Edit ModuleShow Tags

Parental Indiscretion

Valley of the Dolls


Published:

Toys Illustration by Kristina Micotti

Holidays 2007: Fate found me chuckling snidely at my friends as they described the contents of beautifully wrapped packages under their Christmas trees.

In the boxes were hundreds of dollars of accouterments for their daughters’ American Girl dolls—each of which was purchased for $120 at an emporium in L.A., complete with a special café where girls can lunch with their dolls, go to the salon for joint hairstyling, then head to the photo studio for a shoot with their doll.

I am not making this up.

For three years, my friends’ young daughters’ Christmas and birthday wish lists were devoted to styling out their dolls’ existence with clothes, accessories, sports gear, furniture, and toys. Yes, you heard that right: Toys! For a toy!

“But you don’t understand,” my friend explained. “These dolls have a backstory rooted in American history. They have books and educational games.”

These weren’t mere dolls, she argued; they were an opportunity for imaginative play with positive role models, preserving a sliver of childhood in a world trying to catapult 10-year-olds into adulthood.

"I made sure my kids never saw a toy aisle."

My friend had a few years on me as a mom, but I had it all figured out. I made sure my kids (then ages five and two) never saw a toy aisle. They got what they got and they liked it. That’s how it was going to be in my house, I thought proudly. Perhaps a bit smugly. Okay, fine: stupidly. I thought it stupidly.

Because before long, I was standingin the toy aisle, looking at the objects that would help develop my daughter’s interests and sense of the opportunities available to her.

And what did I find? There were toy vacuums— including a wee Dyson replica. There were all manner of play spa treatments, like a pedicure tub with tootsie-pampering utensils. There was a toy oven for baking cookies and cupcakes and a 7-Eleven-branded Slurpee maker. There were princess Barbies and princess dress-up costumes and princess freaking everything. And, of course, there were the Bratz dolls, which look like tiny streetwalkers. (I’ve renamed them Slutz.)

Unlike my feminist mom, who delegated my sisters’ and my rearing to my engineer dad, I didn’t banish Barbie or try to interest my girly-girl in an erector set (no offense, Dad—building that moving crane with you was totally great!).

But as I stared at the wall of vapidity that is the girls’ toy aisle, it started to look more attractive to shell out ungodly amounts of money for a school desk for Kit, the American Girl doll from the Great Depression, or a menorah for Rebecca, who lived in early-20th- century NYC with her Russian-Jewish immigrant family.

Summer 2013: Fate found me fairly burning under the hot stares of passersby as I walked through Rockefeller Plaza holding a massive red American Girl shopping bag and the hand of one very thrilled little girl.

For Hanukkah this year, Georgia will get a bed and softball gear for Claire—along with a bit of extra time as a little girl.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Where to Shop for Unique, Local Gifts This Weekend

Here are three markets and one website that celebrate San Diego craftsmanship

Is Your Name Sue? Then Enjoy Free Admission to theNAT next Week

Here’s your chance for a close-up with the world's largest T. rex

Bruce Glassman Talks to 91X about the San Diego Brewery Guide

Listen in as we talk to 91X’s Tommy and Producer Danielle about the 3rd edition of the San Diego Brewery Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. FIRST LOOK: False Idol
    San Diego is now home to a world-class tiki bar—False Idol
  2. Best of Baja 2016
    46 ways to relax, dine, drink, and play the Mexico way
  3. Stop Killing Restaurants, California
    Raising minimum wage without a tip credit is dumb, dumb, dumb.
  4. Vintage San Diego: How Our City Has Changed Since 1876
    Before bottleneck traffic and the modern housing crisis, San Diego was a swath of undeveloped land, horse-drawn carriages, and dairy farms
  5. FIRST LOOK: Campfire
    Carlsbad gets one hell of a new concept in Campfire from Craft & Commerce vet John Resnick
  6. Why Our Veterans Keep Quiet About Their Service
    From misconceptions about the military to reticent heroism, San Diego veterans share the many reasons they often keep mum about their service
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

“Will You Marry Me”?

Sharon Jenks, CEO of 6 Degrees, on building business relationships
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags