confession: her american girl doll



Okay.  So I’ll be the first to admit that I have never jumped on the American Girl Doll bandwagon.  I guess I never saw what the big deal was.  In fact I didn’t even know what they were until I was well into my twenties and there was some big hoopla about this American Girl Doll Store being opened at the Mall of America.  A whole store that sold dolls and clothes and had it’s own salon for the dolls?  I thought it was excessive.  Spending that much money on a doll?  Especially when you have a girl that isn’t really into dolls?  I refused to get her one just because every other 7-year-old had one.  She wasn’t even asking for one yet.  And I was confident that if she did get one it would sit in her room and never be played with.  I thought the money would be better spent on something else.  I’ll admit it.  I was anti-American Girl Doll.

Before all of you American Girl Doll lovers (and I know there are some of you out there) totally disown me and are like, “Stacey, how could you?”, I will let you know that even though I may not be on the bandwagon I am no longer completely anti-American Girl Doll.  My mom insisted on getting her one for Christmas last year.  And to see my non-doll loving daughter’s eyes light up when opening the box, well, my heart softened. The doll isn’t attached to her hip, but she sure is cute on the occasions that she does bring it out to play with.  I may not be a complete convert, but I’ve learned to love the doll and seeing Evie be all mama-like with it.  (So please don’t hate me all you American Girl Doll lovers, m’kay?)



On a *deeper confession excuse my random thoughts* side note:

I think for me it’s working through all the thoughts that come into my head about our current world and excess and having the latest and the best and keeping up with the Jones’.  I don’t want to start getting my kids stuff just to compete with the kids down the street.  And how can we can spend $100 on a doll when there are starving children in this world?  Even though I know it’s a good quality doll.  Those were my original thoughts.  Then again, someone might think me spending $300 on a Northface winter jacket is excessive and unnecessary. Even though I’ll wear that coat for 5 or 6 months out of the year for 3 or 4 years.  Heck, I throw money around all the time buying things I don’t really need.  I guess it’s about balance.  It’s about doing something about the starving children in the world and not sitting in the guilt of a doll…or an iPad…or the latest gaming system….or the name brand boots…or the next “must have” on the list.  And it’s about teaching my kids about all of it when I’m still trying to figure it out myself…like why do they really want something, and is it a good investment.  (And gosh darn it, I picked up this book again and I’m getting all deep thoughty because of it.)

In the meantime I’ll enjoy watching my daughter play with Ariana (or is it Arabella? she changes her name weekly).  I’m grateful to my mom for being so generous in getting it for her because it brings her joy and I know it will be something that will withstand the test of time.  It was a good purchase, I know that now.  And who doesn’t love a doll in little purple roller blades and a matching helmet?  Oh and elbow pads.  Safety first, you know.

Danica - I totally had Molly :)
(That was back in the day that there were only three dolls and a catalogue.)

michelle - Oh my gosh. I have such a story to tell. I can’t possibly tell it in the comments but next time we are together I’ll expand on it. Suffice it to say that we didn’t buy our kids the “it toys” or buy stuff because other kids/parents did. We also didn’t buy excessive/expensive toys for our kids when they were young. My MIL couldn’t seem to respect us in this and bought Natalie an AG doll for Christmas or a Birthday. I sold it at a garage sale for $10. Years later, MIL asked Natalie about her doll and Natalie ratted me out that I sold it (Natalie had ZERO interest in this doll). MIL bought ANOTHER one for her. And then my sister who is a AG doll addict for her own girls started buying clothes for Natalie’s AG doll for every birthday and christmas (and as Nat would open the gift my sister would say “Natalie, when you are done with that you can give it to MY girls.” (I kid you not). We now have box with a doll and a hoard of clothes we plan on selling on EBAY. Spite is not an attractive quality but I confess I have it.

Jean - If my world was about keeping up with the Jones’… I am way, way, way, way behind. I think it really is about just teaching your kids and kids in general. I remember when all we did have was toys/dolls, our imagination, versus all these new techie gadgets.

I read American Girls in grade school. I was never really into dolls or stuffed animals. But Northface has such good quality gear! You really do get your money’s worth.. and you could even give it to someone who needs it afterwards when you no longer want it. right?

Ana - Stacey, although we now have TWO American girl Bittie Babies, I haven’t yet succumbed to the DOLL. But I’m sure that in time, it will come. And like you, watching my little babies taking care of their little babies… well, it just melts your heart!
(and in case she gets into an accident on those snazzy rollerblades of hers, she can go to the “hospital”!!)

By the way… Ariana is a very pretty name if I do say so myself ;)

Carla - I remember trekking to the American Girl store in Chicago years ago when my sister was little to buy an outfit and a dresser or bed — I could have bought a real dresser or bed for that money. She loved her doll and played with her often. I can’t really get on the bandwagon because I don’t know if I could shell out the money for one. Doesn’t mean that I’m opposed. Since I have 2 boys, the chances that I’ll have to worry about someone wanting me to buy them one is slim to none.
That book has been on my must read list for quite awhile now. I feel like I’m drowning in “stuff.” I have been purging but it just doesn’t seem like enough. Maybe if I stop the weekly (if not more) trips to Target. It’s hard when you’re addicted. :)

tracey - Bean loves her AG dolls.
Here’s my opinion: Yes, they are expensive. Yes you can get cheaper knock offs at Target. Yes the company makes a killing on from the marketing they do. Yes there are starving children in the world and the money I don’t spend on a doll could go to supporting them (so could the money I don’t spend on my Netflix account or iphone.) However, they are pure, and wholesome…and they are well made. They are not big busted Barbies with skimpy outfits that go out on dates with Ken. If I collected all of the cheap Barbies in Bean’s bins and all of the cheap outfits and pairs of shoes it would easily add up to the amount of two AG dolls. At least. So it’s really about where you put your money, and the how you invest it.
I love that the AG dolls promote individuality and health and positive self esteem. And they do that by not contradicting it with their big boobs and unattainable body shapes….and hair.
I love that the AG dolls also promote awareness of history and cultural pride. Barbie can’t even touch that with their one African American doll…who has the same body build as the anglo Barbie. (That has always bugged me.)
I just finished reading AG’s “Care and Keeping of You” with Bean. Was such a great book to work through with her. It was a safe read in that it handled the issue of puberty with grace and respect…and it encouraged Bean to take pride in her unique body.
So yes, AG makes a financial killing and many families cannot afford them. But at least they are dolls worth wanting…at least for the girls that want dolls.
And lastly, when Bean is done with her dolls, we will pack them up and save them for her daughter, or grandchild. Because they are well made, they will survive years of play.

And that’s my two cents. :)

Jackie O - It amazes me how many older girls walk around the MOA with their American Girl dolls at their hips. Yesterday, I saw a cute little girl with braces…and her AG doll had full on head gear…it was adorable! Have you read the AG books? I still have all of them from when I was probably Evie’s age :]

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