20 July 2005

princess of coolness

ava gets lost in her pollies. she creates elaborate worlds with the tiny polly pocket dolls and all their microscopic accessories. actually, she will use anything that is in keeping with her vision of a pollynation... any little thing (marbles, rocks, straws, happy meal toys) that will further enhance the story of what she calls a 'set-up'. these elaborate scenes usually start out with a couple of items and then grow into expansive and highly detailed sets, with all sorts of goodies precariously balanced and placed carefully and intentionally. last night, we asked her about her latest masterpiece.

"so, what's the story on this one?"

"well, this girl here at the top is the princess of coolness and she is the one who will help to make all the other ones cool."

"oh... wow."

and I wanted her to explain what she meant. as in, what is your definition of coolness, li'l girl? should mommy be concerned? should mommy worry that this may be the beginning of a neverending pursuit rooted in everything that is wrong with our empty, image-obsessed society? but we never got that far and I don't really think that. it was bedtime and we were all tired and just beginning the long, long process of putting the kids down. as she was jumping into bed, she made this dramatic declaration:

"mommy, please don't touch this set-up because in the morning I have A LOT OF WORK TO DO."

you and me both, kid.


  1. oh remember those days - what fun they were. setting up was the best part. then it would be time to play in it and that would last about 5 minutes. sounds like you've definitely got a visual child there with lots of imagination! oh to be young again with "so much to do in the morning"!

    btw - your bedtime routine sounds like mine. it's starting to take longer and longer.

  2. I, too, was beginning to wonder about Ava's infatuation with "coolness," as she's more aware of it each day. As long as she's into Polly Pocket and some Barbies, I'm okay with it. But no Bratz. A bad idea all around. (But I've seen her eye those at Target. Rats those Bratz!)

  3. jan-- yeah, watching ava reminds me of how I spent hours doing the same thing when I was a kid. only mine were makeshift houses for barbies. I always enjoyed the challenge of trying to find everyday items to convert into a groovy home. the coffee table became 'multi-level open-air' house. maxi-pads wrapped in handkerchiefs made for great beds and sandwich bags filled with rice and covered with fabric made for fabulous beanbag chairs... then, once I had finished setting it up, I lost interest... isn't that funny? yes, I miss getting lost in my own creativity like that...

    glad to know we're not the only ones enduring marathon bedtime rituals... it seems like ours are getting longer and longer, too! I swear, each night I am counting the minutes (the seconds!) until the house is quiet and I can do my happy-girl-night-owl freedom dance...

    ward, we've got to stand strong against the bratz... we were at target yesterday and she said that was the lunchbox she wanted!

  4. You seriously need to take a picture of one of the "setups" so that we can see. You know ... if that isn't too intrusive or whatever.

    It made me think of climbing up on the roof as a kid and throwing my GI Joes off ... the ones with parachutes that would deploy and save Joe from certian fractures and abrasions.

    And yes, Ward ... stay the heck away from the Bratz ... go down another aisle ... shop at another store ... move to another city ... unplug and go natural ...

    I went to far there didn't I.
    Just watch out for those darn Bratz!

  5. hilarious! sounds like Jaylie:) just not QUITE as detailed. Ava is the little detail girl..

  6. first of all i love that she calls it a 'set up' that is too darn cute. second of all, it brings back memories for me too of barbie dramas that unfolded across the living room. my grandmother would save all sorts of random tiny things for me that became part of the 'set up'. round chairs made from oatmeal boxes cut and stuffed with cotton and then 'upholstered' in fabric. somehow my dad made a ceiling fan for my barbie house out of plastic wine cork and some popsicle sticks. those were the days :)

  7. she really is the most detailed child Ive ever met--and that is coming from a very detail oriented person! those set ups are quite amazing! and the coolness thing--how fast they grow! i remember i once said "that's cute" and was quickly corrected that it was "cool." :)

    regarding the Bratz lunchbox, when I run into problems with items I dont want luxie to buy, i, well, make up my own elaborate story about why she cant have it. "it's for big girls, and your too little" or "those are too much money, you can choose these or these." sometimes it's not exactly true, but it's close enough for me. i dont know if it will work with ava, but it's worth a shot!

  8. Yeah, we've tried the "you're too little, they're for big girls," bit and we were promptly reminded that she IS a big girl! She's catching on to us.

    We might have to say that the lunchboxes are laced with poison and we may fear her touching them, or perhaps we could say that Baby-cat is inside it and may jump out and freak the poop out of her,... or something along those lines.

    Either way, it's going to be really interesting when school begins....

  9. Okay, I'm not a parent yet, but won't a simple, but firm NO work?

    With such a clever and creative child it seems like no explaination would satisfy her.

  10. It's amazing what kids pick up and what they make up on their own ...
    for instance, when we are getting out of the car, I'll let Ava crawl into the front seat and go out my door with me. Well, when Sue is with me, Ava chooses to get out her door. Remembering she's three years old, I asked her why she didn't want to get out daddy's door - to which she replied, "Girls Rule."

  11. I don’t have children, but I can relate with you guys on certain points. To make a long story short, on my niece’s 6th birthday she wouldn't acknowledge my existence, I pressed the situation a little, and she eventually gave me a “talk to the hand” and the birdie in one movement, except she gave me the index finger. My jaw hit the floor. I admire parents a great deal and give all of you so much credit. If I may, I recommend the book Flirting with Danger. A sociologist, I believe, went to a college and asked females of diverse backgrounds the question “what makes a woman, a woman? How does girl become ‘a woman’?” It talks about when these women were 5 years old or so and how that influenced their perceptions on the topic. I found it fascinating, heartbreaking, and something to which I could relate.

  12. wow! i did the coffee table/multi-level groovy space-age pad myself! hee hee - maxi pads! that is creative!

  13. OK----You KNOW setting up IS THE best part...Pennie and I were just recalling the good ol' days with all the "peoples" (little people play sets) and Stacie had the most FABULOUS turquoise "A" Frame house with every accessory imaginable! Talk about jealous! And i wanted to play with that set EVERY day! AND I DID NOT WANT THE "chewed up ones" that the dog had gotten to!!!! Good thing Stacie's Mom babysat me and i could! Ok i can't help singing that darn "stacie's Mom" song every time i say her name now! Geezzzz.
    Saw one of those "A" frames on ebay last month and really was thinking about blowing the 20 odd dollars to get it and just "set it up!" 'cause as Jan said, you then would only have 5 minutes left to play and then you would have to "clean up!" The best thing is that i hear my kids saying the SAME exact things! Like they will be outside making a "club house" for about 3 hours straight with only the few popcicle and water/potty breaks and then when it's time to stop or eat or someone has to leave, i hear "BUT MMMMOOOOMMMMMM! We JUST started!!!!!!!!!" and then they go into this quite lengthly whining detail on WHY they can't stop and how unfair it all is! Oh to be a kid again! Come to think about it, I actually whined a "But i JUST started" myself, the last time we scrapped and stamped here with the gals.......hmmm...maybe i am NOT as grown up as i thought! ha ha

    And I always tell the truth about those Bratz and the like....
    "Those toys are yucky. Some people like them, but at our house we DO NOT. period." The inevitable "WHy" will come, but all the while you should have been running PAST those toys by now and can look at something, ANYTHING else and change the subject by then. Good grief, have you learned NOTHING these last five years?!?!?!? If you have not mastered this skill...of running through the aisles while talking mumbo jumbo...then you need to get a sitter and practice practice practice. Sean and i do this every now and again to exercise off a good date nite dinner and dessert. Ya know, just to refresh...plus late at nite, the stores are less crowded with fewer chances of accidents, but good for practicing manuverablilty through stockboys and such.
    let me know how it goes!
    love ya~

  14. "Okay, I'm not a parent yet, but won't a simple, but firm NO work? "

    Sounds good in theory, but in actuality, it's much much harder than you think. We do tell her "no," but then there's the inevitable "But why?" Do we tell her the truth, that these dolls are far worse for Ava's image, with their strange pouty mouths, heavily made-up eyes and face and bad attitudes, as well as incorporating a sense of materialism and commercialism at such an early age with their wild cars and funky clothes? Or do I just cop-out and go the regular route?

    "Because I said so."

    Man, I didn't mean to throw off the original topic here with my side comment about Bratz. Thanks for all the suggestions, but we do fine with Ava and handle it pretty well, I would like to think. Ava's a good kid with a pretty good disposition, so she makes it really easy for us when a situation like this arises. Usually we do just say "No," and she minds us.

  15. I loved setting up. I used to take books and open them then stand them up to form walls for elaborate "mansion" floor plans my barbies would interact in.

    Bratz- man those things.... i look at them and wonder what the world is coming to? Who in the world though that would be a good idea to create? obviously they must sell. I just don't get it. What parent WANTS there kid to aspire to be a BRAT????
    "oh look at that adorable bratty child" - yeah right.

  16. Ummmm, Ward and Andrea....
    I was JOKING....i was hoping to conjure up hysterical thoughts of Sean and I racing thru the aisles of some all nite deptartment store, whipping around the boxes and stockboys and high fiving when we make a "good time" during our obstacle course....i hope i didn't offend....it was meant to be funny.
    And i really I do tell my kids that explaination and they are mostly quick to "get it"....and i would never want to let the Princess of Coolness aspire to brat-dom...never ever.
    love you guys

  17. wow! I can't believe what I miss when I don't check my blog for a couple of days... seriously, I really love reading all the comments.

    slim-- yes! I've got to get a pic posted of the pollies... check my flickr... I will be doing this soon, I think. and I love the story you told about your daughter... that kind of stuff is priceless.

    meredith-- how I wish I'd had the oatmeal box idea! once I tried to make a water bed out of a baggy filled with water and wrapped in cloth (it was a disaster)... and the ceiling fan out of cork...? brilliant. your dad rocks.

    lulu-- yes, I have also been corrected by ava more than once. and thanks for the words of advice... love to get different perspectives.

    lora-- yes, 'no' usually works... (except when I am unusually tired and a little loopy).

    elisabeth anne-- what an interesting story about your niece. kids are so funny, surprising you with crazy stuff like that. can't wait to check out 'flirting with danger'... one of my friends has mentioned it to me before and now I am especially intrigued. ava turns five on tuesday and never have I been more aware of the importance of what it takes to raise a girl... how important the foundation is...

    jan-- I swear we were separated at birth.

    elizabeth-- sounds like you got lost in the world of barbies like so many of us! books for dividing walls... oh so clever. again, something I wish I would've thought of back in the day. time to pass the knowledge onto my ava-girl!

    heather-- man, I LOVED the little 'peoples'... a couple of years ago, I lucked out and found the little people farm with all the pieces (and peoples) intact and was beyond thrilled to take it home for a mere four bucks! and yeah those A frames were so rad. girl, you better snatch it off ebay while you can! and you've given me some great date night ideas (heehee)... you know I knew you were kidding, you ham! you are so funny. thanks for your comments... you know I love it when you show up here.

    ward--- yes, you did take it off-topic with the whole 'bratz' thing but that is precisely why the comments are the best part.