For months now, every time I have seen my niece at my parents house, I always get the same question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?” I am not even sure how all of my old Barbies ended up in my room, umm, I mean, Lily’s room at my parents. The last I had seen of them they were stored away in my parents crawlspace. My parents must have come across them at some point & transferred them to the closet in Lily’s room. Well, talk about temptation. I’m sure it drove the poor little girl crazy to see all those Barbies & not be able to play with them. Gramma & Grandpa had a rule, you see… Lily was only allowed to play with the Barbies with Auntie B. So, every time Lily & I found ourselves at Gramma & Grandpa’s at the same time, I always got the same question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?”
I must admit that the first couple times, I brushed Lily off, saying we would play with the Barbies later (I now feel terrible about this seeing how much she really loves playing with them). I think this was my OCD talking… not, literally, but that’s my excuse. I’m a nut when it comes to organizing things, keeping things together & with all the proper pieces. Although most of these Barbies have to be over 20 years old & were played with like CRAZY when I was younger, every single Barbie was dressed in the outfit she came in, accessories & all. I was afraid of what Lily would do to these Barbies. I’ve seen her play with other dolls. The first thing to do is always rip all the clothes off so they’re naked! And when I say rip, I mean rip (there was a Barbie who lost a head this way). Part of me felt like I had not kept these Barbies in such good condition for all these years for Lily to come & tear them apart. Case in point. The first time we played with a “few” of the Barbies, Lily tore the sticker off a Barbie hat. This sticker had been on the hat for over 20 years but within 20 seconds of being in Lily’s possession, it was off. I do realize however that she’s a three year old & was super excited to play with Auntie B’s Barbies. Plus, she’s the sweetest little girl ever & I love her with all my heart. It’s not her fault her Auntie B is crazy!
Once, I had told Lily that we could play Barbies & then we ran out of time. As Colin & I were getting ready to leave my parents, Lily came running up to me wild eyed & panicked. “Auntie B! We didn’t get a chance to play with your Barbies” she wailed. Oh. Did I ever feel bad. Fast forward a couple of months to February, maybe even March. Lily was once again at my parents & so was I. Lily asked me the standard question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?” For some reason, this time I said yes, we can play with all of them. Well, you should have seen her eyes light up! She was like a kid at Christmas. I got the tote of Barbies, we took it down to the family room & within minutes it looked like a Barbie tornado had passed through. There were Barbies everywhere. Lily was practically jumping up & down she was so excited. Right then, I knew I had done the right thing by letting her play with all of them. What was I saving them for anyways? My daughter one day? Perhaps, but why not let Lily play with them in the meantime?
We sat on the floor playing with each Barbie. I told her about each Barbie, what she was wearing & what she came with, details my parents found amazing I could still remember. It was funny because she kept asking me what every Barbie’s name was… I don’t think she liked it that I kept saying Barbie. Apparently I was not as creative as she is growing up because all of her dolls have their own names, including such names as Latoya & Edwin. She didn’t like it that both the Ken’s were named Ken, or that all the “junior Barbies” were named Skipper (I think she is actually now called Stacey).
Every time someone walked into the room Lily would jump up & say “Auntie B is letting me plaaaay with alllllllllll her Barbies!!” It was very cute. On this particular day, Auntie B’s OCD hadn’t quite disappeared as we were only playing with the Barbies – we could not undress them. But that was okay with Lily & we had a blast. My Dad & I even went to the basement & dug out the Barbie cars, which Lily thought was fantastic. We decided that day that all of the Barbies would go with Auntie B back to my house & that from that point on, we would only play with the Barbies at Auntie B’s house. Lily was okay with that but tried to convince me to leave one of the Barbie cars so she could play with it. I wasn’t going to until the tears started flowing. Lily said she was just having SOOOO MUCH FUN with Auntie B that she was sad I had to leave. Well, what could I say to that? I had to leave her a car.
Now, the Barbie story does not end with Auntie B taking all the Barbies to her house. No, not in the least. Auntie B was planning on visiting Lily at her house only a few weeks later (I realize now it must have been in March when we played with all the Barbies) & I had to promise to bring some Barbies with me, so we could play at Lily’s house. She tried to convince me as well that I should bring the Barbie camper, but I told her I would see (& never did end up bringing it).
A few weeks later I found myself packing to go to my brother’s house & along with packing some clothes, I also had to pack a bag of Barbies. I felt like I was 8 years old again. When I was a kid, my best friend Carly & I played Barbies all the time (Car – please forgive me for the photos!).
And I mean, ALL the time! I don’t remember us playing Barbies so much when we both lived in London but after my family moved away, we played Barbies every time we saw each other. From the time we were about 8, Carly & I used to take the Greyhound back & forth to visit each other. It’s probably something most parents wouldn’t do today, but Carly & I used to take the bus alone, back & forth between London & Hamilton. Our parents would put us on the bus with a bag of clothes & a bag of Barbies & we’d be greeted at the other end by the other girl & her parents. We did this multiple times a year, for years. Once together for the weekend, our parents would rarely see us except for meal times. If we were at Carly’s, we’d be in the basement & if we were at my house, we’d be in my room.
Like when I played with Lily, there would be Barbies everywhere. We would play for hours, creating houses & dressing the Barbies up. We would just get a house created & then decide that the Barbies were going to move (or something) & we’d have to do it all over again. I think we were forced to go outside when it was nice, but otherwise it was all Barbies, all weekend. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not to admit that I had such Barbie fever as a kid. So, back to packing to visit Lily. I packed a bag of Barbies just like I would have going to visit Carly. Since the last time Lily & I played Barbies at my parents I had managed to track down my Barbie clothes. I packed Barbie clothes as well so this time, Lily & I could not only play with them but undress & redress them as well. Auntie B was getting braver & braver everytime we played Barbies. But by this point, I figured, why not? I had already seen how much Lily loved playing with them, & well, I’d do pretty much anything for that girl.
Now, she has Barbies that other people had given her but this one was different because it came from Auntie B. And it was not just one Barbie, but two! Barbie & her little sister Stacey. While shopping for this Barbie, I learned that Barbie has changed a lot since I was a kid. Her joints are different. And Ken has real hair! Not, literally of course, but he has hair like Barbie, not just the painted on plastic kind from when I was a kid. In any case, Lily was over the moon that Auntie B brought Barbies to play with but also a Barbie just for Lily. Lily’s mom told me that Lily slept with her Barbies the first night she had them. How cute is that?
As you can imagine, Lily & I played a lot of Barbies that weekend. It was rather interesting because, of the clothes I brought, she didn’t like all the things I didn’t like as a kid, which are outfits I now think are cool! Perspective is everything I guess. I think, however, I may have created a monster. Playing Barbies is something Lily wants to do with me all the time now! During the course of the weekend I don’t know how many times I heard, “Auntie B, just leave Blake (her brother) with Uncle C & come play Barbies with me!”.
Bossy little thing, but of course, I did as she asked (Auntie B & Uncle C both happen to be wrapped around Lily’s little finger)! Once again, when we were leaving, I had to promise to bring Barbies to Gramma & Grandpa’s house at Easter so we could play again.
I talked to Lily on the phone a few days before Easter when we would play Barbies again. She asked me if I could bring the Ski Barbie for her, which I thought was funny. The first day her & I played with allll the Barbies she wanted nothing to do with the Ski Barbie. I told her I would bring Ski Barbie though & she was super excited. While I did bring my bag of Barbies to Gramma & Grandpa’s at Easter, we never got a chance to play. So, the Ski Barbie will have to wait until next time, when the Barbie saga continues.