No Scary Dolls


Please don't judge me, but I think baby dolls are scary. Am I the only mom who thinks so?

My daughters, four and two years old, started playing with dolls very recently. One doll was passed down to us, and she's a pretty ordinary doll. Her only trick is to close her eyes when she lays down, and open them when she sits up. She has no hair, so playtime is mostly about getting dressed up in one of three outfits she owns. (My local toy store owner tells me that you enter a whole new dimension when dolls have hair.) We recently got another doll that could pass for her twin so each of my girls could bring her own small friend to their many tea parties. We own dozens of stuffed animals and two dolls.

When my first daughter was born, she received stuffed animals and only a couple of dolls. The dolls sort of freaked me out. They all had weird, unnatural looks. I'm not a fan of horror movies, but I can see how a doll ended up as a central character in one.  The dolls for my newborn got exchanged for stuffed animals and snuggly blankets.

I'm not a fan of horror movies, but I can see how a doll ended up as a central character in one.

This month I went on the hunt for baby doll clothes for the dolls we already own, and I found myself in the doll aisle of the big box stores more than once. Have you seen them? A few babies are very sweet looking, but most of them are questionable at best.  Not to name names, but the big name baby that claims to be alive was the most disturbing, with overblown features and coloring not normally found in nature. The ones that claim to be from the cabbage patch aren't much better. Some of the dolls even performed stunts, jumping up and down in their playpen packaging, without my request or intervention.  They looked and acted creepy.

Don't get me started on Barbie. As a doll, she's charmed, for sure, with her limitless outfits, career choices, homes, and vehicles. But sharing a home with her? I'll pass on her perkiness in favor of the warmth and cuddles offered by an otter, chicken, or even Philly Phanatic — of the stuffed variety.

Experts tell us that the principal job of young children is play. Through pretend and role plays, they figure out how the world works. They create relationships with their toy playmates before their flesh and blood contemporaries. 

My girls love to have play adventures and parties with their toys. I like to think that they are modeling diversity and inclusion in their play, whether their guests have feathers or tails, beaks or whiskers, hands and feet or roll-out noses. Because as long as I am the one looking at the dolls and toys in their bins by the dim light of the family room after dark, we will have no scary dolls. We have one doll for each girl, and that's enough for this mom this year.

Darla DeMorrow is a Wayne, PA mom, professional organizer and author. Check out her blogs, Heartwork Organizing and The Pregnant Entrepreneur.


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