I was eight-years-old, and I wanted this groovy, three-story, plastic monstrosity more than anything. To my tiny little girl-child brain, it was the coolest thing ever. The printed backdrops of the rooms. The working elevator. But then my father couldn’t put it together and my parents decided it was junk and the day after Christmas they returned it to the store.
I was devastated. And I have no idea where my poor Barbies lived after that, probably in a cardboard shoe box or something. My own daughter wanted a Barbie dream house this Christmas. I read the reviews, the complaints of it being “cheap” and “not worth the money” and I did what any other parent that cringes at wasting money on a flimsy toy that will break easily would do. I bought her a wooden dollhouse that was a bit more expensive, but that had excellent reviews. And a working elevator! Yes, it may not be emblazoned with the Barbie logo and it may not be Barbie-pink, but at least I am a much better parent than my own parents were because I made my husband put it together well in advance. He even printed out tiny pictures of art my daughter had created, framed these to adorn the doll-walls, and monogrammed her name on the house.
You may think I’m a bad or not fun mom and that I am just as mean as my own parents were when I was a kid, but at least I didn’t buy her the house and then snatch it away to be exchanged for some Colorforms or something. She can’t pine for something she never had. And maybe one day I will actually buy her the branded Barbie house if she really enjoys her wooden “fashion doll” house and she gets a lot of use out of playing with it. At the very least I know this house is sturdy enough where she can hand it down or donate it when she is done playing with it.
In retrospect, I can totally understand why my parents took my present back to the store, but I think that my inner child might still be sad about it. Because I still think about painting my bedroom pink. And how cool it would be to put an elevator in my house!
*For those of you parents who just got done assembling a Barbie dream house, please feel free to leave me a comment about how much it sucked. Thank you.