Nik and I have some fairly strong convictions on what kind of toys we want to have in our house. I blogged about this more extensively in this post. Specifically, we decided that we didn’t want to have any plastic toys in our house.* Along with no plastic toys, we also have decided that we don’t want any “branded” items in our house (namely, no Dora, no superheroes, no Angry Bird, etc.).*
Last fall, as I was continuing my quest to rid our house of unnecessary stuff (which seemingly will never end), I came across a box of my old dolls and doll clothes. In that box was my old Cabbage Patch doll and my old Strawberry Shortcake doll.
I LOVED those dolls. I have a picture from fourth grade of all the girls in my class who had Cabbage Patch dolls. Mine was named Jobena Freda and she had a green cheerleader uniform.
Jobena Freda was almost all cloth except for her head, which was plastic. Strawberry Shortcake had a plastic head plus plastic arms and legs. She also smelled like strawberries (still! 25-30 years later!). The smell of her breath was really comforting to me, even at age 36.
And so there was my dilemma: I played with those dolls a lot. My family gave them to me. But they were made of plastic and they were branded – two things that Nik and I had definitely decided we didn’t want in our house. Also, another change we made in our house years ago was to have nothing that was artificially scented (knowing that pretty nasty chemicals are used to create those scents). So I knew that we weren’t going to have Ellie play with the dolls (and breath Strawberry Shortcake’s toxic breath) and that they would probably just live in a box.
So what did I do? After a bit of agony, I sent them to Salvation Army. It wasn’t a decision that I took lightly but ultimately, I decided that my good memories of those dolls were enough. I didn’t need to also own the physical dolls and to have their presence taking up physical and emotional space in my life.
I did keep the doll clothes that my paternal grandmother sewed for those dolls. Those clothes are precious to me and I think they might fit Ellie’s doll. I also kept a few cloth dolls that my grandmother brought to me from other countries and a small doll that she made herself. I am looking forward to telling Ellie about her great-grandmother while we play dolls with those things.
Now that it’s been a few months since I gave those dolls away, I think I can say I made the right decision. It’s hard to find the balance between keeping and giving/throwing away. In this situation, I’m glad I chose “give away”.
*We certainly don’t keep Ellie from playing with plastic and/or branded toys when she is elsewhere. Part of why she so loves going to Yiayia’s house is all the fun brightly-colored noisy toys!