Juli learned that I saved my Barbies---that they were waiting in the attic, dying to play with her.
And somehow, I did not remember just how high-maintenance Barbie is.
The woman has too...much...stuff!
Here she is, arriving in her Jeep, with her horse trailer.
She's enjoyed playing her piano. (Which really plays, btw!)
And as she often wants a convenient meal, we offer...
why yes, the Barbie McDonald's!
When Micah saw the treasure trove being unearthed, he jumped in to help unpack the box---in search of my Ken doll.
(Unfortunately, my Shaving Ken came to an untimely end. He was not your traditional Ken; instead of molded plastic hair, my Ken had hair made of the same spun plastic as Barbie's. So when I waded through my collection a few years ago, he didn't make the cut. Ken was discarded, along with the inflatable Barbie furniture.)
We had the bright idea to email Aunt Paula and ask permission to borrow her Ken doll. After all, Grandma has boxes of Aunt Paula's toys in her basement. Surely Ken would be there...
Unfortunately, none of Aunt Paula's Barbies were in this box. (We believe they may be residing in Ohio.) But now, instead of one pink Corvette...
and one Barbie horse...
I could go on, but you get the point.
My house has been overrun with Barbie.
Many people have strong opinions about Barbie, from the size of her waist to her position as a role model for young girls. (Which is somewhat valid---but not the topic for today.) I loved playing with my Barbies for many, many years. And so I am willing to wrestle with my grownup feelings about Barbie...from what she stands for to the questionable material from which she is made.
From an environmental standpoint, I'm really trying to think through this whole Barbie saga. You have the sheer amount of plastic already existing in my Barbie collection from the 80s. Do I really want to discard all that into the landfill? Then you have the whole, "What's she made of?" The plastic in her head and her bendable legs is a form of PVC made soft with plasticizers, such as pthalates.
My mother has been known to tease me, "See, you just shouldn't think about it. Don't worry about what's in it."
But as a mom and as a person who reads current research, I know that the plastic toys we buy our children contain chemicals that can affect their health.
And so I think about Barbie.
And I struggle.
And I get mad and teary about being caught up in this position.
About having to choose between a great toy and the questionable safety of this world of plastic we have built for ourselves.
I get angry at the truth in my mom's statement.
It is easier not to know.
For now, Barbie will visit.
I comfort myself with the thought that winter's grip will be soon be a thing of the past.
It will be time for children to have adventures. The warm wind will entice them outdoors. Branches, rocks, and a discarded cotton sheet will become their fort.
And I will come back to wrestle with plastic another day.
Sadly, it's not going anywhere.
And because I don't want to end on a pessimistic note---
Healthy Child, Healthy World and The Environmental Working Group are great, reputable places to learn more about keeping our families safe.
Another step along our journey.