posted Friday August 21st, 2009

am girl3

You know those friends — friends you can go years without seeing, but when you do see them, it’s like no time has passed?

That’s my friend Heather. Love her. Loveherloveherloveher. We met as undergrads and somehow 20-plus years passed and here we are. After college she went to law school and met a cute boy and and suddenly we’re all old married people with kids. We wedged in a visit for a couple hours when Ray and the girls and I made our way through Los Angeles at the end of our epic road trip earlier this month.

As Heather put it, the hurried lunch at the old farmer’s market near the CBS studios (oh my gosh, I love going to that farmer’s market — it’s pretty much as it has been for decades, I imagine, even with Donna Parker visited in “Donna Parker Goes to Hollywood,” one of my all-time favorite books; Donna was a Nancy Drew wanna be and a reporter for her high school newspaper — major nerd alert) was a tease — it only made us both want a proper visit — but “dessert” was very satisfying: a trip to the American Girl store.

I’m so old, I missed the first round of American Girl action. (That, or they just weren’t big in Phoenix in the 70s.) Our babysitters all had them. My first introduction to the concept actually came at Heather’s house, years ago. Her daughter Ava, who’s about a year and a half older than Annabelle (funny, at the time Annabelle was born it felt like Heather had a teenager, that’s how skewed your perspective of time gets as a new parent) has more than one doll, and a trunk of clothing and accessories. Heather highly recommended AG as a nice alternative to Barbies and the big-lipped Bratz dolls that freak me out. (Actually, I don’t know anyone who’s not freaked out by them.)

Some of the toy options for little kids are downright scary. I recall vividly that on her second birthday, Annabelle received Rio de Janeiro Barbie as a gift, and since the gift came from one of our sitters, I couldn’t do what I normally do with a gift I don’t approve of and stick it straight into the giveaway bag. The sitter would have noticed. So I gave Annabelle the Barbie, which she promptly stripped to her birthday suit and turquoise blue pumps.

Barbie is always standing on her tip toes, ready for heels. I don’t believe they make anything but flats for the American Girl. Not that I’m worried my kid will become a slut because she likes to play with naked dolls in f***-me pumps, but still, it just seems a little unsavory once you’ve been introduced to the world of the American Girl.

And what a world it is. Last holiday season, we finally brought Mia (Girl of the Year, an ice skater with beautiful blonde hair) into the family. She was followed this summer by Chrissa for Sophie (another Girl of the Year, she’s a swimmer who gets bullied at school) and Rebecca (I wasn’t going to get Annabelle another doll, but then they introduced a Jewish American Girl  — so what was I supposed to do when she asked for it?!)

The dolls aren’t cheap, and the clothes are downright outrageous. I devoted a Rubbermaid to them in a recent fit of organizing, and plan to hold onto the loot and oversee all play sessions involving American Girl accessories, in order to protect my investment from drifting to the bottom of various toy baskets, never to be seen whole — or clean — again.

Catalogue and online shopping don’t compare, I realized, as I passed through the doors of the Los Angeles American Girl store that Saturday afternoon. I’d been to the store in New York this summer, but alone, and only for five minutes to grab the latest dolls. This time we went all the way to the back — to the hair salon.

Yes, the hair salon. You can see it in the photo at the top of this post — a row of teeny tiny chairs, with full-sized women busily combing out the mess your kid has made of her doll’s hair. I got out of the hair part cheap, for $15, since Annabelle didn’t desire an updo for Rebecca. I’d already heard about the cafe where your AG doll sits next to you in a chair made just for her (I don’t know if they serve the dolls fake food, we didn’t eat there) but I hadn’t heard about the doll holders in the ladies room.

Yes, the doll holders. You can use the toilet without worrying about where to put your doll.

At least they didn’t have doll-sized toilets. In fact, despite the fact that the shopping trip cost me a small fortune, nothing about the American Girl experience was really so outrageous.

Or maybe it’s just that I bowed to oh-so-gentle peer pressure from Heather and Ava. That’s okay. I’ll take all the influence I can, from that family. I only wish we lived closer. But with that American Girl store just minutes from Heather’s house, I’m sure we’ll be back soon. I’ll start saving now.

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Tags: Filed under: Uncategorized, Vacation by Amysilverman

7 Responses to “AmericanGirlPalooza”

  1. We are so into the American Girl Doll thing around here too. Hard to stomach a $22 teeny tiny lunch box and the outfits cost more than mine, but then again it beats the conversation we had to have about Ken and Barbie and naked “kissing.”

  2. Believe it or not, Target has clothes that fit AG dolls. They also have lots of other things that work with them. See what you think and let me know.

  3. HAHA love this post, it’s amazing how they suck you in!! Anyway, I just wanted to say check out my blog we have an affordable alternative to the American Girl trademark products. I hope you and your girls enjoy your new dolls!

  4. We met a lady on the commuter train in Chicago who had relocated post-Katrina and worked at the American Girl store. It was just nice to meet someone from NOLA who didn’t seem to be having a huge traumatic tragedy. I didn’t know they had those dolls when we were young.

    Anyway, my goddaughter’s mom recently gave me the AG Julie Albright, a hippie chick from 1974, because if you stick a pair of granny glasses on her and have her parents stay married, she is each of us. I am thinking of letting her stay in the box, like my Looney Tunes: Back in Action Bugs Bunny Barbie from Tuesday Morning . . .

    My husband used to cut up socks and make dresses for all the naked Barbies around here, back when the toddler lived in our cottage. They took a lot of baths in our house, so their clothes were nowhere nearby.

  5. Luckily my child is immune to such things- we had vaccinations :) I loved the movie though!

  6. Oh so addicted here too.

  7. [...] think I’d ever written about Heather in GIAPH before last week, in a post about the American Girl store. But here she is again — and standing at the front of my kid’s class! I think [...]

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