Go Figure

The Princess and I had a wonderful day together on Saturday. The Prince had spent the night with a friend and was not going to be home till late afternoon. Her daddy was working so we decided to check out a skateboard shop someone had told us about. It was about a 45 minute drive from home. Nice place. LOTS of board choices and she found one she had been eyeing online for a while. She was willing to empty her summer vacation money fund to get it and I was feeling pretty amiable so I agreed. We were driving home and she was caressing it and chattering on about it. Struts and bearings and grips. My daughter. A skateboard. Heh. Not exactly what I expected.

I have been a doll lover from the get go. Patty Play Pal. Chatty Cathy. Barbie. Tiny Tears. I had them all. And I played with them. My sister will tell you that she learned more about history by playing Barbies with me than she ever did from a textbook. We contructed Conestoga prarie wagons from shoe boxes so Barbie and Ken could travel the Oregon Trail. We filled the bath tub with water and set them sailing on an ‘ocean white with foam’ as they became Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine. They were forever running away from the Nazis. The bendable wire in Tutti’s leg broke. No problem. We wrapped it in pipe cleaners and thread and the little doll became one of Sister Kenny’s polio patients. Heh. I was doing the history/doll thing LONG before the American Girl Doll company came up with Felicity and Molly and Kirsten and Samantha and the rest of that very expensive gang.

As an adult I discovered a tremendous ceative op in learning to make porcelain dolls. Made quite a few over the years. So did my mother and my husband. I have also made large rag dolls in the Raggedy Ann style…with my own face design and costumes. Sold a number of those. Made two of them several Christmases ago for my stepdaughter’s twins. Is it any wonder that I could barely contain my excitement at the thought of having a daughter to share that love with? Riiiight. But that’s not what I got.

Oh…my daughter likes dolls. From a distance. Or stuffed under her bed. Or shut away in her closet. I should have known when we first saw her in Russia. Two little girls in her orphanage family group were off playing with a play hospital set up in the corner of the playroom. SHE was rolling on the floor with the little boys, playing with several toy trucks. I had brought along a small Beanie Baby doll for her to play with while we traveled home. She was much more interested in using the travel sewing kit to put beads and trinkets on the doll’s little dress. She was five. When she could finally speak English well enough she said she has never liked dolls because they ‘stare at her’ all the time. Heh.

Well, I kept on plugging. She had a baby doll with a box full of clothes but didn’t really know how to play with her. Stuffed in the closet. She is not really into clothes at all so Barbie held no interest. Stuffed under her bed. On her first trip to Chicago – when she was eight – I was so excited to take her to The American Girl Place….where Felicity and Molly and Kirsten and Samantha and the rest of that expensive gang reside. Kind of snuck in there actually. She really had no clue. She and her brother were fascinated by all the ‘little’ stuff. Little guitars. Little hiking boots. Little lunchboxes and plastic foods. They were playing quite happily with a little school set in the middle of a room for ‘Hop Scotch Hill Kids’ dolls when she stood up. I was watching her face as she slowly gazed around at her surroundings. There were dolls on display along the tops of the showcases. On the shelves below were boxes and boxes of dolls with an oval cut out so you could see the face of the one inside. Faces. With open, glassy eyes. All around her. All staring at her. My daughter’s brows lowered and her hands balled into tight little fists. “Get…me….outta…here….this place is FREAKING ME OUT!” she began shrieking. Loud. VERY loud. And very clear. I grabbed her by the hand and we made our way – quickly – out of the store. Past the dolls with staring eyes. Past mothers and daughters with their dolls, heading for the doll boutique and the Tea Room where dolls had their own little seats at the table. Never tried to get her to take to a doll after that. Heh.

So now she is not quite thirteen, sitting in the car seat next to me caressing a new skateboard and chattering on. I guess I can learn to love it too. It has a drawing of a girl skateboarder on it after all. She is going to add the struts and wheels….and bearings…herself. MY daughter. Go figure.

(The picture is an old one…..when she was six. You probably can’t see that her tonuge is hanging out as she does this trick….a habit that still sticks today.)

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