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Archive for the ‘American Girls’ Category

More snow! Yesterday, I fell asleep instead of taking Jasper for his walk, which resulted in him barking at gremlins he insisted were out in our backyard at midnight. In a few minutes, I will tackle all the fresh snow and take him out. He’s adorable leaping about in the snow (I’ll see if I can find my camera to demonstrate), but trying to dry him off is a nightmare. And yet, I cannot bear to cut his fur down more and reduce his teddy-bearness.

The first snow of the season is always a logistical nightmare, no matter how organized I think I am. I brought up dozens – no exaggeration here – of mittens, and yet yesterday morning none of them could find any. I have no idea where they all are, and I am pissed off. Asher insisted his snowpants fit, but they don’t, but he won’t upgrade. Asher and Maya need new boots, as do I.

I didn’t think it was urgent until I picked them up from school and Asher presented me with soaking-wet boots. Really, they could not have been wetter if he’d thrown them in a swimming pool. I guess waterproofness wears off?

So we were off to the big show store near here, along with maybe half the city. Three children and a huge shoe store after school is my idea of hell, and every year I manage to get trapped in it. Thankfully, we found boots for the boy very quickly, because he was the urgent one. None for the girl, though. Poor Maya – the problem with being tall is that the clothes appropriate to your age don’t fit your body. She wanted cool, colourful kids’ boots, but she wears women’s size 7 (or 8, depending on the fit). In the women’s section, we were faced with rows and rows of stylish black boots. We finally found some she liked and they had a rough seam running right over her ankle bone. How stupid is that? So she still needs them. I didn’t even try to look for me. I’m not a total masochist.

The snow makes me want to knit. I just want to sit in front of a nice fire and knit. Instead, I get a row or two done while singing lullabies or waiting in the car for the school bell to ring.

Currently, I am knitting:

hats and scarves for the AG dolls (2 hats done so far)

a sweater for Asher that I started last winter, really big, but if I don’t get my butt in gear on it, he’ll still manage to outgrow it before I’m done.

socks for Maya – one finished.

socks for Boo – one finished.

a baby sweater for the friends whose baby arrived 4 months ago.

a scarf, probably for Asher.

I just got lovely wool and a pattern for a winter hat for me, but have resisted starting it. Don’t know how long I’ll last, though.

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I’ve just been a little … distracted … lately.

I’d say the biggest culprit is those damned American Girl dolls. My girls love theirs. All they want for Hanukkah is more clothes, shoes, etc. Those outfits are expensive. One outfit for one doll is $24! And Boo has twins!

Suddenly it occurred to me to check ebay. And that is when I disappeared.

There are approximately 3500 items of American Girl clothing on sale on ebay, much of it handmade. Of course, while many people say they will ship to Canada, no one bothers to put what they’ll charge a Canadian for shipping. While it seems likely that the person charging $2 per item is more likely to charge about the same to ship here than the guy claiming to need $16 to ship a pair of doll pants north, I’m not taking any chances. This means I need to email the people I am interested in buying from and ask them about shipping, then wait for a reply before going ahead.

Worse, I have to guess what Maya would like, which I still clearly suck at. I left a picture of a dress up on the screen that I had just bought – it was cute, I swear – and Maya walked by and said, “Uch! That is hideous!” We really do have different tastes. Fortuantely, Boo thought it was adorable.

So I’m been spending my computer time comparing doll dresses and PJs and snowsuits. Blog? What blog?

I’d like to point, since J will probably read this, that I am not spending all my time searching for dolly clothing, just my computer time – time I would otherwise be spending writing my blog or reading others. But it is winding down now. I have enough stuff for Hanukkah for the two of them, plus birthdays and various other occasions that may arise. So I’m back.

Next up: more bat mitzvah rambling.

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I am back from three days in New York. This was the first time J and I went and actually stayed in a hotel (his parents gave us a hotel room for J’s 40th birthday gift). Until now, it has always been a friend’s futon. I feel so grown-up.

Speaking of grown-ups, I noticed on the subway that they had a sign that read: “Children should always hold a grown-up’s hand on the escalator.” I found it completely weird that they wrote ‘grown-up’s hand’ instead of ‘adult’s hand.’ Isn’t ‘grown-up’ kind of a little kid word?

We had fun – ate good food, saw good friends, bought some cheap books. J wouldn’t even let me in the yarn stores I saw, though. Such lack of faith that man has.

The biggest annoyance was that I developed hives the first night that plagued me the entire trip, but faded last night, once we returned home. I can only assume that I am, in fact, allergic to New York. The biggest one was about 2 cm in circumference on the top of my right foot, where it couldn’t help but be constantly irritated. I still have a huge red mark there, although the itching has subsided. Other bad ones were a line of them along the base of my skull. Scratching those looked like I had lice. And then there were the huge ones on my butt. Oh, it just was not pretty.

We went to the top of the Empire State Building. I took many pictures to show the kids, because that is where Mount Olympus is now located, according to Rick Riordon. (His Lightening Thief series is the best thing the kids and I have ever read and I plan to post more on that at another point.)

I realized once again, as we went through the Empire State Building, that I view the world through my kids’ eyes. I discovered this when I went to Israel a year ago. I found myself say or thinking constantly, “Maya would love this,” or “I wish Asher could see this.” Most of my photos are just because I want to show the kids stuff. Like the way they grow entire trees on the rooftops of buildings,

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or the pigeon 86 stories up.

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We also caught parts of the Gay Pride Parade as it went past only two blocks from our hotel. That was cool – iconic. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to return the batteries to my camera after charging them and couldn’t take any pictures of it. I missed photographing men in leather jock straps with their hair pimply bums getting all sunburned, and a guy in leather with huge black feather wings, and cute men cheerleading, and huge men with heels so high they looked 7 feet tall, and many bemused cops clearly having a lot of fun. My favourite sight was a portly man walking down the street in full make-up – which did nothing to hide his 3 o’clock shadow – his hair wrapped up in a towel, wearing a bathrobe and slippers. He flip-flopped down the street complaining into his cellphone that “that bitch” doesn’t know where she left his dress.

From the gay pride parade, we popped into the American Girl doll store. Oh. My. God. The guy in the make-up and towel had nothing on the American Girl store for sheer weirdness. I had entered another dimension.

I admit it, my girls have American Girl dolls. Maya begged and begged. It was all she wanted and she was saving her money successfully to get one. When we went to Vancouver, my brother and sister-in-law, who have no children, bought them the dolls. They don’t see the kids often, and have a successful system of making sure the kids remember and adore them – they buy impressive gifts every time we visit. Since all Maya wanted was the damn doll, she got it, and so did Boo.

But, of course, the dolls have accessories and Maya has a catalogue a friend kindly gave her, and so all she wanted for her birthday was AG clothing, etc.

I was torn. I am horrified by the prices of this stuff. The doll stroller costs as much as my real one did. But there could be a lot worse things my 11-year-old girl could be demanding. So I went along, and told her that when were were in NY, we would get her her birthday gift. And other stuff she would give us money for. And Boo’s birthday gift, and the your-parents-abandoned-you-for-a-weekend gifts. At least, I reasoned, the stuff is very well made. And we limited choices to clothing.

The store is 3 stories filled with dolls, clothes, hair accessories, toy ponies, etc. It also has a doll hospital, hair salon and restaurant where your doll gets its own little seat. We watched little girls line up to have their doll’s hair done. The dolls sat in wee salon chairs while real women spritzed and braided.

But that wasn’t the scary stuff. Well, it was scary, but it got scarier. The scary stuff was watching 7-year-old girls telling their doting mothers, “I want one of those, and one of those and one of those,” and if mom squeaked an objection, the kid would wail, “But you promised! You promised I could have the horse too!” I did not see a single girl there in jeans. They all wore fancy, expensive dresses, with their hair done expertly. I swear, not one pair of jeans. I saw 3-year-olds with professionally-done ringlets having their photos taken with their dolls (oh yeah, I forgot to mention the photo studio).

They all seemed so sheltered and out of touch and over-privileged. I felt awful standing in line with these people, thinking that I’m just one of them. I’m buying my spoiled kids these over-priced toys while the world goes to hell in a handbasket. I had the same feeling in that store as I had in Vegas, watching the gamblers. It felt dirty, somehow.

I consoled myself with the thought that I left with one bag, not seven, and Maya paid for most of her own stuff, and I’m set for Boo’s birthday for a while now. But I still felt kind of queasy and I’ve decided that when we bring our kids to New York (which I can’t wait to do, because they’ll just love it – for the food alone), the American Girl doll store will be unfortunately closed for renovations, because I cannot bear to throw my kids into the atmosphere of greed I felt in that store.

But other than that, it was great.

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