You Can Learn Pretty Intense Stuff About Your Kids While Playing with Barbies

The other day, a sales girl at a clothing store asked a friend’s daughter what she wanted to do when she grows up — and her answer: “I want to be a housewife.”

Said friend’s jaw dropped and after explaining that she works full time (to avoid the clerk judging) she questioned where that answer came from. Aren’t kids supposed to aspire to bigger things? Why doesn’t she want to be an astronaut? A movie star? A professional baseball player… a lion tamer?

I laughed because well, it was really funny. Plus, stuff like that is only funny when it’s not your child. (Nope, it’s funny when it’s yours too.)

That said, lately Ry has said she no longer wants to be a famous Parisian fashion designer for dogs … So, I thought I’d set up a scenario where I could figure out her aspirations,  or at least identify some of her strengths — for future careers, by playing with Barbies.

I gave her the new Entrepreneur Barbie and thought we should figure out what she’s an entrepreneur of … Did she start a company? Did she invent something? Did she design a building, a line of jewelry?  What does she look up on the iPad (that came with her) who does she call on her cellphone?

Within seconds, I was told that she’s a talk show host. Within minutes, Ry had built a set and put two other Barbies on a sofa for her to interview.


Please notice they all have drinks, which I’m told is “In case they feel their mouths getting dry from being nervous.” Well, whatever she’s going to be, we can add insightful and systematic to her assets.

At first, she wanted the girls to be sisters: one was to be hugely successful and the other (who would be played by yours truly) wasn’t. Mine had been successful once, but apparently she ran her business into the ground and Entrepreneur Barbie was going to really “Oprah” into her feelings of failure and what it’s like to live in the shadow of her overachiever sister.

(By the way, is “Oprah” not a verb – meaning to delve deep into someone’s psyche and make them gush out all their feeling of inadequacy? Because If it’s not it should be. And I shall use it as such until told otherwise.)

“Ry, why does my girl have to be such a miserable disgrace?” I asked, wondering if I could make her some micro Barbie Xanax to pop before she went to the set.

“There needs to be drama Mom, there’s nothing exciting about two people with no conflict.” She replied, without missing a beat. I hate to admit it, but she’s kinda right, it’s just weird that she “Scorsese’s” all of our Barbie play. So, let’s add sensationalistic and perceptive to the list, shall we?

(By the way, is Scorsesing not a term for adding dramatic conflict for the enjoyment of the audience?)

I suggested that for once, we have a story with no drama — just a feel good interview about two successful friends …  (A scenario where I don’t have to be a Barbie who’s in dire need of therapy and suicide watch.)

“Fine… they can be friends who design stuff together.” Ry said, somewhat exasperated. I’m adding amenable anyway.

She had them arrive to the set in style.


Please notice their seat belts are buckled and the driver’s hands are locked at 10 and 2. Let’s add cautious and meticulous to the list.

The interview began. Entrepreneur Barbie asked some hard-hitting questions. What’s the name of your company? How old are you girls? Do you have people who model your stuff and if so, are you friends with said models? I think it’s safe to add inquisitive and unrelenting at this point.

I suggested one more question: “How did you guys meet and decide to start the company?”

Ry asked her Barbie and then explained that they were two poor girls living in a wealthy town. They noticed each others flair for fashion, but neither of them could afford to buy clothes. Nay, both were making their outfits from linens and curtains and sofas and things they bought at yard sales. It was fate. They opened a shop in their garage, but to afford new fabrics they first had to sell things their ancestors had given them. They also did that in their garage (not the ancestors giving stuff … the selling of their prized possessions and their only memories).

They sold vases, and plates, and pictures. Not artwork, the actual pictures of their ancestors … (I wasn’t kidding when I said their only memories). They would’ve taken pictures of the pictures with their smart phones, but they sold those to buy more fabric.

As Ry’s Barbie so eloquently put it, “It’s a tragic tale with a happy ending”. 

Can we add ingenious, unconventional and slightly dark?

I gotta admit, a little background music and I would have been teary. I mean, what a fabulous underdog story. Girl can’t buy clothes makes them from other stuff — It was like Pretty in Pink with a better ending … and that’s saying a lot!

Thanks Barbie … I’ve realized my kid has some pretty spectacular qualities, that will serve her well, whatever she chooses to be (which will clearly resemble a mix of Meryl Streep, John Hughes, Jay Z, and Stephen King).

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This post is a part of the Barbie Project. Thanks Barbie for choosing me to be a part of something I feel like I’ve always been a part of!  Learn more about The Barbie Project with the hashtag #BarbieProject


3 thoughts on “You Can Learn Pretty Intense Stuff About Your Kids While Playing with Barbies

  1. cherie

    Loved it!! I remember another child who also had a very vivid imagination and high aspirations. But I wouldn’t expected anything less from RY. Way to go girl!!!


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