This is the doll who comes with her own everything. My daughter used to use Barbie's pink Cadillac to whack her brothers over the head. That doll had real light-up lamps, several desks with opening drawers, a bazillion shoes, record players, numerous pets, a four poster bed with canopy, her own princess line phone, Pepto pink dream house full of furniture, along with a full travel agency and matching pink luggage with real closures. And that's not even close to all she has. That's just all we have. I am selling, by the way. Give me an offer.
"'Cause this doll looks like Queen Amidala (or Belle or whichever other character was new on the movies)."
"Well why don't you just make her a dress that looks like Amidala?" I'd ask.
Then I'd get 'The Look'. The "Oh Mom, you're simply hopeless" look.
The most my kids ever did was undress Barbie and do hideous things to her matted hair. They weren't like me and my sister (who, by the way, didn't get a TV until the late seventies). We were constantly playing with dolls. We never had Barbies, though. We had Madam Alexander dolls and Little Kiddles and my mom's old Kewpie dolls (To this day my sister won't have that doll on her shelf because its smile creeps her right out.) and some antique Little Women dolls and a plethora of other odds and ends.
These kids now, who have grown up on the Internet and ready-made TV and now iPodamusses and iPadillacs and schnoodlygoops and Gooseberries and what all else, don't know how to play. Seriously. They can program the heck out of your cell phone but they can't spend an hour creatively playing dolls. The closest they get is undressing them.
And the boys aren't much different. They have enough Leggos to choke a horse, but they can't build anything that isn't on the box (and that only if they've still got the directions). We bought them scads of Bionicles and the bits just sit in huge boxes or all over the floor, waiting for the unsuspecting walker to fall into their traps. Caltrop anyone? You should have heard them when I asked if their bionicle guy ever went to the bathroom or sat down for a late night snack. They looked at me like I'd just lost the only remaining brain cell I'd ever developed.
It's a crying shame, I tell you. Media is telling them how to be. They learn that to solve a problem, first you freak out, then you consult Google. Then your therapist. Then, if it still hasn't solved itself, you give up.
How did we let this happen? Was it because we were so busy with all the new media that we forgot to make them play? Heck, I remember when they first wheeled in that chuggy new video machine to Bio. "You don't need me to run the projector?" I asked.
"No, but you can figure out how to make this new contraption run."
After that it was all movies all the time. We're stuffed with movies which cram their own ideas of what should happen and how things should look and feel and sound right down our throats. Often we ask them to!
Now kids spend the better part of their day Facebooking friends and Tweeting and texting and a bazillion other things we never even dreamed of, even in our wildest doll games.
But they still can't figure out how to give Barbie more than one dress at a time.