Many months ago I blogged about Sophie the Giraffe, the natural rubber toy that babies — including my daughter — found inexplicably irresistible. Well this past week I met her compatriot, Penelope Peapod. Aside from also belonging to the Grossly Overpriced Toy Club, Penelope Peapod apparently shares the same magnetic quality, albeit for one-year-old girls (who are, as it turns out, obsessed with baby dolls).
Coraline and I were in Martha’s Vineyard visiting a friend, who took us to the most wonderful children’s bookstore, Riley’s Reads. Almost immediately Coraline snatched up a small stuffed dog who she tucked under her arm with a “woof,” before she preceded to march about the store checking out all the other exciting things on the shelf. I was prepared to deliver the “this toy lives at this store” speech, until she suddenly appeared around the corner cradling a little doll instead — I could tell it would be a tearful goodbye. Sure enough, as I attempted to extract the doll from Coraline’s grip, she began screaming bloody murder. So I asked the owner how much it cost.
“Forty dollars,” she said with a grimace.
I grimaced back. “Sorry, kiddo, no can do.”
I snatched the doll from her hands, tossed it to my friend, and bolted out the door, Coraline wailing. It took several minutes to calm her down. Welcome to toddlerdom.
After all that drama, I don’t know why I thought it a good idea to return to the store several days later. Coraline beelined for the doll shelf, picked up her old friend and headed right to the very back of the store where she plopped down on the floor, clutching the doll to her chest as she patted her back saying, “Oh oh oh oh oh.” When she went back for the doll bed (Penelope Peapod comes in a basket which converts between a bag and a cradle) and began doing a little “mommy rock,” I conceded defeat.
Forty-two dollars and fifty cents later, me, Coraline, and Penelope Peapod headed for the ferry. And though I had fleeting moments of insecurity — Am I spoiling her? What am I teaching her? Did you really just spend that much on a doll? — I get the biggest kick out of watching my daughter love little Penelope (now known as Martha). I’d like to think she gets it from me.