The New Doll in Town


Some of you asked about the package that Morgan was so eager to get at on Christmas morning that she was biting into it before I could get her a pair of scissors. A few months ago, she came to me and said, “I’ve decided what I want for Christmas and it’s going to make you really happy.” I thought, wow, she wants a kitchen food scale! Cuz that’s what I wanted. But no…. “I want an American Girl doll,” she said.


If you have never been indoctrinated into the world of American Girl dolls, let me tell you that they are really lovely dolls. Really lovely expensive dolls. And I love dolls. I had a big doll collection when I was a kid, which I still have and if I ever get it all unpacked, I’ll post some pictures of them. (I know you men who read here can hardly wait for that!) I started putting dolls in Morgan’s crib before she was even born. At that time, American Girl dolls had become the latest “it doll” every girl wanted for Christmas. They are geniuses over at American Girl–they have baby American Girl dolls with bassinets and diaper bags and strollers and big girl American Girl dolls–dolls representing different eras in American history or you could even “make” your own doll in your child’s likeness by selecting the hair, eye, and skin color. They all, of course, came with oodles of outfits and books telling their stories. And!!! You could buy matching doll/child outfits so your child could parade about with her doll, dressed alike. Could anything be cuter?

Well, I say this in past tense, but for all I can tell, American Girl dolls are just as popular now as they were twelve years ago when I bought Morgan her first Bitty Baby (the “baby doll” American Girl doll) for her first Christmas.

Eventually she had two Bitty Babies. (Pictured here in the Bitty Baby bassinet.)

Each Bitty Baby comes with a Bitty Bear (there’s one of her Bitty Bears between the two Bitty Babies above.)

Every Christmas and birthday and Easter and sometimes for no reason at all she got a new Bitty Baby outfit, the latest spring outfit, the latest holiday outfit, the latest summer outfit, etc, and each outfit came with a Bitty Book and other accessories.

Here’s the Bitty Baby suitcase, loaded up with Bitty Baby clothes.

Eventually she got old enough that I got her a “real” American Girl doll. Then another one. She never wanted the historical characters–she wanted the “modern” American Girls.

And then she lost interest in the dolls completely, somewhere around age nine, and when they were then packed up and she didn’t see them for a few years after we moved to West Virginia, she didn’t mourn them a bit. Recently, she unpacked the last of her boxes and rediscovered her dolls. And then, suddenly, she was asking for another doll.

She is almost thirteen.

I recall having a brief resurgence of interest in dolls around her age, but still… She had never been as into dolls as I was to begin with. And, well, they are ridiculously expensive dolls. I was enjoying posher days when I was building her American Girl doll empire.

Besides, like, could she possibly be serious? She wants a doll for Christmas? She wasn’t asking for just any doll, either–she was asking for Samantha, not just another American Girl doll like she has but one of the historical American Girl dolls, the 1904 “Victorian” doll. The one I always wanted to get her but she wouldn’t have it because she wanted the modern girls. I said, “I think you should sleep on that.” (You know, while I ask your grandmother if she wants to buy that for you cuz I can’t. And while you regain your sanity and remember that you really want an iPod. Which, by the way, I can’t buy for you, either.)

I made her sleep on it that night and for about three more weeks.

Upstairs in her room, I noticed she’d put her dolls out to play. When Morgan was about seven, she had this same outfit–the shirt, the embroidered denim pants, the crocheted sweater. There was a little purse, too. She and her doll looked really cute when they dressed alike.

She had both of the dolls sitting at this little table that was mine when I was a child.

I don’t know what the Pumpkin Cowboy is doing there, but I don’t think he’s fittin’ company for the girls.

I also think I know where all my ribbon went.

And she really needs to clean her room.

Laundry, anyone?

In the end, she convinced me she was serious and her grandmommy bought her this doll for Christmas.

And thank goodness, because Samantha knocked the Pumpkin Cowboy out of his seat at the old tea party table and all is right in doll land again.

After the doll was ordered, I was unpacking more boxes of my own and I found a box of Bitty Baby things that I had hidden away years ago. Bitty Baby’s outfits, as I mentioned, always came with all sorts of accessories, little toys, little books, all sorts of cute things that she would just tear up when she was two and three and four years old. At first I let her have them, but eventually I started tucking them away. I would only give her Bitty Baby’s new outfit and I’d hide the rest. I didn’t want her to tear it up.

I’m not sure what I was saving it all for. I found the box inside a big box I unpacked and opened it up, looked at everything, and felt really bad for little three-year-old Morgan who would have enjoyed tearing all that up and so what if she did? I regretted not giving her the things when she was little and smacked myself for having been so uptight.

I had just seen a very small bit of a piece on TV about unopened gifts from long ago and it hit me–I’ll wrap this up and give it to Morgan for Christmas! The whole box! It’s like an old unopened gift–a whole bunch of them! She’s interested again, at least for the moment, in dolls, so surely now was the time, and if not now, when? I already wished I’d given it to her long ago. So I wrapped the box up and stuck it under the tree. And then forgot what it was. (I wish I could say I was kidding about that.) Morgan picked it up after she’d bitten into her Samantha doll box and asked what it was. I said, “I don’t know. I don’t remember buying it for you.” Then I suddenly remembered and got all excited and said, “Open it, open it!!”

As she opened the box, I explained to her what it was and where it had all come from.

She was thrilled, not only to have all that Bitty Baby stuff, but to have it all in vintage condition, perfect, not chewed up and spit on and torn like some of the Bitty Baby things I had given her before I started tucking them away. Looking back, I’m not sure I would do the same thing again as far as having hidden those things away from her when she was little, but…..

I liked how it ended.


  1. Sue says:

    Aww, I love happy endings! Wish I could have seen both your faces as she opened the box!

  2. Julie Curtis says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. How sweet! Enjoy her while you can. She’ll be buying Bitty Babies for her own kids before you can blink an eye.

  3. Heidi says:

    Would it be wrong to buy my son a doll??? 😆 What a lucky girl Princess is – can you send her up here for a couple of weeks so I can have some fun with her and her dolls????

  4. Heidi says:

    oops I hit enter before I wanted to – How much fun for both of you!! I do the same thing, save stuff for God knows why – the boys should not have to clean thier toys everytime they go in the dirt with them should they?

  5. Pam says:

    My daughters all have american girl dolls. My youngest was Bitty Baby crazy, went with her everywhere. I too have boxes of all of their stuff, hopefully. Glad your daughter decided on a historical one, we have Felicity, Joesphina and Kaya….

  6. Becky says:

    You may not have know what you were doing at the time. But the “powers that be” did. Knowing that one day Morgan would have a renewed interest.

  7. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I love how it ended also. My daughter’s Samantha doll is somewhere in the storage space. I don’t recall her ever actually playing with it though.

    I think, as mothers, we spend an inordinate amount of time beating ourselves up for parenting stuff.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  8. Diane says:

    What a great gift for the both of you. My dd was never really into dolls. She would rather have bugs, dinosaurs, animals. Electronic games. No dolls. 🙁 So sad. This year the family bought her an electric guitar. She held it watching tv most of Christmas day like it was her favorite doll. lol.

  9. Kacey says:

    All boys here, so can’t relate to the American Girl thing…but I’m glad the hiding so you don’t tear it up thing worked out to such a great ending. Aren’t we strange what we choose to “keep for good”.

  10. ticka1 says:

    Glad she got her doll. My DD13 always wanted one but never had the money. Glad her grandmother got her one and you giving her all the vintage toys that go with the younger dolls.

  11. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    My daughter is 38, and I have never heard of American Dolls before today. BUT – she had to have a Cabbage Patch Kid. Not the later hard bodied “babies”, but the original sculptured cloth Kid that had to be adopted, etc. Her grandparents helped with the “adoption” fee. When she was a little older, she used holiday or birthday money to obtain one of the “babies”, but my Dad promptly declared it the ugliest thing he had ever seen. My friend and I had to stand in line while our girls eagerly awaited getting the Kids’ dresses signed by Xavier Roberts at a local “clinic”. Then came the visit to the actual Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, GA. So, Suzanne, be grateful for Morgan’s wish! :catmeow:

  12. Kris says:

    When I was about Morgan’s age, I would look at pictures of myself at toddler age, playing with unfamiliar toys.

    I would always say…hey where is that? I couldn’t believe those toys were really mine because I didn’t remember them.

    By 13, those toys were history…I’m sure because they were worn out.

    How wonderful for Morgan to reunite with bits of her earlier days.

    Working hard at

  13. Melinda says:

    My daughter is 19 and we have Samanath and a trunk (big) full of the outfits. She still loves her, won’t let her little neices touch her. The doll and outfits will be a real heirloom she can pass down to her daughter someday.

    I’ve always thought they were worth the money.

    Happy New Year!

    Melinda in Birmingham

  14. Jeannie in OKC says:

    My daughter was in her early 20s when she decided to buy herself an AG doll that looked amazingly like her. It’s been about 10 years now, and she has half a dozen and I have 15 of them. Yes, that’s excessive, I know. I didn’t pay full price for any of them; they all came from ebay. I justified buying the historical dolls because I taught fourth grade. I read the books that go along with the historical dolls to my class and showed them the dolls. The girls absolutely adored them.

    One reason I love the dolls (which are prominently displayed in my home) is that they show the wonderful variety of physical features in our world. All little girls are beautiful to me. So maybe Morgan will be an adult who loves the dolls.

  15. Kim W says:

    Yep…gotta love those American Girl dolls. Our daughters (now almost 21 & almost 18) LOVED those dolls. Between them we have Felicity and Josephina – PLUS – there is (was?) a ‘copy-cat’ company, “Magic Attic”, w/stories, clothes and all and we got them a couple of those, too. But the AG dolls were ALWAYS the favorites. Even though they only had 2 of the dolls, they (we!) bought TONS of the accessories and – yes – the mathcing girl/doll outfits. The modern ones, though, so they didn’t look like pioneers everywhere they went. As a matter-of-fact, I even bought myself an AG cardigan sweater and I still wear it! lol But those dolls are still loved and cared for and have places of honor in the girls’ bedrooms.

    We homeschool (this is our 16th and last year since our ‘baby’ is graduating this spring – boohoo!!!) and we used several of the AM cookbooks and craftbooks for school projects. We still use some the recipes we found in a couple of the books; they are surprisingly good.

    As much as I am enjoying being the mom of older girls and LOVING that we are remaining so close and continure to enjoy each other so much, I still miss those Americn Girls days. Enjoy them while they’re here. They’re gone far quicker than you know.

    Blessings from Ohio…

  16. Leah says:

    I’m glad to here you all had a nice Christmas. The dolls are sweet. I think you did the right thing putting some of the doll acessories up, since they are expensive and collectables. I’m sure Princess did’nt miss them at the time and had plenty of other toys to play with and still enjoyed the doll. Now she has them in good condition and appreciates it.

  17. Amy says:

    I’ve heard about American Girl Doll Addictions.

    I’m so glad I have boys at moments like that.

  18. catslady says:

    I’m afraid I’m the wicked witch of the north. We have an uncle who has had this girl friend for 20 some years. Her grandkids are the same age as my kids. They get everything in the world that they want – seriously. My kids got the books but I just couldn’t justify paying that much for dolls and of course accessories (I have two girls) and her grandkids are one of each. My youngest never really liked dolls but my oldest did. It would have been most of their Christmas if they got the dolls and I decided there were a lot of other things they would prefer. I decided I just wasn’t going to try and compete because it would have been impossible anyway lol.

  19. Brandy says:

    I thank goodness my Daughter was never into the American Doll phase. But am very happy for you to have that surprise for your Daughter.

  20. Estella says:

    I have never heard of American Dolls until now.
    My girls are 42 and 38 and were never interested in dolls.

  21. Susan says:

    I’m sure Morgan appreciates them much more now then she would have before. That was such a sweet story!

  22. dlyn says:

    Aw – such a great ending for both of you!

  23. FringeGirl says:

    I want an American Doll girl for myself. My little girl doesn’t really like dolls. She likes stuffed animals…treats them like babies and even dresses them. It’s all kind of crazy. I wish she’d like the pretty dolls, but she doesn’t. It’s nice that your daughter is keeping her dolls out and enjoying them.

  24. Donna says:

    Huh, I have never heard of this doll and I was a big doll lover, as a child. Interesting. I am so glad Morgan was thrilled! :mrgreen:

  25. Diane says:

    What a wonderful surprise for Morgan and you! I love dolls too, but my 11 year old granddaughter has only wanted Barbies, Bratz, Hannah Montana, etc. till this year and she asked for an AG. I was a little surprised, but so glad to get it for her and she loved it. I don’t think you are ever too old!

  26. Jodie says:

    Well, now I want one! I’m 48, so they came out long after I was grown. I had a Tiny Tears doll, still sitting here in my office at home with a new dress & bonnet that I got at a craft fair several years ago. I also had a boy baby doll… he currently is nekkid standing behind Tincey Baby Zoeller (her name). He’s Bo Baby. I also had a big doll with hands that pressed together to make her kiss (called her Kissy, she’s in a box in the garage somewhere). I was an awful big collector of collections as a child (rocks, shells, stamps, postcards, photos, … you name it!), but my most favorite things were DOLLS. I had a family of Barbie, Stacy, Tressie, Buffy and Ken dolls with house, many clothes, shoes, furniture etc. That was my American Girl doll. I’ve always wanted one of the historical ones… the one with the little poor friend from next door. I can’t remember her name. I think at the start they were all historical with one modern girl. XXXOOO I think I’ll wait and get a new (live) dog 1st… after paying off my plumbing bill today (3K) for a new water heater and installation and some pipes and fixing a faucet too. TOMORROW AM so we have hot showers by Thursday 1/1/2009. Yeah!!! :bananadance:

  27. nancy h. says:

    Can I tell you how wonderful it is that a thirteen year old girl still wants a doll. Some kids have to grow up so fast,I think it’s awsome that your daughter can still be a little girl. She is lucky to have you as a mom. I think that box of saved goodies will mean more to her now than when she was three.

  28. AndiK says:

    Aaaaaaahhhhhh, American Girls!!! I have Kirsten up in the top of a closet at my parents’ house. When I was in elementary school, American Girl was actually owned by Pleasant Company (not Mattel), and there were only three dolls: Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly. My best friend had Samantha, and I wanted Kirsten FOR YEARS before I finally got her. I love that doll. I don’t have any of the accessory sets, but I might have to start collecting them for my future daughter (God willing!). I’m now going to go peruse the American Girl website and make a list.

  29. Kelly says:

    Samantha has since been retired, as have most of the historical dolls.So, if she keeps Samantha in good condition….

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