He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Barbie meets June Cleaver

There have been various times in my illustrious parenting career that I have found myself taken off guard by one thing or another in regards to convictions that other people think I should have about what is right and/or wrong for my girls to do/watch/read play with at any given time.  The trends constantly seem to be changing and quite honestly, it's kind of hard to keep up!

Now, I honestly don't know if this is because we live overseas and are somewhat out of the loop, or if it's because I am, well, me.  I do on occasion miss things that may be glaringly obvious to the rest of the world.

Let's pretend that it's because we live overseas.  At least that makes me feel better.

Anyway, there have been times when we've returned to the states for a season that it's taken me (and the girls) a while to catch up with what's what.  There is a certain beauty to naivety as I talked about in this post about helping our girls hang on to their innocence, but it can also be overwhelming to return "home" and not be at all in the know about current trends.

Jason can definitely relate more to this than I can, having grown up overseas in a time where internet did not exist, and their communication with family in the states involved recorded cassette tapes mailed back to the states from Africa every few months.  Here's a perfect example from his childhood ...  His family returned to America in 1986 for his 6th grade year.  He had no idea who Michael Jackson was. In 1986.  Not good for a preteen boy trying hard to blend in and not stand out!

As dangerous as the internet can be for our little ones, it does help keep us connected that's for sure and for that I am thankful!  My girls biggest "well don't I feel out of it moment" involved coming home from the first week of school and wondering who in the world was Ole Miss and WHAT was the SEC?  I can live with that!

I'm talking more about parenting trends.  There have been a few things over the years that I have found myself caught in an awkward situation for recommending or talking positively about a toy or TV show that I had no clue that a large majority of Christians in America were avoiding or sometimes even boycotting for one reason or another.  Usually due to some news story or pop-culture event that I was completely unaware of.

Disney Princess movies, Harry Potter books, Hannah Montana to name a few...

Barbie is another good example.   I remember being somewhere in the states with Abbey and Maddie when they were younger (maybe a birthday party, a church event- I'm really not sure).  In the course of the conversation I referred in some way to Barbie's and looking for a particular item related to Barbie and being thankful that it was so much cheaper in the states.  Several of the ladies in the group commented to me that their girls were not allowed to play with Barbie and that was that.  I remember thinking, "huh..."  "okkkaaaaay" and wondering what I was missing.

I have since seen plenty of scantily clad Barbie's to know that yes, there could be an issue there, possibly especially in a home where there are young boys along with the young girls.

That's not the point for this post though.  

I was helping the girls clean up their Barbies recently (yes, we still shamelessly play them- ok more Naomi and Anabelle now but still) and as I was putting the clothes away, I realized that I really want to showcase WHY it never crossed my mind that Barbie is inappropriate or even anywhere close to scandalous.

It's because, thanks to my amazing Memommy, my Barbie's (yes, MINE, they have been passed on to my girls), tend to look more like June Cleaver as opposed to Britney Spears.

When I was little, Memommy made me a whole wardrobe of Barbie clothes fashioned after the current styles and she made another batch a few years ago for my girls.  Those are the clothes I grew up dressing Barbie in.  I didn't know anything else, and really, neither have my girls.

The clothes are starting to show a little wear (not surprising as some are close to 30 years old!) and I wanted to be sure to record these beautiful dresses and Memommy's amazing talent.

(I am obviously a horrible photographer and yes, Barbie's hair is way out of control...  Focus on the outfits please)

These are some of my favorites.  Possibly because growing up, Memommy also made a lot of my clothes and clothes for my aunts and my mom, and so these outfits remind me of those.

Several of us had something in the navy blue with the white bows.

The dress I wore to my 6 year birthday party was made out of this rainbow fabric.  I think my mom and aunt also had skirts (or dresses?)

The detail she put into all these clothes is amazing!  Almost all of them have snap closures and some sort of detail work like extra lace or extra pearl buttons like on this one...

One of my all time favorites was the Barbie wedding gown that Memommy made.  Complete with a separate slip underneath and a matching veil (this veil is actually the one she made for my girls but mine was similar)

She's dressed in the wedding gown made for me, and the one I'm holding is the one made for the girls...

Showing the separate slip underneath...

Don't worry, Barbie was also well prepared in the PJ department...

Did you have these full length nightgowns growing up?
I had matching ones for each of these, but this was my favorite...

Again, I love the detail!

Also, a cozy robe (including pockets) for winter nights...

This next group of dresses is probably what led me to the June Cleaver analogy...
I love them down to the pearl buttons and lace necklines...

And Barbie should always be prepared with good outerwear, don't you think?
She has a versatile full length cape as well as a shorter version.  

If it's really cold, she has a stylish winter coat with an attached matching scarf.

(by the way, Jason just came and looked over my shoulder and commented that it's "freaky" to have all these pics of Barbies- again, the point is the hand made clothes!  If I had itsy bitsy Barbie sized hangers or some other way to display, I would.  Work with me here...)

Barbies in our house can still dress up for a night on the town too.
Here are some of my favorites...

Pretty sure I had a Christmas dress made from the plaid on the left.
I've always loved this one, right down to the satin pink accent ribbon that ties over her shoulders.  Can you see the triangular shape of the hem around the bottom?

This is a 2 piece outfit with individually sewn on beads for decoration.  Hard to believe it's lasted 30 years!!

And not to worry, Barbie could also dress down, 70s/80s style. 
Warm ups and flare let pants...

Meticulously sewed down to the last detail...
(even pleats down the front!)

We have quite a selection of mix and match skirts and blouses.  Again, with incredible detail.  

These are some of my favorites also, because of the fabrics that remind me of my childhood, and because some of these outfits are exactly what I would picture Memommy wearing...
(pretty sure that pearl buttoned shirt with the built in tie around the neck is back in style...but, like I said, I miss a lot of trends so I may be wrong...)

I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that this outfit was made to look just like a dress that my Aunt Ginny had when I was little.  It's one of my favorites too..

And no 80s Barbie wardrobe would be complete without a pair of coullotes (does anyone know how to spell that?) and a skirt and blouse of matching floral fabric...

And the grand finale?  What wardrobe is complete without a pretty, versatile apron that can be slipped on over any outfit?

As you can see, I wasn't "missing" anything in my friends innocent remark that her kids weren't allowed to play Barbies.  I have since observed enough in retail Barbie aisles to know that there is definitely a good amount of inappropriate Barbie clothing.  I wasn't missing anything, I was just exposed to a different Barbie world.  One where Barbie's clothing was tasteful, versatile and just plain fun for any little girl to play with.  

So don't worry moms, if you send your little girls to our house to play with our little girls, they may be exposed to Barbies  (let me know if you don't want them to!), but it's a different breed of Barbie over here.  She's tastefully covered and fashionably dressed in outfits created by my incredibly talented Memommy.  I guarantee you won't find doll clothes like these anywhere else!

Stay tuned for pics of our homemade American Girl doll clothes.
(maybe those pictures won't be quite as freaky?)


Sharron Hawk said...

I always love reading your stories--and think about how blessed your girls are to have you and Jason as parents!

Kelly M. said...

I love this post and all the great memories the Barbie clothes hold for you. I am so impressed that you held onto them all these years. It makes me wonder what happened to all clothes my grandma made for me. I wish I had held on to them. Jason's comment is hilarious.