My thinking is that if she loves this doll so much that she will for go the promise of ten four-five year olds in my house for three hours, which is something she loves than she must really want it.

Pelmo said...

What your telling me is that you are the luckiest parent in the world; in that you have never experienced the pleasure of a kid begging, pleading and promising the world to get a toy. Then after getting it and playing with it for a few minutes watch them cast it aside and hardly touch it again.

Woodlandmama said...

No, I'm saying that I'd rather spend the money on one thing that she really wants and has wanted for four months, than spend more buying her any old crap because I don't want her to have the doll.
It's much more likely that she'll discard the other stuff than the stuff she wanted for a longer time.