I don't know what "playing barbies" is like in other homes. But, it is taken very seriously at our house, most especially by Cora, Master of Ceremonies, Chief Director, and Queen of the Narrative. She constantly surprises me with her storylines. For Christmas she received a vet's outfit (with cat) and a ballerina outfit for her dolls (not all are Barbies-proper; most are Disney princesses). She dressed up the dolls, assignment me the veterinarian dollie, and played the ballerina bringing her cat to the vet. When I asked if her cat was sick, she responded, "Well, yes, but really I am here to tell you that bad guys want to kill you." Oh. Well, that changes the story, doesn't it?
Last night, Chris was out at a concert. Our evening progressed normally. At bedtime Cora and I went to her room, put on jammies, and I read her several stories and sang some songs. At which point she jumped up and exclaimed that she had forgotten something! Barbie and Ken were supposed to go to a party! A ball! A Very Important Ball. She had to play with them for just a little bit. A little arguing (admittedly, my heart was not in it; I am tired of being the grumpy mommy), and we struck a deal that she could come back out to the living room and play quietly for a while if she promised to 1) let me do my own thing, and 2) be cheerful and not crabby in the morning.
The storyline, in brief: First the decorations had to be made and taped up in the ballroom (which might look like an ordinary cardboard box to you). And then there was the dressing (which involved going to the Target store, where the really pretty ball gowns are, natch). Finally, they made it to the dance, even though Ken wouldn't wear his shoes and Barbie was *really* angry at him. Then, accompanied by whispery songs the dancing started. Barbie and Ken did an awful lot of slow-dancing. Then, um, Barbie had a baby. A small polly-pocket sized doll just popped out from under her ballgown. How embarrassing. Ken is going to stay at the dance, but Barbie is taking the baby home to nurse it. Ken says he'll dance with his other wife for a while.
And that was the end of the story. Then Cora pulled her Dick & Jane anthology off the shelf, curled up next to me, and read several pages. Out loud. While I tried to continue reading my murder mystery. But, I can certainly forgive a little reading out loud.
I know what you are really wondering, though. What happened the next morning? Most weekdays, Chris and Cora get up earlier than I do. Today, as on several days, I woke up because Cora was upset about something. She wanted to play a computer game before they left for school. She was being very crabby indeed. On my way to the bathroom, I reminded her of her promise, and pointed out that she should have breakfast and get dressed and then see if there was time for games.
When I came out of the bathroom, she had stopped fussing. She went out to the kitchen, ate her breakfast, got dressed, and then asked nicely if she could play a computer game. She and I sat together and played some games on the PBS site, and then she went off the school. Cheerfully. *Whew*