Sunday, March 04, 2007

About dolls and paying attention

Well. I think my brain went to oatmeal last week after reading a few of the blog entries in adoption-related circles. There are a couple of ideas that I probably need to think through, but - and I say this rarely - I don't think I can right now. Pondering hypotheticals and theories about adoption reform is something that has been very enlightening as I've tried to process the facts and feelings related to being an adoptive parent (or raising an adoptee), but I'm also realizing that there are plenty of little every-day issues that I also need to spend my energy on...

Such as the quest for a cute baby doll with at least half-way realistic Asian features. I realize that countless parents have struggled with this before me, and written about it, too - so nothing new or profound, here; I just wanted my turn to vent. My son is 2.5 right now, and he is really into playing with a doll. He likes to carry one around, change its diaper frequently, throw it (literally) into his crib for a nap, sing 'rock-a-bye baby' to it, sit it at the counter for lunch, cuddle it, sleep with it, and sometimes toss it down the stairs. He has a truly adorable 'Korean' plush doll, but of course that doll stays in his crib all the time and he's not really interested in playing with it - he would rather have his sister's soft-vinyl, more realistic-looking doll - with caucasian features. As much as I love watching him play Mr. Mommy, quite frankly I'm sick of him walking around with this pasty-white, bright blue-eyed doll. Every time I think of taking a picture or video of him (I'm getting ready to send a package to his foster family), I'm embarrassed just at the thought of them thinking that the poor little guy doesn't even have a doll that looks remotely like him.

This isn't my first attempt at finding him a doll - all the previous times I spent hours browsing online and became frustrated and finally gave up. I realize what a dangerous pattern I've gotten into: Think about something, want to do it, want it to be perfect, realize it can't be, give up. I hate so much to admit this or to even dare to put it in writing, but constantly thinking and reading about what adoption should be (or the suggestion that maybe we should scrap everything we know about family and start over with some other paradigm for raising children) and at the same time can't be....worrying about and wanting to perfect real life has just about zapped every last functioning brain cell I ever had (at least that's how I feel right at the moment).

Anyway, my doll requirements are quite simple, or so I thought: I want one with realistic features (though I don't know that we necessarily need to tackle the 'anotomically correct' realism right now...), realistic skin tone (this rules out all the dolls with dark brown 'almond'-shaped eyes and white-white skin....grrr), realistic eye shape (this rules out all the 'asian' dolls with great big round brown eyes....grrr), soft vinyl material, and a nice overall size - this rules out the gorgeous doll I saw online tonight, which is all of 9.5" total, and another very nice doll that is a whopping 22" total. Can't there be a happy medium for goodness' sake?

Funny. Despite having a 4-yr-old daughter, I've never been able to get into doll shopping. I've never cared too much about dolls, period (excepting a brief period in elementary school when I was the *only* kid without a Cabbage Patch Kid for the longest mom wanted to *make* me one. Yeah. Probably one like those homemade ones that, amazingly enough, were even uglier than the real ones. I cried and cried and sulked and finally my grandma had pity on me and bought me a real CPK). After that, I was done with dolls. Most of them are pretty freaky-looking (as in, the kind with 'dolls eyes' that open and close and scare the crap out of you when you pick the doll up and the eyes pop me the shivers just thinking about it) and completely fake-looking. Their little clothes are annoying. Their accessories are numerous and of poor quality. And now here I am stressing about a 10" vs. a 14" vs. a 21" doll...vinyl body vs. soft body...boy parts vs. gender neutral...

It's not that my son should not play with a caucasian-looking doll, but that he shouldn't have to play with one, for lack of other choices. For that matter, my daughter shouldn't be expected to play with a caucasian-looking doll, either. I've already failed Parenting 101 by not having a selection on hand even when she was, by the end of the day today, I will have ordered a variety of dolls for them to play with. And as much as I love browsing and reading all the fabulous adoption-related blogs out there, I need to portion out my time and attention and mental energy a little better so that I'm not missing the things that are right in front of me; and trust me, there are plenty even though I wish it weren't so.


At 10:18 PM , Blogger art-sweet said...

Lettuce Patch Dolls. My aunt made them. Damn, were those things ugly.

So yeah. If you find "ethnic" dolls that actually look like real "ethnic" people - would you please let me know? Please?

At 5:50 PM , Blogger cloudscome said...

Ha Ha. You are right - there is such a thing as over-thinking things. Time to get outside and play when I catch myself in that!

At 6:42 PM , Blogger Mo said...

You may find that your son doesn't desire dolls with Asian features because in his world family doesn't look alike. I remember that I liked my Korean doll when I was little, but I liked the one that looked like Mom too. My son's doll of choice is a very Caucasian baby with a pink outfit that my parents bought him.

At 4:39 PM , Blogger MomEtc. said...

I have the same frustrations. If you find a realistic Asian doll, I'd like to know about it too.

At 11:03 PM , Blogger zoe said...

Well, I don't know if you'll all agree or not, but I liked one particular 'Asian' Berenguer doll best of all I saw:

I ordered it and it is gorgeous....just so sweet. I purchased the boy version (dressed in blue), but there is also a girl (dressed in pink). My son loves the doll and calls it 'baby eggi' (kind of like ah-gee...Korean word for baby). I thought the Berenguer AA dolls were gorgeous, too. These are all a little pricey, but I rationalized it by saying I could buy 3 dolls I don't really like in my quest for one that looks a little more realistic, or I could buy this one that I loved. :)

Mo - good insight you shared. I wondered about the same thing. Thanks for your comment!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home