Oh, Polly, How I Loathe Thee

When my little Princess turned six years old this weekend, I wanted to give her something really special. I knew that she wanted a lace shawl, so I wrapped up this one that I made a few months ago as a swatch for an idea that I had. I also gave her the smaller swatch for her doll.

Then, using the same yarn, I created a great little crown. My little princess.

Knowing that this wasn’t enough, I also set out to make her some little dolls. She has always loved Polly Pocket, which I don’t love, so I tried to make an alternative doll. Using a wire and wood frame, I planned to make clothes and accessories, and give her three dolls that I could love, too. A more innocence-friendly dress up doll (read “not anorexic looking with boobs and hips and hootchie clothing”).Here was my first attempt.

The sweater turned out really cute, and the dress is real silk and gorgeous. But, knowing that I was competing with this:

I knew I had a ways to go before I got it right. The sweater was awkward to put on and take off, and the dress was too ill-fitting to be perfect. So, I put that whole idea out of my head, and went for a different toy. This is what I ended up with:

Using embroidery floss, silk flowers and wood glue, I made three beautiful fairy princesses. I put them in a little basket and was so excited to give them to her. On the morning of her birthday, she got up, climbed into my bed and I gave her the gifts I had lovingly made for her.

She was thrilled. She loved every bit and detail. She oooohed over the dolls, wrapped herself in her very own shawl and wore the crown for the rest of the day.

Then, she got her other gifts from family and friends. Nasty, plastic, naked girls with rubber clothing. I am trying not to be spiteful, but really. How can I compete with that? And, while my husband assures me that she does still like her handmade gifts, I know that they aren’t the treasures I intended. And while I realize that my jealousy is a little selfish and irrational, I want to give my kids good things. Treasures. Stuff you can’t get in the stores. Stuff made by my hand with all my heart. Not mass produced, dime-a-dozen junk. It is frustrating.

Oh, Polly, how I loathe thee!

12 thoughts on “Oh, Polly, How I Loathe Thee

  1. they are beautiful!

    don’t confuse the 6 year old excitement over polly (we had a polly phase here, too) with a lack of love and appreciation for your treasures. I am more than sure that they are the treasures you hoped they’d be and will become even more so over time. Really. Kids “get” it more than we think. Loving polly doesn’t mean not loving those truly good things you gave.

  2. Hi Shelli, I am in awe, they are beautiful dolls. You did a fabulous job, well done!!
    Would you consider making 1 or 2, how long did they take? My step-daughter Josie would LOVE those. I would pay you of course, think about it. Her b0day is coming up in Nov.

  3. Yes, those dolls are amazing! Those are the toys from her childhood that she’ll keep. I don’t have any toys from my girlhood except those my mom made me. I don’t think I’ll ever part from them, even though they weren’t what I wanted as a child (homemade Cabbage Patch instead of the store-boghten kind? Not when you’re 8.).

    I’m knitting doll clothes for my daughter’s birthday in November. My SIL is buying her a fancy doll. I know she’ll love it–she’ll be over the moon–and I can’t compete with that, so I’m finding a way to participate in it.

    Luckily we haven’t come to the Polly Pockets yet. Anna wanted a Barbie (What? She’s only 4! But one of her older friends has them.), but I explained that it was a doll for older girls and that we can talk about it when she’s 10. Their girlhood lasts such a short time. I hate that our consumer culture wants to sell it out and make it go faster.

  4. Those are BEAUTIFUL! And I SOOOOOO feel your pain on the lovingly made gifts!!! I always try to make my kids gifts- doll slings, etc. Or I at least PAY (A LOT) for handmade heirloom quality gifts. Every year at Christmas I try to select some good toys for the kids, but grandparents usually get them tons of plastic crap.

    This year I’m being honest with them. Only three gifts per child, and quality please or don’t waste your money. I hate that they buy all these stupid toys that break or don’t get played with.

    The dolls may not be her favorite right now, but one day I’m sure they will lovingly be displayed and she will always remember that her mamma made them for her!!! =)

  5. Those dolls are really beautiful! And I am sure that they hold a special place in your daughter’s heart. My mother spent much time making me beautiful dolls too and many tears when I chose other, store bought dolls, to love and cherish. But a funny thing happened as I grew up. I gave away or lost all those store bought dolls. Today, many years later, I still have all of the lovingly handmade dolls and I also have a greater appreciation for the important things in life (and a really great love of all things handmade!). As I expect my own little one in the next month or so, my plan is to give him the finer – handmade – things in life. Even if I know I have to compete with everything else the world has to offer.

    What you are doing is awesome!!!

  6. These are so beautiful – any chance you might do a wee blog tutorial on how to make them, as I’d love to give it a go for Christmas presents for some of my nieces!
    And I so agree about the nasty dolls – I loathe Bratz.

  7. Okay – I know that Polly is cool. Although I’m yet to be there – Dora is currently “in”. But hindsight is a wonderful thing and something that only older persons can know about. It’s a wonderful learning tool that we all wished we’d known about everytime a loved one gave us somethat that was “hand-made”. I remember getting things as a youngster and only now that I’ve tried picking up the knitting needles I know exactly how treasured those things were. And I regret not knowing that back then. Your daughter may not treasure your treasures how you do but if you pop them away for a rainy day or even a day much later on in life such as a wedding or her daughters birthday, you’ll see exactly how much they were loved. Even if the love wasn’t flowing on the day……. Take heart Miss Shelly. Polly will break – your love won’t.

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