Since November of last year Lily has been obsessed with the American Girl dolls. You might think I'm exaggerating but I can rattle off dozens of examples of her single minded obsession for these dolls. I could compare it to her former love, Disney Princesses, except that now she can read so add another level fascination.
For months prior to November of 2009 I had received American Girl doll catalogs in the mail. They promptly went into the recycle bin - there was no way I wanted Lily to even know these dolls existed. They are $100 a doll and their clothes cost the same as human clothes. Each of the historical dolls tells a story about a certain era in time - Felicity is 1774, Kirsten is 1854, Addy is 1864, Rebecca is 1914, Kit is 1934, Molly is 1944, and Julie is 1974 (side note - as I'm typing this I ask Lily - which of the dolls is 1974? Lily: Julie. She has long blonde hair with brown eyes. Her best friend is Ivy. Me: Thanks, if she ever goes missing at least they can depend on you for identification. Lily: Thanks.) So these dolls have a lot of educational value. We read "Meet Kirsten" and Lily learned all about being a Swedish immigrant coming to America and having a friend die of cholera. That was a lovely conversation with my five year old. I've totally avoided Addy because I have no desire to explain slavery to Lily.
The books and dolls are geared towards 8 year olds so I was going to wait until she was older to introduce the books to Lily. As you can tell from the story lines, they are meant for older girls and the dolls need to be taken care of properly. So, we told Lily she needed to wait until her 7th birthday.
And then it began. Her complete CONSUMPTION of anything American Girl. The website, the books, the catalog. Everything. At one point she brought the catalog to me and wanted me to see if underpants were included with all the accessories. I look at the catalog and tell her that underpants are not described so that doll may not come with underpants. Lily: are you sure? Why don't you read it out loud to me? So I read the description. Lily: you missed the last part. Me: No, that's just the item number, in case we were going to order it. Lily: Can you read it, just in case? Me: Really? Lily: Yes. Me: JYX1007. Does that help? Lily: No. Me: I know.
That is just an example of a conversation that would happen at least once a day. She had catalogs everywhere - her bedroom, the art table, in the car, and at my mother's house. They were worn, falling apart, and well loved. When a new one came in the mail it was declared THE BEST DAY EVER!!
So around June I lost all sense of sanity. A 32 year old woman should not have this much knowledge of American Girls unless I invented them or managed their store. I called my mother and I said that I could not wait until her seventh birthday. We had to get her an American Girl for her sixth birthday - there was no way I could do another 18 months of this.
Our New York City trip was planned for December 16. We would spend an hour at the store, eat in the cafe, and then head to the Rockettes before catching the train home. Jamison and Brian ended up coming as well so it was a small family event.
While we were at AG, Brian took Jamie to Toys R Us to pick out something with his savings account money.
Lily in front of Lanie, the girl of the year.
Mom and Lily examining all the past Girls of the Year.
And then came decision making time. We tried to get her to commit to a doll beforehand so we wouldn't have a potential breakdown on hour hands. Mom was definitely going to get her a doll and I told her I could buy her another one or I'd buy the accessories to the doll my mom bought.
Reading the description on the box carefully to make sure we know exactly what is being purchased. Lily had saved $8.00 of her money to buy glasses for the dolls. Since Brian and I have worn glasses since we were young, we have told Lily that she should prepare herself for glasses one day. She took it a step further and made sure her doll had glasses as well. I just liked the idea of her saving her money for something specific and waiting until the proper time to spend it.
And this is when she whipped out her pen and paper to list what she wanted, with prices, and come up with a final decision. Another positive thing that AG has done is help with Lily's math skills. I have Lily add up all the prices of the items she wants so she can see how much things cost.
At the American Girl cafe for lunch. My mother unsuccessfully tried to alter Lily's doll choice. Rebecca was acceptable. Kit, on the other hand, not so much. See, Kit is set in 1934 - right in the middle of the depression. So her clothes express the depression era - they are not very colorful and are pretty drab. Her overcoat is actually her dads old coat that they re-lined for Kit (told you that I knew too much about these girls) and it looks like a mans coat. So mom was directing Lily towards dolls that had prettier clothing options. It didn't work and she ended up with Kit and Rebecca. This is a story that I will tell at my mothers funeral one day.
Blowing out her birthday candle.
And then we headed to Radio City Music Hall. This was the third or fourth time I've seen the show and Lily saw it when she was three. She appreciated it a lot more at six years old. It was very sweet to watch her fascination with the dancers.
And Jamison took a nap during the performance. Ever pay $85.00 for a nap? My mom did! Thanks for the tickets mom! It might be the most expensive nap ever, but it was worth it since he had been up since 6:00am.
What else did Jamison do during the trip? He plastered his face to the train window:
Because it is a beautiful train ride. It follows the Hudson River all the way down.
He hung out with his sister and was SO HAPPY for her. His pure sweetness is heart warming. (Ignore his bloodied lip. Seconds upon entering the church building on Wednesday night he fell flat on his face and split his lip.)
At Rockefeller Center.
And then there were no taxis so we had to (gasp) walk the 20 blocks to the train station. Luckily, the weather was nice and there wasn't wind to knock you over at each block crosswalk. Lily has never been one to express extreme happiness or sadness - she's always emotionally in the middle of the road. But she obviously enjoyed her day and had a good time.