a summer discussion

1 Feb 2015

little me and my family

Earlier this summer Kate and I sat down and tried to get back into our  five to seven year old selves, to think about what were the most important things to us about the dolls we played with.
We took it as given that the dolls had to have faces that would appeal to us, to be pretty or quirky in a friendly way.

Why age five to seven you ask, surely dolls are for little ones, pre schoolers . 
No, for me and I know for my daughter, our maximum doll play, as distinct from doll cuddling, really happened around infant school time (and beyond), all that wonderful role play and organising a little family of dolls, or playing schools, or proper tea parties happened around that time.
 My sister and I  had a play house and we spent many many hours there.
 Katie had a play room that served the same purpose.

I think when I make dolls it's that time of golden childhood that I go back to, not trying to live in the past but revelling in the feelings I remember from that time.
 I was blessed with a happy family and blissful childhood.
 I was a sunny child and I loved my little world.
 I don't think I look so much to my children's childhoods for inspiration, they belong to them. 
Rather the thoughts and feelings that come from that time are a reflection of how as a mother I examined my own childhood from the vantage point of new motherhood.

 I guess as a child I acted out things that were worrying me or upsetting me in my doll play but I honestly don't remember that. 
I just remember play for the sake of play, child's work, endless hours of play.

Anyway, back to our summer discussions.
We didn't speak of anything spiritual or emotional, I don't really think children see their dolls in that way, 
they just know that they love them and that is enough.
Our thoughts were more about things that added to our enjoyment of our dolls.

Firstly the dolls had to have hair that could be styled or at least combed or brushed. 
Very important.

We both agreed  it was best if a doll could sit, preferrably without support but definitely be able to sit somehow.

We both felt that our dolls needed to have a change of clothes.
 Here we differed a little in that I thought it was important to have pyjamas or a night dress and maybe slippers and dressing gown.
For Kate it was important  that the doll have a party outfit or ball gown.
 That's my girl, party planner extraordinaire. 

We also agreed that the icing on the cake would be if there were little extras available such as doll toys, bedding perhaps, and more clothes.

With these things our pretty and much loved doll would be just perfect.

I think that a doll, a little jenny wren doll, with these attributes 
would make both children and adults very happy. 
 Most of my dolls do sit well and most have hair that can be styled 
so we are already half way there 
and the rest of the picture will be coloured in as we work our way through the year.

Each morning before I start work I read back through the notes I made after our conversation and each morning I go back for just a moment to that wonderful dreamy wide eyed time when every day was an adventure and the happiest place to be was home.

2 Responses to “a summer discussion”

  1. I enjoyed this post, Jenny. I agree with so many of your thoughts. I played with dolls at the same age and I had similar requirements. I was constantly changing outfits or making new ones for my dolls. What your dolls have that mine didn't as a child is a bit of a story. It makes them that much more special. I also agree with the hair. Hair was very important to me when picking dolls as a child, even though I rarely styled it. Thanks for letting me reminisce this morning :)

  2. So true, but most of all I think when children play with dolls they are learning to be nurturing adults later in life. I loved my dolls. I still have my Shirley Temple doll and the doll I always referred to as the Lady Doll. Shirley was never played with, she always sat on my bed, but lady was an entirely different story, she had clothes, even nylon stocking, and she came in her own trunk with a couple of pull out drawers. Shirley now resides in that trunk too. I know from watching my 2 daughters when they were young, they use to set their play area up as a home, then make it a classroom and played school. They had a sink, stove and refrigerator. A lot of pretend meals were served on the little table and chairs (which were passed down to my grandson). There was something peaceful about watching contented children at play with their dolls. My heart truly aches for children who are not so lucky to have the security of a loving home where play is so important in developing a stable adult mind.
    Have a great week. Love your dolls Jenny.
    Susanne :)


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