I've mentioned that Petunia's birthday is coming up. There was a big annual get-together for extended family and friends at my in-laws' house yesterday, and this party traditionally includes a celebration of her birthday since it is always held within a few days of her actual birthdate. (The Princess Tiana cake was ordered for this event.)
Petunia's godparents (a cousin of Himself's and the cousin's wife) were able to attend the party this year for the first time in a while. They have two boys, both older than Thing One--one teen, one tween. Because she never had any daughters, and consequently has largely been deprived of the opportunity to purchase 'girl stuff,' the godmother tends to go a bit overboard with presents for Petunia. Her birthday present this year was an American Girl doll!
For any who may be blessedly uninitiated into this crazy world, I envy you. These dolls do have a legitimate educational element, but they are also very expensive (north of $100!) and totally commercialized--books, clothes, toys, furniture, accessories and all sorts of other related paraphernalia are available. There are 15 stores in major cities entirely devoted to these infernal products. Friends who have gone to the Manhattan store tell me that it includes a cafe (for mother-daughter-doll teas), a photo studio, and a hair salon--for the dolls. Individual 'official' outfits for these dolls start at $30 and rise exponentially from there. In the immortal words of Dave Barry, I am not making any of this up. For obvious reasons, I've been throwing away the catalogs the second they arrive at our house in an attempt to keep Petunia from ever finding out that these pernicious exercises in marketing exist!
Sadly, Petunia's godmother has now opened her eyes. Her first words to me after opening the gift: "Mom, can we go buy my doll my more clothes?" GROWL.
Fortunately, several of the other mothers of girls at the party told me that Michael's sells a line of clothes that fit these dolls and are more reasonably priced. Hopefully that is in fact the case. Not that we can't afford some doll clothes, but this company just annoys the hell out of me and I just don't want to buy any of their overpriced, overmarketed stuff on principle!