Barbie

Okay, I've been avoiding telling you this. But admission has to do with beauty, in some twisted way. On Sunday, my daughter had her fifth birthday party. All was well, her three friends, her Nana and Bapa, her nanny and her two kids, all came to celebrate her day. Her auntie came as well. Well, this auntie had different values, and struggles to keep in alignment with her values. Who am I kidding, we all do. But there is a way, she resists my boundaries with my own child. She has been wanting, and lamenting, that I do not want her to take my daughter to a Princess Ice Show. She says in front of the group, something like, "I've been thinking about this, and I think you need to not make this a big deal." Okay. I should mention, she has a masters in social work.

So, we have the cake, and then the gifts. I have to admit this makes me uncomfortable, and feel out of control. We all watched as my daughter, painstakingly so, unwrap her gifts, legs crossed and all. She is not a ripper, she, with care and ease, removes the tape, and so on. You get the picture.

She gets to the bag my sister gave her. It is full of individually wrapped gifts, excess is what she knows. First, there is a four strand bracelet, chunky in style. Then, a necklace, a jewelry box, a large floral print shirt that cinches in at the waist, with a three-inch-in-diameter sparkling, rhinestone ring, right underneath a bra line, is she had one. For a grand finale, a Barbie.

She unwrapped it, and, of course, she hadn't seen one before, as far as I know. She exclaimed, "Barbie!", like she was a long, lost friend. She wanted to open the box then, and there. I whisked it out of her hand so quickly, and said "Later, we have guests now."

I wanted to cry, die, and pummel my sister. I felt betrayed, and like her actions were passive aggressive. I couldn't even look at this Barbie. I flung it high up into the closet. The gifts felt like they were for a woman, not a FIVE years old. Not my five year old.

I did cry. I talked to clients at work. My grounded older clients said, don't sweat it. Let her have them. There is no harm done. The more you resist, the more your daughter will want them.

My partner said he overheard our daughter playing in her room. She was sitting on the bed, looking at her valentines from school. Of course, there were a few Princess theme valentines. She told them, "You know, my mama doesn't like you."

I laughed, and then I felt sad. I can't get nothing by her. She is tuned into me, more than anybody I know.

I came home from work on Monday, and pulled the exiled Barbie down out of the closet, and gave it to her. It is disgusting for me to look at, nothing real about her. My daughter is playing with it a bit, she complains that the plastic shoes come off too easily.

This is worth a therapy session I am sure. But for now Barbie has made her way into my home and I am bereft. and still digesting it all.

Posted on February 20, 2008 and filed under boundaries, Family, Life, Love.