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American Girls
Kelly Blog - Motherhood
Written by Kelly Boyette   
Saturday, 21 November 2009 21:37

Today we brought two new girls to our home:  Julie and Elizabeth.  Julie is a beautiful blonde girl from the 70's, and Elizabeth a very sophisticated looking girl from the late 1700's.  We made a quick trip to Chicago to pick them up but our journey to acquire them began over a year ago when the first American Girl catalog arrived at our home.  Jason and I had been in debate over the terribly over-priced dolls and whether our girls would ever get one when the two of us went to Chicago in 2008 for a little getaway.  He was very much against getting sucked into what he described as a marketing ploy.  Being the convincing wife that I am I got him to go into the American Girl store with me just to see what it was like.  It was just as he thought, a store filled with a brilliantly marketed product, but to me it was the kind of store that little girls' dreams are made of.  I picked up a catalog to take home to the girls.

C and E had never really shown much interest in playing with dolls so I wasn't sure how interested they would be in the catalog.  M was only 17 months at the time and liked playing with baby dolls.  She even slept with a little one every night.  C and E were interested in looking at the dolls in the catalog with me.  They were taken in by the beauty of each girl and by the idea that behind each pretty face there was a story. We told them that if they really wanted one of these dolls they could save their money to buy one and we would take the train to Chicago to make the big purchase.  This was our plan to weed out genuine interest and possibly take another trip to Chicago.  I think that both Jason and I thought that they probably wouldn't be interested or disciplined enough to sock away every penny they got until they earned the $95 it would take to buy a doll and the paperback of her story. After all, they were only 5 and 3 at the time and never really played with dolls.  The catalogs continued to arrive in the mail.  With each one the girls would pore over them like it was a photo album filled with beloved family members.  Then girls at school started to talk about their dolls.  Then we watched Kit Kittredge and we were all hooked.  Well, we girls anyway. 

After saving very diligently for about a year and a half they finally had their money so we made the arrangements to catch the train.  We kept our plans a surprise until the night before we left.  They were very excited.  The train ride was relaxing and uneventful. We prepared them ahead of time that it wouldn't be anything like the Polar Express.  When we walked out of Union Station and hailed a cab the girls' eyes were as wide as the sky.  They barely spoke a word.  E said that she was just looking at the skyscrapers. 

They had been to the American Girl store in Dallas but this time their money was burning a hole in their pockets and they were ready to claim ownership.  They couldn't get to their dolls fast enough.  They selected their dolls and the accessories that they were buying, which of course are sold separately for a pretty penny, and headed to the register.  There each of them stood clutching their money among the throng of credit card-wielding moms and grandmothers until it was time for them to pay for their own treasure.

The looks on their faces when we finally opened the boxes and placed their dolls in their arms were priceless.  They rivaled  the best of Hallmark commercials.  I think it was those precious looks that made Jason realize that maybe the dolls could actually be worth it.  We then took the girls and their new companions to tea at the cafĂ©. Overpriced for sure, but the shared experience was worth every penny. 

In a year from now I have no idea how loved Julie and Elizabeth will still be, but one thing is for sure:  long after these two dolls have lost their appeal and the details of our trip forgotten, our two girls will remember the time they wanted a doll, so they worked and saved their own money until they were finally able to buy one. An experience, which in a way, is a child-sized realization of the American dream—work hard, save, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. A realization that I hope develops into part of their character and sets them apart as strong and true American Girls.

Comments (1)add comment
Dennis & Diane Boyette: ...
Kudos! XO's

December 02, 2009 13:37

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