Barbies, Babies, and Puffy Coats

One of the greatest offenses my mother committed was her desire to keep us bundled up and warm – even on the most important of holidays: Halloween. To this day, Halloween is still my favorite holiday – I’ve never missed a year of dressing up. And the point of dressing up, let’s be honest, is to show off your costume. Halloween in Chicago was usually very cold. There was often wind and rain. And so, my brother and I were always forced to wear our big, bulky jackets ON TOP of our costumes. Other kids were allowed to shiver in skimpy ballerina costumes, or freeze in store-bought superman capes. But we – who NEVER had generic store-bought costumes (my mother spent God-knows how many hours sewing various-colored princess costumes) – could not even promenade them around the block to trick-or-treat. I still cannot forgive her for loving us so much that year after year, her glorious costume creations went unappreciated by our neighbors. What was even the point?…

How devastating was it when your Barbie’s hair wouldn’t grow back? Your mother warned you not to cut it. Your babysitter said Barbie couldn’t pull off a bob. But you knew better. Yet somehow that chic page boy haircut you were going for just never quite looked right. And you were shocked when days later the hair still looked the same. You hated your once-favorite Barbie but had to keep playing with her as if her partial baldness did not horrify you – you could not let the adults win…

I was obsessed with pregnancy and childbirth as a child. Unlike normal children who enjoy playing mother and taking care of baby dolls, I preferred sticking a doll under my shirt, lying down on my back, spreading my legs, and birthday said doll. After the pushing and the screaming I tossed the baby aside and stuffed another one under my dress. Perhaps if I had known that real childbirth would involve pooping on the table, I would have preferred pretending the postpartum period…

My favorite Barbie was Pregnany Barbie. Her belly popped off to reveal an extremely life-like fetus. After the fetus was removed, her tummy would pop back flat. Just like mine did in real life.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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