DD’s next obsession: The American Girl doll
When I was about 10 years old, I discovered horses. “One hundred per cent pony mad”, I spent every waking hour begging my mum to let me go for riding lessons (I understood, even at that age, that the chances of getting my own horse were non-existent, though I did once suggest that having a pony eat the lawn would mean no cutting the grass). There were a million reasons why I couldn’t have regular riding lessons: We were busy, we had plans; she couldn’t get me to the stables; it cost too much.
Didn’t stop me nagging, though. I even used to write my mum letters , when she stopped listening to me (mum, seriously? You stopped listening to me?? Muah-ha-ha!).
And now, my mum will be pleased to hear, the nagging has gone full circle. Now my own DD is bugging me, 24/7: really, full-on, one hundred per cent nagging. Not for riding lessons – good heavens, I nag her to start riding given we live across the road from a polo club! – but for a doll.
DD is eight. And she – who’s never shown any interest in any doll; she, who let me sling all her Barbies into the charity bin – wants a doll.
It’s not just any doll, it’s an “American Girl” doll. This is perhaps the biggest “cult” toy I’ve yet come across. And, at US$110 – plus shipping to Dubai from the USA – the “AG” is not to be purchased on a whim. But, oh my, the things you can do with this doll. I can see why DD is mesmerised.
Children can create their own 18-inch “American Girl” to look just like them, right down to glasses ($36 a pair), braces and earrings. They can buy matching outfits (US$30 for the doll; US$50-70 for the child); the doll’s hair can be washed and styled (first-time-buyers are advised to get one with “easy to style” straight hair before adopting a curly-haired doll); you can buy furniture for the doll (lounge chair at $48; walls for a bedroom at $300); pets ($34 for a dog); and accessories that include a sailing boat for $175 (“Papa built this beautiful wooden skiff at the family’s shipyard—Caroline loves to go sailing with him on Lake Ontario.” Ugh, I think I just vomited a little in my mouth).
I’m resisting, of course. And DD is nagging – very much in the continuous way that I used to nag my mum for riding lessons. When she’s not begging for the doll, she’s reading other parents’ reviews of the doll from the website out loud to me (“This mum gave it 5/5 for ‘play value’! She says it’s the best toy she’s ever bought! Pleeease?”).
After a month of this, I finally said today that she can have an American Girl when she’s mastered her entire times tables….
The words “slippery” and “slope” come to mind. But I did give a codicil: If the darling doll ever gets “sick” no way am I sending it to the goddamned “doll hospital” in the States!