Soooo…we’ve entered this life stage:

welcome to hell

When my niece turned four last September, Mike’s parents took her to the American Girl store to pick out a doll…and Michaela could not have cared less. She just wasn’t into it. So when my in-laws offered to buy Annie a doll on her fourth birthday, Mike and I declined, thinking her reaction would be similar to her cousin’s. Well, we were wrong. On Friday night, we were killing time at the mall by Mike’s office before he could join us for dinner. We walked by the American Girl store and Annie flipped out.

She asked if we could go in, and I said, “Sure,” because in my head I was remembering the American Girl dolls from when I was a kid. You know, when there were three dolls. I read the books when I was a kid and begged my mom for the Samantha doll. I never got one, because I was a) almost too old, and b) not a kid who played with dolls. Annie, however, is a kid who plays with dolls, so I don’t know why we ever thought she wouldn’t be into an American Girl. As we walked in I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat if Annie really liked the Samantha doll?” I was so naive.

Did you guys know that there are, like, a million of these damn dolls now? I felt like I did the day I first went wedding dress shopping. When I walked into that dress shop I stopped dead in my tracks all, “I thought I wanted this but no, no I do not want this.” So overwhelming! Under the stare of a thousand eighteen-inch dolls I basically shut down and wanted to lay on the tiny American Girl couch in the tiny library surrounded by the tiny books. Annabel thought leading me around by the hand to show me all the doll accessories was more fun.

Like the tiny doll-sized VW Beetle. And the bicycle with pet trailer attachment. Or the salon chair. When I got distracted by the doll head-gear (for their bad teeth?) and hair extensions, Annie found the “doll of the year” and started going crazy over her. That’s when I decided to drop some history on her.

Me: You know Annie, I really loved the stories of the American Girls when I was a little girl. We should go find the dolls I read about! They were Samantha, Molly, and Kirsten.
Nearby store employee: Actually, all of those dolls are retired.
Me: Blank stare
Store employee: You know, retired. We no longer sell them. Those are the old ones!
Me:…Yes. Old. I’m old.

Annie eventually found the big display of “just like me” or whatever dolls, and found the one she deemed looked exactly like her. This is where Mike met us and she started bargaining. “I will change all of Jamesie’s diapers! And I’ll pick up Rigby’s poop!” I was ready to see just how far she’d go, but Mike stopped her because his parents still generously wanted to buy Annie the doll. This was her face when we told her:

so happy

Then she said, “WAIT! She needs a dog, because I have a dog!”
Store employee: We have a large selection of pets!

Of course they do.

carrying her own bag

On the drive home, I really stressed to Annabel what a nice, expensive doll she had just been given, and she needed to treat her carefully. She seemed to take it seriously, and thus far (you know, in the last 48 hours) the doll has gone everywhere with her.

"We're twins!"

“Look, we’re twins!”

Other than the dog and one dress, she’s not getting any other “name brand” accessories (at least, not from us) for a very long time. That stuff is pricey and she doesn’t know the difference at this age. It will be a million times easier for me to stomach her losing a pair of doll shoes from Target (because it’s gonna happen). And, I know you’re going to tell me that I should make doll clothes. Annie is a step ahead of you. She’s already sketched outfits for me to make, and doesn’t understand why I haven’t made any of them yet. “Just read a book about how to make doll clothes, Mommy.” Oh, okay.

Annie named her doll Violet, and she named Violet’s dog Eleanor.

rigby feels mocked.

Rigby feels mocked.

I’ve also spent a lot of the last 48 hours styling doll hair, at the request of Annabel.

yeah, I'm doing a doll's hair.

That is the face of someone questioning her life choices.

Mike says it’s like I finally got the doll I wanted back when I was a child. Hahaha, no. My mom was right, I am not a doll person. But I’m very glad it makes Annabel so happy. I think. Ask me again in a month.