So, the Pirate Princess turned three this weekend. This is that magical age, the one where, suddenly, the toy companies are no longer concerned with your toddler choking on small parts and that means that a whole world of toys are now open to them. For boys, this means cars, Hot Wheels and Matchbox. We’ve been tripping over those things for (hard to believe) almost four years now. For girls, though, it means Barbies. That’s right. The big girl herself got a slew a Barbie Dolls. At last count, I think it was seven. She got everything from bath time Barbie to butterfly Barbie, to even Target Barbie. That’s right, folks. There’s a Barbie specifically designed for pretending to shop at Target, complete with her own (cardboard) Red Card and shopping basket. Basically, there’s a Barbie for everyone (even “Pancake Chefs”, apparently).
As I left the kids’ room last night after saying the Rosary, I almost tripped on one of the many dolls. I looked down, and there she was: our very first naked Barbie. In that instant, I realized that we were entering yet another stage in our family life: the stage of the naked Barbies. It was both a happy and a poignant moment. I mean, I’m thrilled! My baby girl, my first daughter, is growing up! She’s getting so big! Everyday, she tells me something funny and sweet and at times infuriating. We have conversations. She has her own sense of style and very definite tastes. But, my baby girl is growing up. It’s only so long now before she won’t want to wear tutus as standard play clothes. Eventually, she won’t want me to put two pony tails in her hair, complete with bows and ribbons. Some day, it will no longer be acceptable for her to share her brothers’ room or to run out of the bathroom after her bath, throw off her towel, and dance around in nothing but her birthday suit, singing, “It’s naked girl!” Happy and sad, all wrapped into that one glance at a half naked Barbie Doll lying on my living room floor.
To be honest, I’m not terribly sad over this. I mean, part of what I love about having children is watching them grow and change and become who they are meant to be. I love helping to shape them and guide them. But I think I’d be lying to myself (and you) if I didn’t share how sad that beach time Barbie, dropped on the floor without her swim top, made me feel at that moment. Everyone once in a while, it hits you, like a ton of bricks, that these babies won’t be babies forever, and now matter how excited you are to see them grow up, there’s always that twinge of sadness to see them, well, grow up.