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

San Diego New Year’s Eve Guide

Ring in 2015 at these parties, concerts, dining, and family-friendly events

Behind the Scenes Video: Making the December issue

This month we take you inside the San Diego Magazine offices where our editors debate cover options

On Raising the Next Generation of Activists

Invisible Children’s Danica Russell pens a kids’ book on activism
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Baja Moment
    In eight short years, Baja’s gone from a virtual dead zone to one of the globe’s top food and drink destinations. Now what?
  2. 10 Best New Restaurants in San Diego
    Our food critic picks the top 10 new restaurants of 2014. Time to add these hotspots to your must-try list.
  3. San Diego Thanksgiving Guide 2014
    Where to dine out, order catering, buy pies, and turkey-trot your way through the holiday
  4. Wake Up And Smell the Coffee
    As American coffee culture moves past the nonfat vanilla lattes toward a more elevated brew, San Diego is right on trend
  5. FIRST LOOK: Stella Public House & Halcyon
    Stella Public House and Halcyon open in East Village near Downtown San Diego. Part coffeehouse, part Neapolitan pizza joint, park cocktails and craft beer, part tableside s'mores.
  6. Top Docs 2014: The Doctors
    Our annual list celebrating the best of the best in the healthcare field
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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags