Screw you, Barbie

April 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm (The Easy Chair)

I just saw on the news that young girls who want to play Barbie online have to pay a subscription fee. WTF?

You can play Barbie online?

Whatever happened to the imagination version of Barbie? Wish I had a dollar for every Barbie I’d come across in my lifetime, the ones with no clothes and the Wendy O. Williams haircuts. Nowadays the Barbies just stay in the box, and you have  to cough up cash to play on the computer. I guess it saves plastic. How’s that for an Earth Day tip?

Yesterday I played with a living doll.

After a couple of weeks of settling in, Mizelle and the Frenchman decided it was time to introduce me to their baby. There have been a few medical complications, (nothing too serious) so they’ve been making daily pilgrimages to hospitals and doctor’s offices. ‘Tis best to err on the side of caution. As I wandered downtown, getting exercise and looking for mischief, (as well as getting out of my ever-encroaching room) the cell phone rang. “Where are you? Whatcha doing?” Turns out they were five minutes away. By the time I got out of the mall they were pulling up, and I crammed into the front seat of their Geo Metro. We went back across the bridge and on our way to a late lunch.

Mizelle and I used to spend a lot of time at an Asian buffet in southeast Portland. Though it’s close to my house, it’s about a mile walk, or two bus transfers, and with her getting married and all I just don’t go there much anymore. When we walked in, the hostess greeted us warmly, the waitress yelled hello from across the restaurant and commandeered us into her section.

Then she saw the baby carrier. “Ooh! A baby!”

I heard that a lot yesterday.

Finally the wraps came off, and I got my first look at Ms Lilypad. Tiny, about the size of a football, and such an expression! (Sort of a lemon-sucking look.) Her blue-gray eyes blinked open, saw the hubbub, and she dozed right back off.

The Frenchman had wandered off to wash his hands. (Whoever said the French are unclean don’t know this guy. He washed his hands at least three times. He wasn’t like that before the kid.) The waitress looked at me, smiled, asked, “You the daddy?” then looked at Lily again. A stern frown on her face… I could see her processing the situation. Mizelle pointed to the returning Frenchman.

“That’s Papa.”

We took turns picking over the buffet and watching the kid. She slept a lot, only squawked once when it got too warm inside. A bit of milk-on-tap took care of hunger issues, and she went back to sleep. She didn’t wake until it was time to go.

Time for my close-up! “Let’s see if Uncle Charlie can remember how to do this.” Mizelle handed me her bundle of pride and joy, and Little One nestled into the crook of my arm. She gave a little squeak, there was a stretch and yawn, and she was back out. I patted a gentle rhythm on her bottom, and got a giggle out of the Frenchman when she farted. “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!”

After about ten minutes my arm started going to sleep. Mom had finished her ice cream, so I passed Little One back. I shook out the needles. “Been a while?” asked Mizelle.

“Yeah, about ten years, I think.”

The last time I held an infant was my niece. She was born a few months after I’d met Mizelle, and during those early times Mizelle would come over and babysit with me. I’d always teased her about being such a natural, though she swore she’d never have kids.

I’ve conveniently forgotten about that.

Before leaving, Mizelle had to get pictures. She went through every one of my coat pockets trying to find the camera, and caught two exposures of me and the kid. The kid looks lovely, but I have two of the stupidest expressions. One would rival Foster Brooks for drunkest-looking person ever; in the other I look like a short-busser. Oh well, the kid will have something to tease me about when I’m old.

*When* I’m old.

When dropping me off at the house, I had to bring them in for a quick show-and-tell. My niece was excited, and had baby in her arms as soon as it was logistically possible. I snapped a picture, and it looked much better than the ones of moi. (I’ll let my niece be the resident baby-holder for photos from now on.) She’s already lined up a babysitting gig, and will probably be pestering me on a daily basis to find out if Lily is old enough to ‘come visit for a while.’

It’s all such a beautiful thing. The young girl I watched grow from post-teen to young mom is mentoring another young girl I’ve watched grow from the floor up, and now there is another generation of young woman along the way. I’m sure they will be there for each other in times of need, as well as times of fun. Mizelle is a playful sort, a good influence, and someone I would be proud to see my nieces grow up to be like.

Screw you, Barbie.

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