Sunday, June 20, 2010

No Brown Babies on the Shelf

Grace has never been a doll person.  Right from the start she like stuffed animals, but was totally disinterested in dolls.  But we've been talking to her a lot about the new babies we are going to be bringing home.  How Daddy will need lots of help taking care of the babies, help feeding them and changing diapers.  Making them feel better when they cry, that sort of thing.  And Grace seems to be very enthusiatic about the whole thing to the point where she actually started showing some interest in a doll that her grandma got for her right after we brought her home.  This doll is white and sort of homely, and of course, naked because after 2 and half years you just can't keep up with doll clothes. 

So I decided I wanted Grace to have a new doll that more closely matched the babies we would be bringing home--cute, dark brown, and not naked!  So off to HellMart.  I do not enjoy shopping at HellMart, but it is a place that I generally consider culturally and ethnically diverse.  So imagine my dismay when we discovered that HellMart did not have a single brown baby on the shelf. 

This may sound odd, but I thought I was going to cry right there in the store.  What kind of world do we live in!  Why weren't the shelves filled with a whole rainbow of babies?  How heartbreaking it must be to look at those shelves as a person of color and not see anything that looks like you?  I wasn't surprised to not find any Asian dolls.  I knew they didn't exist from searches I did before we ever brought Grace home.  But no brown babies, here, in HellMart.  There was one tan, sort of Hispanic looking baby, but that was it.  There were also no boy babies.  How weird is that?  Do little girls only want white girl dolls?  Well, not Grace.  She specifically asked for a brown baby like Haven. 

So the next day we traveled to the Spoiled Children R Us store in search of a brown baby.  And even here the pickins were slim.  Only one baby had actual hair.  But Grace didn't like her.  A couple peed and pooped, but I didn't want any part of that.  Then Grace spotted a doll that had an accessory that could not be beat.  The baby came with its own stethoscope.  At this point in her life Grace is far more of a scientist than a nurturer.  She loved the idea of doing medical treatment on the new baby.  I did not like this baby.  First of all it was strapped tightly into its packaging so I couldn't really pick it up and inspect it.  Second, it made noises when you pushed its nose or hands.  I wanted a baby that just laid there so Grace could do more creative play.  Third, it didn't have hair.  Just something hard under a little cap that you couldn't see. 

However, if you have ever been to the toy aisle with a 3 year old you know that once they have made their pick, there will be no changing their mind.  So we took less than desirable baby home with us.  When we got to the car we opened up the packaging and I discovered the doll had a few more issues.  Despite the fact that on the package there is a photo of an African American little girl playing with the doll, when we got it in the sunlight we discovered this doll was just a caucasian doll with little brown dye added.  Caucasian features, hard plastic white baby hair under the hat, the doll is probably not even as dark skinned as Grace.  Plus, it has some sort of defect in the back of its creepy molded plastic head where the molding didn't quite come together right, but you couldn't see it because of the hat and packaging.  Also, it is far noisier than I expected.  It is supposed to be a baby that is sick--hence the medical supplies--so it cries, sneezes, makes a weird choking sound, and when you push its nose a bright red light comes up in its cheeks and it looks like it is going to explode.  EEK.  What did we buy?!? Little Baby Face On Fire!

After 2 weeks Grace is once again completely disinterested in the doll.  She and Haven will both come take my temperature or listen to my heart with the other accessories from time to time.  When she does pay any attention to the doll she calls it "he".  She's decided the baby is a boy.  And she calls herself "Mama Grace".  I guess we'll stick to stuffed animals!

Don't worry, Haven didn't get left out.  Brian picked out a t-ball set for him.  He has dreams that Haven will be a professional baseball player.  Another bad purchase.  I am very tired  of getting hit with that minature bat.  I have started hiding it in the pantry.  Besides Haven is more into fashion than sports!

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