This title was dictated to me from a higher authority, wielding plastic, molded dolls rather menacingly.
Today was the day I woke with a headache, and my daughter woke with a vengeance. She stalked me around the house, demanding to play Barbies. I pleaded a ‘hurt in my head’, and indicated the library books. Sierra wants her babysitter to come over to play with her. Said babysitter has already been here this weekend. “Taylor can come next week, honey.”
“I want Taylor. She plays Barbies with me.”
I resist the impulse to describe, in painstaking detail, the 14 hours of labor it took to put her on this Earth. I calmly take two more ibuprofen.
But Sierra wants me to ride bikes with her. We do that for awhile. She falls and injures her elbow. Her understandable objection to the sly machinations of gravity seem particularly loud. She wants me to make Macaroni and Cheese. To fix some lemonade. To sew up her kitty. And of course, she still wants me to play Barbies.
I think I put up a good, parental effort; but I could not, would not play Barbies. “Tomorrow, sweetie.” Those vacuous, little Mattel faces demanding voice and personality. Could I make the Barbie’s whisper for the duration of the game? Unlikely. Screams and dramatic shows of maniacal laughter and sobbing, these antics characterize our dolly playing games. “No Barbies, Sierra. Head. Hurts.” She gives me a disappointed look, eerily reminiscent of my mother.
The demands continue. I enlist SpongeBob, and the parental veil of busyness, curling on the bed between her imperious stints to wedge my head between a stack of pillows. She follows me into my cave and plays some music, very loud. I order her to exercise the art of self-entertainment. She entertains the dog into a howling duet. Weakly, I suggest she practice piano, while I flip through brochures of boarding schools. Forty-four rounds of ‘Heart and Soul’ later, I know I am beat. I drag my feet into the room, bowing to the victor.
And to her side-kick who is 12 inches tall, and a ludicrous shape.
Is it an accident, do you suppose, that a smart, adorable, self-sufficient child should transform into an aggressive tower of neediness the very day her darling mum would just need to hide in a dark, empty closet? But there are no accidents, just God’s odd sense of humor. I can hear a deep chuckle rumbling under the plates of the earth as I wrap my hand around a small blonde figure and try not to beat its hollow head against the wall. We are God’s children, it is written. But I wonder if we aren’t just a big game of Barbies.