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Little Girl running away with Bitty Baby.

Big Girl got her American Girl Bitty Baby when she was about three. I was in the city for a girls’ weekend with three of my good friends. We went to American Girl to look around. I ended up walking out with a set of Bitty Twins. I took one, while my friend, who has a little girl a month younger than Big Girl, took the other. I don’t know who was more excited when I handed over that doll: Me or my daughter. It was a great purchase, though.

The doll, named Sally-o, has been tossed around a bit — literally — and played with over the years. She had a small clump of hair cut off during one especially harrowing playdate. What’s left is fairly messy. One of her eyes are stuck open or closed — depending on how she’s held. If you look closely you can see the black ink from when she was a victim of a write-and-run attack. She’s missing her socks. Maybe a nicer way of describing her is that she is a much-loved doll. So much so that she often shares a pillow with her red-headed owner.

I am reminiscing about how she came to live here because I have American Girls on my mind. Earlier this week a friend posted on Facebook that she was selling her daughter’s American Girl dolls — the real ones, not the Bitty Babies. I was considering caving in and buying them. Right now we’ve still got about 20 months before I have to shell out that kind of cash. You see, American Girl dolls are made for girls eight and up, according to the company’s site and ubiquitous catalogs. This is a fact I was only too happy to pass along to my daughter. In effect, it bought me a little more time. Of course, my strict adherence to American Girl’s suggested age is backfiring on me.

Poor Little Girl loves Big Girl’s Bitty Baby. LOVES it. Carries it around. Kisses it. Tries to take its many beautiful outfits to put on her own plain Jane doll. (We recently had an issue with a Bitty Baby dog costume. Little Girl loves dogs even more than Bitty. Thank goodness small children have very short memories.) But as always, I digress.

Last weekend I was looking at the American Girl Web site with Big Girl contemplating a purchase for Little Girl’s second birthday in June. Which one would she like, I wanted to know. (I was leaning towards the little blond one.) Big Girl jumped right on it. “But Mommy, you CAN’T get her a Bitty. She’s only going to be TWO. You have to be THREE to buy a Bitty Baby.” Damn. Drat. Sigh. She’s right. It says so right on the product specifications. Ages 3 and up.

So now I’m trapped. I can’t get Little Girl a Bitty unless I want to get called out by a 6-year-old for being a hypocrite. But I am torn. If ever there was a year to buy an American Girl, it’s this one. This year’s doll is Lanie. She’s interested in the environment. The American Girl parent company is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation to get girls outside and back to nature. There’s even a Web site dedicated to helping parents help kids to do just that — Be Out There. I’m so temped to tell Big Girl that the suggested age is just that — a suggested age. But then again I feel like I should stick to my first instinct and make them both wait until they’re actually old enough to own their respective dolls. Arggg. Such a tough decision. Good thing I don’t live in New York City.

What do you think of American Girl dolls? Would you buy them for your child? HAVE you bought them for your child? Aside from American Girl dolls, what are the best toys out there that you’ve seen? Do you know of any eco-dolls that might make my baby toss the Bitty love out the door?

3 Responses to “The Lure of American Girl’s Siren Song”

  1. Bev says:

    Consider buying the doll but hiding it away for next years birthday. Seriously. I was the older sibling and my younger siblings were always getting privileges early because I was already doing something. Nothing was special and just for me even though I had to wait.

  2. Julie says:

    I am buying Laurel an American Girl doll for her 5th birthday because she has shown great care and responsibility for the collectable Pinkalicious doll she got for Hanukkah. I think the suggested age is less about safety and more about the responsibility of having such an expensive toy. From the stories I’ve heard/read about Kaitlyn it sounds like she is responsible enough to handle getting one a bit earlier than 8 y.o.

  3. Shari G says:

    Sometimes “because I said so” is all that is needed.

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