This is appeal from a Granny Blogger to all the Mummy Bloggers out there.
I look after my grandchildren one day a week. A delightful job. One of my tasks, however, is to clean up for the cleaners – a syndrome I am sure many of you know well. This works quite efficiently because children soon become aware that grandmothers can take more liberties in throwing out “rubbish” than can professional cleaners.
But therein lies the moral dilemma which besets me.
I am very anxious to provide some room for play in my granddaughter’s bedroom by moving out some of the many dolls. She has some baby dolls but most are Barbie dolls who always arrive with all their goods and chattels. There needs to be some sort of doll genocide in the magnitude of about 30%.
This problem did not exist in my day as a parent. I think it has arisen because of the relative value we place on doll life these days as compared with “the olden days” when my children were young. They are cheap to obtain. Or perhaps the ubiquitous Ken is very busy when no-one is around? Whatever the reason there are far too many.
I started in today preparing to throw some out and I did this by separating the broken dolls into a one pile, particularly the ones missing limbs or other parts of their bodies. I stopped when I asked myself what message I was giving to my granddaughter about the role of the disabled in the community. At least she could tend them with her toy stethoscope and preferably can also continue to dress them in their Barbie evening clothes and invite them join the parties.
I then considered the option of donating some to a charity shop to raise money for the needy. Problem now solved. This would get rid of a lot and would also be a good lesson for her. But I thought a little longer. What message does it send about relocation, either as an immigrant or refugee when the only ones that would be accepted are the ones that are clean and in mint condition?
It would not be appropriate to suggest to my daughter that she deliberately begin a plague or a regime of starvation just so some would die naturally. Anyway the baby dolls would be much more at risk than the Barbies and that would be most unfortunate.
My private choice would be to allow those anatomically incorrect, beautifully attired and accessorized Barbies to fall on their faces and to be accidentally ground underfoot (probably by me). Weighted down by silicone as they are, there would be no chance they could manage to get to their feet. I have no right, however, to impose my feminist views on these issues on my granddaughter. I only have the right to discuss them with her.
So is the only option to keep them all, get a yet bigger doll’s house or an additional toy box in which to store them? But is that not just teaching her to want more so that later she will fall into the trap we are all in, that is that we need more things, bigger houses in which to store them, at least a room for each of our children and their possessions, separate living areas for children and adults so we are protected from decisions such as the one I am trying to make? No I cannot do that.
I suppose I could leave things just as they are and let doll overpopulation and overcrowding deplete all other natural resources in the bedroom so that the ecosystem in that room eventually collapses.
Mummy bloggers, help! What should I do? What do you do?