Tea Parties are for Grandmothers

American Girl Dolls

American Girl Dolls (Photo credit: Jim, the Photographer)

I’ll admit it. I’m sexist when it comes to toys.

I don’t like toys that are made for girls. I’m such a tomboy myself that I would rather play with fire trucks than have a tea party. I would also rather make mud pies than twirl a baton.  And don’t get me going on Barbie’s attributes.

And this was all fine for a while, but now my daughter is 7. She has new influences in her life including school, friends and commercials. And since she can read now, the river of information flowing into her brain has multiplied. Just standing in line at the grocery store in front of the Hollywood gossip magazine is an education in itself.

It isn’t that I don’t want her to experience the ‘girly’ things in life. It is just that I don’t really enjoy them, myself. On a recent visit to her grandmother’s house, the two of them dressed up with beads, scarves and lipstick and enjoyed a mid-afternoon high tea. They drank from heirloom china, ate cute desserts and toasted each other.

When they emailed a photo of their afternoon pastime, my first thought was, “Better her grandmother than me!” and then I came to my senses and decided, “I’m glad she gets to do that with someone who is also sincerely enjoying the moment.”

Over the weekend, she decided she wants to save her money to buy an American Girl Doll. She perused the website and frequently asked me to explain the various packages to her. “Does this doll come with the pajamas and purse, or is it just the doll and the book?” she would ask.

Her biggest problem is that she only has $12.62 right now and she needs at least $110 for the doll and book package. I suppose I’ll chip in and pay for the shipping.

And here is where my personal preferences conflict with hers. I’ll spend a $100 on a bike that gets ridden every day, but not on a doll that sits on her bed and occasionally gets her hair brushed.

So, now that she has a savings goal, she wants to earn money. All weekend I had to put the kibosh on her ‘get doll’ schemes in order to protect our neighborly relationships. First she wanted to sell rocks from our backyard for a $1 each. We have some of the most wonderful neighbors in the universe, and I don’t want to abuse their niceness for this American Girl Doll obsession. Other ideas included a used toy sale and a car wash. I’ll give her credit for scheming, something she’s definitely good at.

And from some evil-friend she learned the word ‘allowance’ and has started asking us about that possibility. She is already so responsible and a good helper with her little brothers, so I’m not opposed to the idea, but this is truly one of those parenting moments when I wish I had a crystal ball. How much? Which chores? How much whining? Will I have to drink tea with this doll?

Those are all questions I would ask.

If you had a parenting crystal ball, what would you ask?


3 thoughts on “Tea Parties are for Grandmothers

  1. Allowances are a whole other blog post, aren’t they? Different families do so many different things, and they all seem to work! My girl got an American Girl bitty baby doll from my grandmother when she was two. I like the Bitty Babies because they have less prepackaged story. . .more imagination. Ours is named “Chuch” (don’t know where that came from) and has been well loved. Again, though, she was a gift. I might not have gone there, myself.


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