Samantha and when she arrived I gleefully ripped the box open to unveil my perfect doll. She smelled sweet and her hair hung in loose curls. I dressed her up, tucked her into bed at night, and carried her everywhere. I also read the books, which discussed historically relevant happenings. In the end I collected four of these dolls, but I never loved or played with the subsequent three as much as I did the first one.
Fourteen years later, we are visiting a large Georgia mall and I spot the American Girl Boutique and Bistro. I had no intention of buying anything (I am too old, Suzi is too young) but I had to take a look. My disappointment surprised me. There was nothing they didn't have, but I had to ask myself: Do girls need all that? Will it cripple a child's imagination if, instead of letting her build a doll treehouse with her father, we buy her one for $250? Is it necessary for a girl to have not only Victorian era Samantha, but her friend Nellie as well? When I started collecting these, there were five historical dolls. Now I've lost count!
I will definitely be buying one or two of these dolls for Suzi when she gets older. Why? They let a ten-year-old girl be a ten-year-old girl. They are not curvaceous, don't wear any makeup, and encourage reading and learning rather than teaching girls how to attract boys. But I don't know about the boutique. As we approached it I thought oh, I can't wait to bring Suzi here and buy her a doll! On our way out I was contemplating whether I'd ever take her there. Is it good for a child to go into a shop and leave ten minutes later with a doll? Wasn't half the fun waiting for the doll to arrive in the mail? When we were in the shop I saw several mother-daughter pairs and wondered, are these the same moms who are taking their "tweens" for a $300 spa day? Because that is so not me!
What do you think?
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