My daughter turned 5 this weekend, and with it came the requisite pomp and circumstance and party debauchery. Both grandparents come from modest homes, and both my husband and I were raised modestly. A couple of presents on your birthday, a few bucks from grandma slipped into a card, that sort of thing.
I try really hard to rein in stuff with my kids and resist the temptation to go overboard, because as we all know, that usually doesn’t end well. I don’t want spoiled kids (I save that for the dog.) So she got her one big gift- a bicycle with training wheels- a plastic necklace, and because I cannot erase the imprint my mother left on me, an educational item or two. My mom got me Barbies growing up, but she always balanced it with something like the Visible Woman. While other 12 year olds were experimenting with turquoise mascara and bangle bracelets, I was painting little plastic intestines. That explains a lot, I think.
With that background, all I can think is aliens have kidnapped our parents and replaced them with beings that look like them, but have bottomless wallets and marshmallows for innards. All my plans were for naught when the grandparents arrived, staggering to the door under the burden of more gifts than any one child- or any 5 children, for that matter- could possibly need. They’re going to have to come out of retirement at this rate. And she tore in with glee and delight, as I sat there cringing and trying to figure out how I am going to make her a decent human being in the face of all of this. And not ONE educational item from my mom. Who are these people?
Needless to say I was distracted when my daughter pulled a familiar figure out of one of the bags from my mother in law. It’s an old friend.
“Oh yaay!” my daughter exclaimed. “This is just like yours, Mommy!”
“Oh,” said my mother in law. “You already have one?”
“No,” my daughter says. “It’s MOMMY’S. We don’t play with it.”
My mother in law looked at me. “Well, I use it for my blog,” I tried to explain. “I don’t let her play with it because I’m afraid she’s going to lose it and I really, really need it.”
Now everyone is looking at me. My family knows about this blog, indulging me the way most parents do when a 6 year old says they are going to be an ice skater: “That’s nice, dear.” But they don’t read it. They don’t understand that this Barbie is as integral to the blog as my keyboard. They simply see a woman in her mid-thirties who has a stash of plastic dolls that she plays with while telling her kindergartner, “Hands off my doll!” Never mind that the child has approximately 45,395 other Barbies, 45,392 of which are from the grandparents.
“Well, at least she has her own now,” my mother in law said with a dubious look on her face. I suppose I could try the Pet Doctor Barbie posts with a Visible Woman in a wig, but somehow I think something would be missing. Like skin.