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November 2011

The Stories of Children

I wonder what percentage of writers filled their early years with personifying dolls, stuffed animals, and inanimate objects? I wonder how long these children kept it up ... is age ten too long? Recently, I had the strangest experience with my daughter and marveled at the story she had rolling around in her head. 

My daughter is an American Girl Dolls addict. And, much to my disappointment, I fell into the addiction with her. Between birthdays, Christmas, and her own efforts to save up, she has five dolls. Miraculously, she gives them equal time; they are on a rotating schedule for sleeping in her bed.

One day, we were in A.C. Moore (craft store) and went to check out the 18" doll clothes. (It's a great place to get far cheaper clothes that fit "the girls.") The store also carries 18" dolls for a fraction of the cost of an AG doll. Most of these dolls are dressed in simple outfits. However, there was one (probably leftover stock from before they sold them dressed) who was (gasp!) naked in her packaging. My daughter saw this one doll (mind you, plenty are sold this way in other craft stores) and was shocked that she had nothing to wear. 

"Please can we get her, Mom?" 

"Are you kidding? You have five American Girl dolls, which is a ridiculous amount to have in the first place and now you want a no-name doll on top of them? No."

Lining up to pay for the school project supplies we needed, I looked down and saw she was crying. I was ticked. I leaned down and growled, "You are almost 10 years old, you have more stuff than some children ever dream of and you're going to cry over me saying 'no' to another doll? How can you be so spoiled?"

Five minutes later, driving home, she gets hysterical. Loud sobs from the backseat are causing white knuckles on my steering wheel.

"Give me one good reason that I should buy yet another doll for you?" I demanded.

She replied, but was crying so hard that I couldn't understand one word. I couldn't believe her behaviour, then realized this was not a "not getting my way" fit; she was generally distraught. So I pulled over, turned around, and demanded, "Again, speak slowly and clearly."

"I have to take her home because she has no clothes on, so nobody will ever buy her, and she will be stuck in that bag on a shelf forever or they will just throw her out after a while. We have to save her."


"You do know she's not um ... real?" I asked, a bit worried.

Mandy let out, "Yes. But still...."

On the way back to the store, I muttered, "I hope you'll tell your children how amazing their grandmother is one day."

Fifteen dollar "Marigold" has fit in perfectly with her over-priced sisters. She is in the rotation, they have adopted her as one of them, and I told my daughter (who loves to write) that she has to write Marigold's story one day.

Westwood-20111122-00074 (1)
"The Girls" (left to right): Kanani, Josephina, Alex(andra), Ivy, Agnes (Aggie). In the front, is Marigold...the one with the cast on her leg ... don't get me started.

Did I mention that her absolute favorite doll since the age of two is a $3.50 little bald plastic thing with a puss on his face that suggests you couldn't please him no matter what you did for him? Due to Mandy's stories regarding "Sweetie," he has become an icon throughout immediate and extended family.

"Sweetie": Believe it or not, he gets outfits from Mandy's grandmother on Christmas and has had sweaters knit for him. And does he look the least bit appreciative?

I hope Mandy's imagination will translate into writing that makes her happy one day either professionally or just as a hobby. Who knows, maybe my $15 purchase will yield big returns one day! I don't know, something like ... "Marigold and the Mean, But Not So Mean Mommy After All"