I was a tomboy, but my best friend had lots of Barbies, so I grew up playing with Barbies, too. I got into it kind of late in childhood. I think I was 10 or 11 when I played with Barbies. I had a few, maybe 5 or 6. I wasn't into the clothes, so I don't think I had any fashion accessories. I vaguely remember a Barbie McDonalds that I had a lot of fun with. And Wonder Woman, she was cool! (What I mostly played on my own was swim team! I'd design dryland and water workouts, keep track of all my swimmer's best times, and create different winning relay combinations.)
My oldest daughter received her first Barbie when she was 3. Since then we've accumulated quite a collection of the dolls and vehicles and pets and furniture and clothes and shoes and purses and dishes and food, etc. Keeping track of all these Barbies and accessories is tiresome and the girls bicker often about which shoes belong to whom. This is annoying. It doesn't seem fair to make the older daughter (8) share her Barbie stuff with her younger sister (6) who is our destructive child. But more disconcerting than this, I don't like the way I hear my girls playing.
It started shortly after I allowed them to watch the movie High School Musical. It looked perfectly innocent to me. It was rated G. Some of the songs were cute and catchy. I had no idea there would be a sequel and a threequel and in general become "all the rage." What I wasn't prepared for was all the boyfriend talk that would come out of it. So, my husband and I made a rule that when they played Barbies, they could not play "boyfriend". We told them that Ken, or Troy, or whoever those boys are could be friends, brothers, or they could stage a wedding, but there would be no boyfriends. (If this seems strange to you it's because we do not intend to allow our children to date.)
They have done a good job of respecting this rule, but I find that I still don't like the way they play. It's very shallow. It's not real life, at least not our real life. It's all parties and fashion and coordinating shoes and purses with trendy mini skirts. There are no grandparents or families with kids of all ages. I just recently realized that Barbie is a slice out of 20-something singles life. This is a part of my life that I'm glad to be out of and grateful the Lord brought me through unscathed.
Also, since our girls have brothers, we did not want them leaving any undressed Barbies around, ever. This seemed like a do-able rule when we made it, but I've since realized that it's anything but realistic. We have a 3 year old. Enough said.
So, I've been thinking for awhile now that we need to get rid of the Barbies.
I have good girls and I didn't want this to be a punishment for them. I've been dropping hints for a few weeks, but dragging my feet on dropping the bomb. Then I had a great idea. Why not replace Barbies with something similar that will avoid the issues we've had. I've told you guys before that I'm a slow learner. I'm sure I'm the last mother on the face of the earth to figure this out. I decided we'd ditch the Barbies and replace them with miniature dolls. My girls could each get a dollhouse for Christmas and they could slowly build their doll and furniture collection from there.
I love that miniature dolls represent a more true slice of life. You can find whole familes with kids of different ages. There are grandparents. Their clothes stay on! I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner. The girls are so excited and they even found a dollhouse church complete with pews online. The Measle says she really wants the church, because she wants her dolls to be Christians and worship the Lord. Isn't that the sweetest? (Now I can't see Barbie's heart, but judging from her priorities, it's not looking too good for her, is it?)
I can't tell you how happy I am to be saying bye-bye to Barbie once and for all! And I'm ready to welcome play in our house that imitates our version of real life.