Monday, March 21, 2011
American Girl Dolls
American Girl Dolls are a right of passage for most little girls these days. Some families have whole rooms full of dolls, their dresses, and their gear. It is quite an overwhelming enterprise with the ability to buy your doll everything, and I do mean everything, from a wheel chair to a braces kit, to her very own horse with his very own saddle! At Mama Henley's house, American Girl dolls are IT. Our dolls have been the center of birthday parties, they have been to camp, and they've flown as much as our real live children have flown! They have had their nails "painted", had their hair professionally put in an up do, and have sat through the entire service at church. These girls live the life!
We have four girls. After our triplets turned 6, they were able to have their very first American girl doll. DH and I made a conscious decision that our girls would only be allowed to have one doll and that they could only have that doll if they were 6 years of age or older, in hopes that they would be able to take care of their doll. We think the dolls are wonderful, but we decided we wanted their one doll to be very special and we are amazed at how well it has worked. The girls chose their favorite doll and that year the two big girls received Emily Bennett and Rachael ( a just like me doll that D named after her soon-to-be-aunt) for their main Christmas gift. These dolls have delighted these girls ever since! The triplets will soon be 10 (I can't believe it!), and they love their dolls as much today as they did three years ago! Some of you may think it is silly for a 10 year old to play with dolls, but I love that our girls still enjoy their American girl dolls and take great care to dress them and play with them whenever possible. At 9 1/2, they each had one thing they really wanted for their doll for Christmas.
I believe that letting your daughter have one doll allows her to not be overwhelmed by having too many dolls to love. Having an abundance of the dolls seems to often (not always) make them less special. Our girls really treasure their dolls. Of course having a sister just 2 years younger created a problem. The Bug really wanted to be like her big sisters. She was 4 when they received their doll. We did not feel she was old enough to really care for the doll. Therefore, we bought her the mock American girl doll from Target. She loved dressing her and playing with her. However, the hair was cheap and became one big knot. She passed for 2 years, but she was not the real thing. A year and a half ago the Bug turned 6. We surprised her with a trip to the Atlanta store where she chose Kit as her birthday gift from her Mimi. Kit has been a delightful addition to our home and the Bug had a Kit themed party for her 7th birthday last summer. DH and I love to see our girls interact with each other and their dolls. As a matter of fact, Kit has Ray Ray and Emily Bennett spending the night in her room tonight!
The dolls are great fun. Yes, the store is considered cheesy and over-the-top by some. The NYC store is 3 stories and can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, it is great for girls to use their gift of nurture to love and care for a doll. We have kept this fascination in tow by not buying them everything they want when the catalog comes to our home. Of course they WANT everything, but we make them choose ONE thing. For Christmas, they each received just ONE American girl accessory or outfit. They pored over the catalog and truly chose carefully. They take care of what they have been given.
Now you know Hurricane lives here too and she was DYING for an "mercanguhldoll". She turned 4 this Christmas, which is not 6. So, she, too, received a mock American girl doll. Hers is a step up from the Target brand as it is a Madame Alexander copy which we found at Costco. She LOVES her doll and jumps right in to playing with her sisters. In two years, we'll have to make a trek to the store to let her choose her forever doll. Since she is my last little girl, we just may have to take all 4 girls to New York to the big store!