Monday, August 22, 2011

our new it baby (doll)

On Saturday afternoon J and I trundled off to IKEA with good friend and neighbor Sarah to do a little shopping. IKEA is always an experience - for those of you who've been there the store is a little bit like a maze, a labyrinth, or if you are more familiar with the layout a choose-your-own-adventure. It is very difficult for me to get out without spending at least $100, however, so I try to visit infrequently.

This trip had clear parameters. I had made a list in advance of the must-have items to put finishing
touches on our J's/J+new baby/family room, which we've been redecorating over the past couple of weeks. I also wanted to check out the toddler beds, and get a couple things for the living room. Sarah needed to visit lighting. Given this, I had a pretty good idea what shortcuts we could take to get to the important areas without getting sidetracked in kitchenware or rugs.

We couldn't avoid the children's section, however, and that was how we came to be standing in front of a bin full of these
baby dolls trying to figure out why they didn't have any black girl babies available. There was what appeared to be a girl doll on the display shelf, wearing a soft pretty dress, but none were in the bin for purchase. It took me a few minutes of sorting through the bin (which also had white and asian dolls) to figure out that the doll in the dress was the same doll as the one in the bins - just in different clothes.

I was amazed at how my perceptions of the same doll were shifted by putting it in "girl" clothes. (And here I thought I was enlightened in regard to gender!). In the end I couldn't resist and I let J pick out a doll to take home as well as a pack of clothes for it.
I am really impressed with this very affordable doll and its packaging, I have to say. It is soft and cuddly, washable, and lightweight enough for J to tote it around with her without getting tired. It's brown all over (she has one "black" doll that inexplicably only has brown plastic hands, feet, and head and then a body of stark white cloth - so confusing, and not something that was obvious before it was out of the box) and soft all over. The sets of clothes for the doll all include boy-ish and girl-ish options for the doll as well, so it can be whatever the person playing with it wants, and that can change.

J hasn't named her doll yet, and probably doesn't care whether it is a boy or girl doll. But I'm happy to have found this "it" doll - in a world where many dolls come bearing pink or blue outfits,and gender specific names it's nice to find one that leaves so much room for imaginative play. Not bad for ten bucks.


  1. I'm just making two dolls for my nieces - one boy, one girl - or rather, I'm making two identical dolls, and making some boy clothes and some girl clothes, and they can mix and match.

  2. I have been repeatedly blown over by the awesome toys at Ikea. Gender neutral, non-character-driven (ie, no branded ick) and totally affordable. I know it's mass produced, but it's mass produced and pretty dang awesome.

  3. Ariel - agreed. When I walk through there I keep thinking they're in my head making the toys I want my kid to play with.

  4. very cute. I just might need to add this doll to my next Ikea shopping list too...

    I have 2 little dolls that I made for J and the new baby. They aren't quite as gender neutral, but they are soft. :)

  5. I hope that J is still loving her doll, it does look awesome. We often have my girl's ikea rat toy, also soft and lovely and non-branded and I think it cost £1, out in the buggy and 2 other mums we have seen about town say that their little ones are also loving their ikea rats. However others amongst our acquaintance are grossed out by the fact that it's a rat, it tends to be a love or hate thing. I like that it is a nontraditional animal or cuddling.