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 Mother’s Day Guide 2017

From buffet brunches to DIY flower workshops, check out San Diego’s best Mother’s Day specials

Learn How to Weave at This Unique Normal Heights Workshop

San Diego artist Sarah Eli is hosting the event at Sycamore Den on Wednesday

Make Your Own Chocolate Bar at This South Park Sweets Shop

Choose from more than 30 ingredients to craft your own milk or dark chocolate bars
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    From poke to taco shops, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 88 categories
  2. The Best of North County 2017
    We scouted the greatest, buzzworthiest things to do, see, sip, and taste north of the 56
  3. A Beer-Lover’s Special (and Very Limited) Beer Alternative
    Cidre Brut, a Génépi-infused cider created by the US Grant Hotel, is a one-of-a-kind taste experience
  4. San Diego's Best Neighborhoods 2017
    Hot neighborhoods, easy commutes, new parks, and more for 2017
  5. 89 Things to Do With Your Kids in San Diego
    Camps, classes, and activities for San Diego’s youngest—and perhaps busiest—residents
  6. 10 Scenic Hikes Within an Hour of San Diego
    You’ve mastered all the trails in your area—now plan a Saturday to get outside for a hike and enjoy the views just a bit farther afield
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

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags