Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Dilemma

Decisions between principle and practicality are tough.

Beezus wants a Barbie for Christmas. She REALLY wants a Barbie for Christmas.

I do not want her to have a Barbie. Mr. Q falls somewhere in the middle – I think he thinks we should get her one since she really, really wants it.

I’ve told her that Santa Claus really thinks that girls need to be 6 to have a Barbie. In response, she named a couple other girls who are 5 who have Barbies. I told her that Santa, like God, knows what is in your head and in your heart, and Santa knows that in our family, children don’t get Barbies until they are 6. She responded, “You just never know with Santa Claus, Mommy. You never know.”

I have myriad reasons for not wanting her to have a Barbie.
1. She is only 5. If she receives a Barbie now, then it will be even sooner when she wants the next best thing.

2. If she gets Barbie now, I worry that she will stop playing with her baby dolls. I already have a good chunk of money invested in those baby dolls. We have all the things to enable her pretend play with the baby dolls (crib, high chair, clothes, etc.) I worry that one Barbie will just lead to more Barbies.

3. Barbie has a lot of little pieces. These little pieces will get lost and then it will become my problem when there is a meltdown occurring over a lost shoe.

4. What exactly does Barbie DO ? The girls can play with their dolls for long periods of time. I’m not sure that Beezus’ imagination is mature enough to play with Barbie and change her clothes – which is what I’m pretty sure she will want to do.

5. More importantly, if Beezus plays with Barbie, then Ramona will want Barbie and Ramona is only 3. I don’t want my 3 year old playing with Barbie for all the reasons above and then some.

6. MOST importantly, Barbie has a weird, abnormal shaped body. I just don’t want my little girls exposed to that.

What am I to do ? When Beezus was at my parent’s house, she loved playing with my sister’s childhood Barbies and Jem dolls.

Ramona’s “big” Christmas gift is her first Bitty Baby doll and they are each getting some accessories for their Bitty Baby dolls.

They are getting a few other small things and as a “together” gift they will receive several pieces of the Disney Princess “Favorite Moments” collection (size and concept of Polly Pockets) that I picked up at the co-op sale, including a small castle.

As a replacement for Beezus’ desired Barbie, I could get her a princess doll that kind of looks like a Barbie and the movie to go along with it. She’s never seen a movie, so perhaps the Tiana doll and The Prince and the Frog might be a big enough deal to curb any disappointment over not having a Barbie.

So, I need your advice. Yes, I know that Beezus will turn out fine if we give her a Barbie or if we don’t. Your children may have Barbie and they are likely doing just fine. But with my reasons above and our desire to try and live a relatively simple life, what are your thoughts on the matter ?


Elaine said...

This is such a toughie. Let's chat on Friday. I will say that I had loads of Barbies, loved them, am the younger sister so no doubt got my hands on them pretty early in life, but dread the idea of my child asking for one.

JeCaThRe said...

The Barbie question is a thorny one.

Does the Princess Tiana doll have any dazzling qualities beyond being "not Barbie"? Isn't she essentially an unrealistically shaped piece of plastic with lost parts? (Not that the parts are lost yet, but they're probably so easily lost that you should just count them as lost as soon as the box opens.) I think trading a piece of plastic she doesn't want for one that she does want won't make difference in your desire to live simply.

Does she have anything else on the list? Can you get her things that are on her list and explain to her that Barbies are special toys to play with at Grandma's house? (Not that I use this logic on my kids, but I frequently refrain from getting my kids toys I know they like because I want to make sure that they have something special at the places where those toys are. There's a play kitchen at the pediatrician's office, and my four-year-old always has a great time playing with it.)

Have you started talking to her about your desire to live simply?

AwwwTrouble said...

I decided to just not care about Barbie. It's just another toy, and if I don't invest that much into it, she won't either, you know?

We have a couple of barbies (all gifts) and a couple of the Disney dolls (also all gifts). The one thing I will say is the Disney pricesses are, essentially, Barbies. They wear the same clothes, though the princess dolls are ever so slightly bigger - just a hair. So I think she'd be perfectly happy with a princess doll. Elizabeth plays with hers interchangably, as does Andrew. In terms of playing, they play with them in essentially the same way as other dolls, too, though it is more focused on changing their clothes. If I was more organized, I would have confiscated the shoes upon opening though. Those things are nothing but trouble. But again, E isn't so attached, she really doesn't mind that the shoes are (mostly) lost.

(Not) Maud said...

I don't have any answers, but I sympathize. I'm opposed to Barbie on principle, but some of that principle is about unrealistic body image, and some of it is just sour grapes: I never had a Barbie - I had two Sindys and a cheapo fake Barbie-type doll.

I think Sindy has a marginally more realistic body, perhaps, and maybe you could steer her in that direction, but on the other hand it's just another plastic doll. All they want is to dress them and undress them, just like with any other doll. I suspect I'll take the easy, unprincipled route when Mabel wants one, because she's the second child; on the other hand I hope that won't be any time very soon, as her older sibling is a boy.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm from the "you'll get nothing and like it" school of parenting, I think you know where I come down.

But I LOVE her argument: You just never know with Santa. You just never know, indeed.

Good luck with this. Let us know how it plays out.

-- H.

Therese said...

The magic of Santa is that he gives you gifts your parents never would get you or afford to get you. It's pure magic I tell you.

Marya said...

Wow, this is a tough one. We are having a similar debate over the Leapster in our house. I have to say that I would recommend you follow your heart. Seriously, listen to your voice and you will know what to do. The voice may say that it is not best for her to have a Barbie and it may say that everyone will be just fine if she does. Whatever it says, listen.

Blogging tips