The most amazing thing about a child’s imagination is that anything is possible. Even the most intelligent, imaginative adult can’t grasp the sheer power of that one ability. We tend to lose sight of how much we can add with our minds by expecting everything to be realistic and tangible.
As a child, my Barbies could be on a ski trip — barreling down a steep mountain. They didn’t need to be bundled up in coats and boots, they didn’t need skis … hell, I had a Ken that didn’t have a head for at least 6 months before he got replaced.
Now as an adult, if I’m playing with Ry and we’re at a ball, I want my Barbie to be perfectly coiffed and impeccably dressed in the attire appropriate by the invite (should I not have Ry make invites?) annnnnd I will take an extra 15 minutes to find a pair of heels that actually match the gown (and more impressively, each other) before letting said ball scenario begin.
Ry, on the other hand, will bring a single Barbie to dinner and the same ball is attended by her date, a dashing pepper shaker (pun always intended), her bestie, a spoon and her nemesis (who gets her just desserts), a limp french fry.
Where I see all her toys as separated by type — to be used with their own clothes and accessories and tree houses and vans and boats and the myriad other things we’ve purchased to go with said toys, she sees them as equal but different playthings. Her Barbies mingle with her Monster High dolls and those tiny little Lego people whose hair constantly snap off of, and the odd looking figurines she’s collected from Happy Meals — and they all seem to get along.
I’m always in awe of this ability to use whatever is available without complaint or mention. Usually, Ry ignores their differences completely. Ken could be dancing with a My Little Pony and it’s not nearly as awkward as it would be in real life. Every once in a while she’ll use their differences to help take down a group of bullies or mean girls. This, I especially enjoy.
She’ll say to a Monster High doll who’s on some sort of foreign exchange program and finds herself at human school, “You’re green, you don’t belong at this school. Go back to Monster High with the other horrible monsters … where you belong!” Then the green scaly girl with snakes for hair will sob … or turn people into stone … or run and hide and Ry’s hero character will step up and tell the bully that it doesn’t matter if you’re green and scaly, or a robot made of metal, or your hair snaps off your head, because it’s our differences that make us special. She may even pepper in some Mr. Robinson-esque lesson about how it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Yes, it’s all sappy and sweet, but she says it with conviction, as if she doesn’t mean it to be cliché because she doesn’t. It’s an after school special and a One to Grow On all rolled into one, but darn if it doesn’t get me every time.
Though I hope she never loses the power of her imagination to see a pepper shaker as a handsome prince, I can’t guarantee that like most adults, that ability won’t fade. However, the sappy seemingly scripted story lines she enacts make me confident that her acceptance and even celebration of people’s differences is already imbedded — and I can’t hope for much more than that.
XO- Jenny From the Blog
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
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