Friday, December 4, 2020

Talking Barbie takes a bath

This week's topic Talking Barbie takes a Bath This post is not going to educate or problem solve, but it might make you giggle, which is actually what we all need these days. Sandy’s uncle Bernie was a very senior executive at Mattel, and a friend of Ruth Handler, the inventor of Barbie. What this boiled down to was that every December, an enormous box would be shipped to our house filled with the latest toys, and dolls. My girls ended up with an absurd amount of Barbies. And we even had boxes labeled with extra Barbie parts - arms, legs, heads... My kids could entertain themselves endlessly with these. My sister-in-law Barbara was just recounting a memory of watching her nieces play with the dolls. At one point Lauren declared “This is boring. Let’s play Barbie in Russian”. They proceeded to continue the activity that looked to be completely unchanged, but now the various Barbies spoke to each other with Russian accents. Somehow this added just the element of excitement that was lacking, and the play happily continued. One year, a very special Barbie made an appearance. This one talked. When you pushed the button on her back she would come out with a multipart statement such as “ Want to go to the Beach? With Ken? Tomorrow?” When you mixed and matched, it turned out to be a pretty wide range of Barbie appropriate statements (no Russian accent). This was a long time ago. My 4 and 7 year old daughters shared a bedroom and the third bedroom in the house was an office/toy room. One evening the girls were in the tub. They had brought some dolls in there with them. They were past the age of needing eagle eye supervision, but I was in my room keeping an ear out when I heard the new Barbie chatting. I went into the bathroom and said, “this Barbie should probably not be in the tub. I don’t think she should get wet.” No problem; they handed her over and I put her away. A short time later I heard her talking. “ Want to get some pizza/ with Skipper? On Monday?” “Hey girls...I told you Barbie can’t be in the tub” “She isn’t in here!” This is when I heard Sandy pipe up from the office…”uh, she is in here.” So, there she was, right where I had left her, just occasionally coming out with something to say. We figured at some point it would just stop. Bedtime routine continued and the girls were tucked in. Sandy and I were down in the kitchen when some time later the girls appeared; they were laughing and holding the Barbie. “We can’t fall asleep. She is keeping us up.” Sure enough, Barbie was now ranting and it was LOUD. “Pizza, shopping, beach, Ken, Ken….” Sandy, who was always the bedtime enforcer, took the doll and said, “okay...back up to bed, we will take care of her”. He wrapped her up in a towel and you could still hear her yacking away. So we did the next obvious thing, we opened the oven door (it wasn’t on of course) and put the towel wrapped rambling Barbie in it. You could still hear her. It was a little Twilight zone-ish. We looked at each other at the same time and said “batteries, Duh!” Laughing at ourselves that our ‘obvious’ solution had been to wrap her up and try to muffle her, we retrieved Barbie from the oven and with the help of a small screwdriver, removed the battery. We left her on the kitchen counter. The next morning, I was down in the kitchen making lunches for the kids to take to school (Alana in general refused sandwiches so I always had to be a little more creative.) I was still a little sleepy, so when the Barbie, sitting on the counter suddenly said “Do you want to go shopping?” I confess that I let out a scream and dropped whatever I had been holding. Unbeknownst to me, Sandy had replaced the battery before he left for work Since she was no longer yelling, we let her talk herself out until the battery finally died, at which point she was relegated to the status of just another Barbie. Wishing you all a season filled with plenty of things that make you smile!  ‌

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