Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Another Barbie doll

I went for my first post-race run this morning, just four easy miles. After the last mile my legs were pretty sore and I was ready to stop, but as expected, my legs feel better after the run than they did before it. Yay lactic acid removal!

Hectic week: after the craziness of the weekend, my interview loop is Thursday, followed immediately by me whisking off to Boston for the weekend. Mmmm, Boston in December.

So I'm just about finished with my Christmas shopping. Surprisingly, Noelle (my seven-year-old sister) has become one of the hardest people on my list to shop for. What do you get the little girl who has everything and who only wants Barbies? Maybe it's weirdly feminist or post-feminist or something-ist of me, but I just can't bring myself to do the Barbie thing. I think it's a destructive little toy. The real problem, though, is that she already has tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff. The challenge is giving a gift that won't just get consumed by the ever-growing mass of crap on her porch/playroom. Something that will matter, that is less commodifiable and inherently disposable. And yet: when I was a kid, some of my favorite toys were things that all force of logic would have suggested were indistinguishable from my own mass of stuff but for one reason or another resonated with me.

I usually end up settling on something shlocky that she's asking for and something less shlocky that she's not but that I feel she's probably going to like. I feel gratified by the fact that she usually likes the non-shlock better in the long run, although the shlock is invariably more popular in the week following Christmas or birthday. Either way I can't bring myself to include Barbies. Or make-up, or high heels, or another princess outfit, all of which are routinely on her list. This is a seven-year-old more comfortable walking in heels than I am, which says a little something about both of us and a whole lot about her mom's encouragement. Why does this irk me so much? Is it because seven-year-olds aren't supposed to be wearing heels (bad for the back)? Because seven-year-olds shouldn't even be thinking about make-up and how skinny their waists are (bad for a whole variety of reasons)? Yes, but it's also because it's just not me, not when I was seven or now, and I fear that that's a less good reason not to break down and give her another Barbie doll. Her other interests I'm happy to support and indulge: she likes cooking, art, dancing, music. Whether or not they're my interests too.

The other day when I was on the phone with her she told me that she didn't want to have a career when she grew up, because moms are supposed to just be moms and cook and clean and stay at home. She's seven. It's 2004. I wasn't sure what to say.

So I just can't give her a Barbie doll. In a way I feel like it would be irresponsible, which is very high horsey and pulpity and even a bit arrogant of me. But I can't do it.


Blogger TV Detective said...

You're right about the Barbie doll. Even though there were no real live people in my family who looked like Barbie, I certainly thought I would. That messed me up a bit.

Does she have Scrabble or Boggle yet? How about a big ol' puzzle? Basically, I'm asking you if she is like we were at 7, I guess.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used to have GI Joe beat up Ken and steal Barbie away on a zip line.....ahh, those were the days

10:00 AM  

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