Shared Difference #BarbieProject

I am the youngest of 7 children, and by youngest I mean – by a lot. My brothers and sisters are 14+ years older than myself. So, growing up, it was like I had many parents and oftentimes it felt like I was an only child.

By the time I was of school-age, I was the only sibling living at home, and close bonds were made with neighbouring friends or my nieces and nephews who were close to my age. As I said in last months #BarbieProject post, I spent a lot of time playing with my collection of Barbies. In fact, this period is my most vivid childhood memory. 

Yet while my sisters were much older than me, they were still very much apart of my ‘Barbie play’. Yet, not in the traditional way that you’d expect …

My one sister, Terri, is a ‘handy’ sort of woman. Even in her late teens she would often be seen sewing, crocheting or needpointing.

So, guess who made the bulk of my Barbie clothes when I was little?

barbieproject-heritage

I smile thinking back to the dozens of outfits she made for my dolls. All sorts of styles, colours … I still think it’s quite remarkable how creative she is. While I wasn’t actually involved in the making of these clothes {and even accessories like purses}, I loved to help her design each look. I admired and treasured her creations as much as the dolls themselves.

As I watch my twins girls play Barbies now, I can’t help but to think of my sister and I, and our non-traditional way of play. We still connected through creativity, imagination and fashion, despite not actually ‘playing’ roles with the dolls like my girls do now.

barbie-sisters-play

Since I didn’t have this type of dynamic with my own siblings, I’m so fascinated with my girls unique relationship and connection. Their play always starts with, “How about we’re sisters and …”. When the twins play – they are never are just friends, neighbours, strangers or co-workers. Always sisters.

Even when I get down and play with them {which I have just started to do recently and highly recommend it}, I am always their sister too, and never ‘the Mom’. It’s likely the only time during play that I’m not ‘just the mom’.

barbieproject-sisters

It’s like they consider me their equal. One of them. I love this time, when they speak freely, share their adventures and write their new sister into their story. I also notice that when they play Barbies with their friends, they also suggest they all be sisters as well. This sisterly bond is so strong with them. 

The other day during our play Katie said, “How about we’re sisters and we’re fashion girls… “. I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to tell the tale of my kid-self and my own sister, true fashion girls from long ago.

barbie-play-fashion

Of course this sparked many questions about why my sister was older, why we didn’t share a room or go to school each day together. Through play the girls were able to learn more about me, my childhood and that all families are different. I really don’t think they would have been this interested to hear about ‘the old days’ if my story didn’t spin off from our Barbie play. The timing was perfect. 

What does your Barbie history look like?

 

TheBarbieProject

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I am apart of The Barbie Project and I receive special perks as part of my
affiliation. The opinions are, as always, my own.
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Comments

  1. I also grew up playing Barbies. I remember sitting on our front step playing Barbies with my cousin for hours. I love doing their hair and trying on new outfits and making up elaborate and sometimes scandalous scenarios for them.

  2. Great story Tammi; nice memories of you and Terri

  3. I have always LOVED Barbie! I remember countless hours spent playing, doing her hair and my brother even would play with me! We would drive our Barbie cars through the orchard..it had tall grass and was awesome!!!! Happy times!

  4. I loved my barbies!! I know I begged my sisters to play with me ALL the time! I loved dressing them up and playing with their hair mostly!

  5. I love those crocheted Barbie clothes. Amazing!

  6. Love that you’re their friend and not mom while playing. It’s always fun to get down on their level and play with them.

    • So true Crystal, I’m learning all sorts of things about my girls by just getting down and playing with them. It’s remarkable!

  7. Carole Dube says:

    Wonderful story.. My mom was very crafty too and made some of my barbies clothes. I also mad my daughter barbie and doll clothes with left over material from the clothes I would make her.

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