Friday, October 17, 2008


When the kiddo got her dollhouse for her birthday last year, i think i loved it more than she did. This is no Barbie's Dreamhouse -- it's made of sustainable rubberwood, not a pile of pink plastic. Its dolls are made of the same rubberwood, with little painted faces and yarn hair, instead of petroleum bodies with more petroleum hair. The dollies kind of look like Playmobils, except they're made of a renewable resource. I think i loved the house partly because it reminded me of my Playmobil childhood, and partly because it's a conscious product. In my mind, kids' toys should be the first to 'go green.' What would you rather have in your kid's mouth -- a bunch of bisphenol a, or a piece of wood, without paints or harmful oils? And anway, in my opinion, a kid's room full of plastic toys begins to look like a clown-college collage of garish colors. A room of wooden things is a bit more harmonious -- though the room will still be a royal mess most of the time.

My daughter was not quite ready for the dollhouse role play at first, but since then, it's become one of her most indispensable playthings. It's also become a teaching tool for when my most teacherly self is worn out from playing bad cop and doling out the life lessons she must learn in first person.

In my last post i talked about self-esteem, and wondered how to pass along the bits of wisdom i have learned about loving one's self. As i was sitting on the floor playing, i realized the benefit of the dollhouse. You can teach the lessons to the dollies, and have kid absorb them through the imagination. I was playing the mom and dad doll (yes in this world moms and dads are still always together...) and she was playing the kids -- two sisters, a dark-skinned brother, and the baby. Talk got on about the state of the dollies' hair. The mom and the dad started talking.

Mom: "O my goodness i have to comb this wild hair!...." all in a high-pitched voice, like girls do when they're playing dolls...

Dad: "But darling, you look good no matter what you look like. That's the thing about people who love each other. It doesn't matter what you wear, you will always be loved. And if you love yourself, it doesn't matter whether people think you look bad or not." He's got a weirdly high-pitched voice too... oddly enough...

This is shit i cannot lay down first-person, even when we're in our most tender moments, in the dark at the end of the day. Sometimes, it takes a wooden doll to put down the big stuff. I think it works.

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