Though my mother hoped I would obsess over dolls as a child, I wasn’t all that into them. That’s far from the case with my own children. From the first time my girls could pick up a doll, they were hooked. True love at first sight.
As a mother, I’ve enjoyed watching their love for dolls evolve. At first, there was the baby cuddle doll and then there was the Gloworm—gee, that was such a hit with my older daughter. She refused to sleep without it.
The Gloworm love gradually faded, replaced by the discovery of a Dressy-type doll, which was later tossed for a baby doll that needed diaper changes because she could wet her diaper. I admit that once I started spending more money on doll (newborn) diapers than I did on those for my own living and breathing children, I did try to encourage Cabbage Patch Doll adoption, but that only backfired.
Now while my younger child is at the Gloworm stage, my older child is quickly falling for Barbies, American Girls, and Friends Forever Girls. While I try to let my girls steer their love for dolls and interests, I admit that I’ve said “no” to the purchase of a few types (brands) of dolls along the way. Frankly, I just don’t want my girls to grow up any sooner than necessary.
Thankfully, American Girl Dolls and Friends Forever Girls seem to have staying power, at least for now, though my daughter appears to increasingly favor her Friends Forever Doll. I guess that’s because the doll looks like a friend she could find in real life, minus the eye liner. It’s dressed in trendy clothing, similar to outfits my daughter likes to wear, but the clothing is age-appropriate (no micro-minis here…a huge thanks to a company that got it right…oh by the way, the doll packaging is eye candy for moms–no zipties!).
I appreciate how these two doll companies try to promote positive self-esteem, responsibility and self-confidence. For example, Friends Forever Girls come with an inspiring book (My child’s doll, Natalie, arived with a book that tackles how to deal with feelings) and a special “Butterfly Promise” card. If you’re curious, each letter in the word Butterfly stands for a powerful girl message (e.g., B, “be the best I can be”; U, “Use kindness and be fair”, T, “Tell the truth”…).
In today’s society, girls definitely need all the positive messages they can get. When they find a doll they love, those messages really seem to soak in. Given what I know about my children’s love of dolls and the speed in which their interests wane, I hope they continue to obsess over dolls that love them back for a long time to come.