Speaking of Mother’s Day, I met one weird Momma today. We were at the beach and I see this family sitting next to five dolls laid out on a towel. I knew at once this was going to get interesting. Of course, Kaya was immediately drawn to the dolls and walked over there. I followed, remembering a Today show segment I saw about grown women who collect life-like dolls and treat them like their own children (“Grown Ups Who Play with Dolls.”) There’s even a BBC documentary made about these women called “My Fake Baby.” Weird, right?
Right away, I knew this woman was one of those. Kaya started playing with one of the dolls, and the woman looked at her like she had just picked up a real baby and started pulling its hair. In other words, mortified. I told Kaya to put the doll down and asked what the dolls were all about.
“They’re American Girl® dolls,” she said. “They’re sun-bathing.”
Right. What else would they be doing???
Like driving by a car crash, I could not walk away. The woman continued.
“They’re very expensive.”
As if that explained everything. What else do you do with $100 dolls but take them to the beach?
I remember hearing about American Girls®. My grandmother had once mentioned wanting to take Kaya to one of the stores when she got older. It’s a girls’ paradise, albeit a freaky one. You can have dinner with your American Girl and even get the doll’s hair done at the salon. Sounds to me like they are creating future Today Show guests.
Anyways, the woman had more to say. She homeschools her children (shocker!) and uses the dolls as a teaching tool. I guess she hasn’t heard about text books.
“I use them to teach my kids about history,” she said, lovingly caressing one doll dressed in a plaid school-girl uniform. “This here is Molly. She lived during World War II. Her friend Emily comes from England to visit her.”
Emily, of course, was lying next to Molly, clearly enjoying the beautiful Tahoe afternoon. Then the woman pointed to a doll dressed like Pocahontas.
“This here is Kaya.”
What? My daughter is named after an American Girl??!!! Great.
I asked her if she collects these dolls. “The three of us do,” she says. By that I think she means her daughter, who looks to be around 10, and her son, a rather plump fellow who looks like he’s pushing 12. But maybe she means her husband? Later, my initial thoughts are confirmed when I look over and see the boy braiding one of the doll’s hair, Addy, “Token Black Girl.”
No wonder she homeschools him.
OK, OK, I’m being horrible, I know it. Boys can play with Barbies too (see my posting, “Coloring Mermaids”). And the dolls obviously serve as a great family activity for this woman and her kids. Beats watching TV. But then I started wondering…Does she have car seats for all five dolls? Separate little beds? Does she gives them baths? Put them in the cart at the grocery store and yell at them for wanting sugary cereal and everything else they see? Should we call her “SeptoMom?”
I looked over at the American Girl® family one last time before we left. I didn’t want to tell SeptoMom, but I think the dolls were getting sunburned.
If I was an American Girl® I would defintely be Julie Albright, “a fun-loving San Francisco girl.” She’s got cool bohemian clothes and saves endangered eagles. Molly’s got nothin’ on her.