Beth on Barbie
My sister Karan is an avid collector of Barbies. She has a lot of them, all in good condition. Some of them even collector's items. They're all neatly kept and arranged in a variety of poses and outfits in little tableaus (some of them including miniature Harleys an old boyfriend made, but that's a story for another time).
So, needless to say, as soon as Zoe was old enough to hold on to a doll, Aunt Karan became the official provider of All Things Barbie. This is quite troubling to my stepmother, a dyed in the wool feminist. How could I let her have Barbie? She's such a bad image for women, an unattainable figure, the usual. To her I said, pick your battles, as Zoe loves Barbie.
Aunt Karan has given Zoe at least 10 Barbies by now. And one lone Ken. Upon receivng the most recent addition, NASCAR Barbie, Zoe told Aunt Karan, "My mommy and daddy will be so pleased." All the Barbie's are in various states of undress, the natural condition of Barbie in the hands of a three year old. The tide is turning somewhat these days as now she wants some of the Barbies to be dressed.
Another thing about Barbie in this house... In addition to the three year old, we also have a one year old Akita (Suki). Suki has only recently stopped chewing everything in sight, so many of the Barbie's, and Ken, are in various states of dismemberment. Also, there was a time when the most fun Zoe could have was pulling the heads off her Barbies. (Should we be seeking counseling for our little angel?) So our Barbie's are a little worse for the wear.
Our Barbies have many special powers. She's brave and smart. Zoe's Barbie pillowcase will keep her safe and protected at night. Usually at least one Barbie (or Ken) travel with us on any outing. They are all regularly bathed and their hair is brushed and put in ponytails.
So what's a mother to do when she finds out that Barbie, the real one, will be making personal appearances at a Nordstrom's near you. You guessed it: Bribe her three year old and tell her that if she's VERY good we'll go see Barbie. The real one. The big one. On Saturday.
Here comes Saturday. Of course Barbie will be at the Nordstrom's across town from 12 to 3. This sucks for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that this is right smack when Zoe takes her nap. Quiet time I desperately need. But off we go. We get to Nordies to find out that Barbie will not be there on Saturday, like they said on the phone, but Sunday, from 12 to 3. We buy the Barbie sandals she's been dying for anyway and home again we go. The good side of this is that I can get one more day of bribery out of this unforeseen delay.
Now, Barbie being there on Sunday sucks even more than Saturday, as Sunday is when Chuck takes Zoe to Gymboree and I get 1½ hours of peace and quiet, by myself, at home, alone. I wait 6½ days a week for this time. But I would never disappoint our little angel so off again we trod to the Westside to see the Queen of All Things Great and Wonderful. The real one, the big one, Barbie.
There she was, a lovely 17 year old girl (not an Amazon woman like I had imagined) with a cotton candy pink gown, teased platinum hair and a tiara, signing autographs. It was worth it to see Zoe stand there, completely enraptured by this young woman. Zoe told Barbie how to spell her name and came away with an autographed 8 ½ x 11 picture, suitable for framing. Barbie told Zoe she was pretty and had a beautiful name. If a toddler could melt, Zoe would have.
We trundled off to buy another pair of shoes for Zoe and on the way out we saw HER again. Zoe stopped, looked gaga into Barbie's eyes and said, "I love you Barbie."
It was all she talked about all the way home. It was worth the schlep.
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