Friday, January 16, 2009

Black Charlotte

If you are wondering where I've been, I cannot really answer your query. I've been here, and yet...not.
I can't say why I haven't been able to write much, call it busy schedule or a touch of melancholy. But I have been thinking, and musing, and contemplating and trying to get a handle on life in 2009.
I have started several blogs, several poems, several typed vomitous splats of non-informative goo, and then just hit the 'save for later' button.
Well, I'm rather upset with myself, considering my resolution and all. I was supposed to be informing you about my life, interesting as it is...I was supposed to be sucking the marrow out of life and then writing all about it!

And such is life that instead of sucking the marrow, it just kind of sucked. At least for a few days. Now I have nothing to complain about except the 7 degree weather that greeted my short skirt wearing self this morning.
I digress, and along we go.
I never wrote about the holidays, and this is a gross oversight that I plan to remedy as soon as I can get this blog rolling out of the muck. You may recall that my 2 year old asked (nay, demanded) for a very very specific present.
And this is the totally compelling story, complete with pictures, of that gift.
While I was still a single digit in age, my friends all had American Girl dolls. At that time, during the prehistoric dawn of tweens, there was little to be had by way of cool acceptable toys for kids our age. We were too old for baby least the kind that wet their own diapers (so disgusting). And we were too young to put New Kids On The Block posters on our wall. Well, ok I did have some. But I think that was largely due to the fact that I had an older sister.

Anyways, my friends all had one of the three dolls. Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha were all that the Pleasant Company had to offer at that time, and between my small gaggle of friends, each doll, dress, accessory, and book was owned. They had the steamer trunks to hold all of the lacy socks, buckled shoes, and miniature lemonade party sets. I wanted one. Shocked, aren't you?
Have you priced those things? Even in my naivete (yes, I had it once) I knew that it was too expensive to even be longing for. I got the catalogs, read through all of the descriptions, and checked out all of the books at the library. I knew Samantha's favorite ice cream flavor (peppermint) and I knew the name of the camp that Molly went to in the summer. I knew about the prairie girl too, but let's just face the fact that nobody likes Kirsten.

I looked forward to the catalog arriving every season, and I devoured it and kept it until the next one arrived. I memorized it, cut out the....ok, well, I wanted a doll but knew I would never get one. And then, they did something truly amazing. They debuted a new doll:Felicity Merriman from 1776. Red hair, wild spirit, family gal, tea lessons. She was supposed to be mine. I didn't even dream that something that wonderful could happen to me. Especially because the previous Christmas was the one of black hat fame. No, I would only be an American Girl owner in my fantasies.
Until one amazing and ridiculously crazy I still cannot believe it kind of Christmas day when my parents got me MY OWN American Girl Doll. I opened a box, expecting socks and underwear and maybe a bag of Werther's Originals.
Instead, staring back at me with a small toothy grin, was Felicity.

Now, I was a weeee bit on the old side to have a doll, especially because I was never really the doll type of girl. But it was so important to me that I wanted one and my parents knew it, and despite all the things they had to do and pay for and worry about, they got it for me.

I was very, very grateful.

I still like to look at the magazines. I'm not really weird about it. I mean, I waited until I had kids to start getting them again. But Moira and I, and now Sabra and I, really like looking through them and just being girls together.
Well, if you aren't familiar with the recent happenings of this company, let me catch you up to speed. They now have about 18 dolls with books, dvds, and best friends that you can purchase. AND they now have Just Like Me dolls that you can get to look....just like you!

The girls and I were looking through this section back in October. Moira likes to try to pick out dolls that look like every girl she knows. And sometimes even boys. But she likes to match the hair and eyes and skin color and then name the dolls. And make stories about them. And other things that interesting children do when they cannot find their real toys because their mom doesn't clean enough.
She picked out herself in doll form. Light brown hair, a few freckles, blue eyes, light outfit.
"Wow! It really does look just like me!" she said, and then proceeded to hint wildly that she would like such a doll for Christmas.
Sabra, sort of interested, but wanting to go make more Play-Doh snakes, started to hop down from the couch. I was lazily enjoying the Saturday morning and loathe to get up and stop her from putting bright green moldable fun into an electric outlet.

I quickly turned to the Bitty Baby section, and convinced her to look through the bottles and bibs with me. She really loves babies, both fake and real. She rocks them to sleep, pats their backs, feeds them whatever she is eating, and spanks them when they do something naughty.

Well, she wanted to see which baby looked Just Like Sabra. Except...the only options for the babies are skin colors. You get generic white, black, brown, or olive baby to love and hold and take care of. I tried to show her the Caucasian baby, because that really was the closest thing they had to a Sabra baby.
She would have NONE of it. She pointed right to the blackest black baby they have and cooed and sighed.

"That's baby Sabra Rain!" she said, and then proceeded to tell me that she had to have it for Christmas. No hints, no schemes. She needed the black baby.
She began to talk about it on a daily basis. She wanted to visit the website to check on Black, as she so lovingly referred to the Sabra Baby.

And, as all mothers with former chips on their shoulders in regards to things they wanted and didn't get or feared not getting or just otherwise felt neglected...I explained to Austin that the kids HAD to HAVE the DOLLS.

And now, before I lose your attention, I will get to the glorious day of unveiling.

Now, remember that Sabra spotted Black back in October, and looked at her ALL OF THE TIME.

I now take you to December a beautiful, faraway land.....called Smyrna.

Yes, this is my lovely little house. You are seeing the fireplace, which was one of my favorite parts of the house until it almost burned itself up. Now it is one of my Favorite Places That Also Strikes Fear Into My Heart. But that particular list is now longer than my hindquarters, so I try not to think about it too much.

Well, as we were going to be traveling on Christmas day, we decided to give the girls their present on the 24th. The Palmas were coming for the big moment (Black now had quite a following) and the kids knew that as soon as their van pulled up, the merriment could begin. Because honestly, merriment just isn't there without presents.

Sabra waited patiently.....

And then, after many long minutes, Moira joined her in the vigil.

Finally, finally, FINALLY! The Palmas arrived, and the girls eagerly plopped onto the couch to await whatever happiness was to visit them.

Austin helped Sabra with the tape, which she probably didn't need. I'm a terrible gift wrapper. But as you can see from his face, he was into the magic of the moment as much as she was.

And it is. The Moment. She ripped off enough paper to see Black's sweet face looking back at her, waiting for her (toddlerish) motherly embrace. Austin said, "do you know what that is?" And Sabra said "BLACK BABY!"

Sabra and Black's first picture

No, I have no idea what is wrong with Austin's crazy eyes in this otherwise cute picture. Normally he brings the Bar of Attractiveness way up, but we can't always be a winner, right?

Sabra was very intent on learning the basics of caring for Black's needs. Note how she is ignoring the baby in order to read. Where would she learn such behavior?!

And here she is feeding baby Black, under the careful and knowledgeable eye of Godfather. No doubt he was crying as I took this photo....if you know Daniel, you understand.

Being a multi-taking mommy, and learning from Godmama.

Moira, Zoe(doll), Kathryn, Sabra, Black

Sabra and Black, all tucked in and enjoying a nap

Since that day, Sabra has renamed her baby Charlotte, after a real-life baby in our church that she adores. The names merged, and now we have Black Charlotte. She tried for a few hours to change it to Little Lord Jesus, but I just felt weird about that. NO, not because of the skin color (although heeeelooooo everybody knows Jesus was an Eskimo) but mostly the gender. And the pink hat. And also, do you explain that? Black Charlotte, being much more appropriate and fitting for so lovely a doll, has stuck.

Sabra likes to sleep with her, change her diapers, her clothes (although it requires assistance, as those sweet little shoes are very hard to get on) and love on her.

She got what she wanted for Christmas. It won't always happen, but this year it did. And as part of the gift-giving team, it felt really good.

So there's my blog for today. I'm really quite sorry and rather embarrassed that it is neither profound, witty, or maybe even interesting. You've just read through a written version of 'hey, look at these new pictures of my kid drooling'. And you are too nice to be unkind about it.

But I am here, and wanted you to know. I didn't say much today, but we had a bit of a chat. A little 'how are you, the weather is nice' kind of chat.

Maybe that will get the ball rolling enough for me to say something of substance soon.

Look for it, wait for it....


Steph said...

ha! one of my favorite dolls growing up was a black baby too. I "HAD" to have her... and PS I always wanted an American Girl doll and am still waiting for it to happen:)

Savannah said...

I can't wait to meet Black Charlotte!

FYI I ALWAYS wanted Kirsten but I never got her.