My First Baby and shopping frenzies: The Cabbage Patch Kid
When you are a child the world is immense and there are scarce moments when you feel like you can relate to the rest of the world or anyone in it. For many of us it is well established that there are "adults" and "babies" and we had fit into that smaller category that needed to be taken care of by many of these adults. It was never a large leap that we as children believed if we were to be taken care of then it was our utmost responsibility to pass on that proverbial torch.
Thus the doll came to be.
It would be foolish of me to say the Cabbage Patch Kids Doll was the first doll to have made that bound. For centuries there have been findings of dolls made of clay, string, paint, beads, wood and whatever would be found laying around at the time. My very own mother used to tell me how she created dolls from cigarette butts because when you splay out the end of one it looks like hair! (See more about my mom here).
Honestly, the Cabbage Patch Kid was simply new to MY generation. That was our pet rock at the time and our moms were going to get them for us, one way or another. It was something worth fighting for in a way that far surpassed the new-age approach to the Elmo's, Playstations, Beanie Babies and iPhones in freak-out-frenzies: Wait in line patiently? No! Not when there were waiting lists and "first come, first served" policies! Tear through the mall kicking and biting? Absolutely! Bribe an employee? Not a problem! In early 1983 I was born. By Christmas of that same year we had come to know this epic toy and we had learned what our mothers were capable of when it came to their own babies. You didn't even have to have a kid to get your hands on one - everyone wanted them. In fact, everyone wanted them so badly Coleco, who was making them, shut down due to inability to keep up. Hasbro took up the dolls and still makes them today!
This doll was not something you put on a shelf to admire or keep safe. This was something you, as the responsible "big girl" or "big boy" you were, had to take very good care of. You had to "adopt" them, which was really a great marketing scheme on their part because what child doesn't want their baby to be "real". Now, just like we ourselves did, our kids would have Birth Certificates and come with their own Unique names!
I can remember her name no more than I can remember my individual names for my collection of My Little Ponies, but I do remember I took her everywhere with me. I pushed a tiny plastic stroller around with her strapped safely inside, explaining to other children in the apartment complex how important she was and that she'd misbehaved from time to time just like all kids do.
To many of us it wasn't a toy: It was a career. If only we knew what our mothers had done...
Not the babe for you? There were and are so many options its no wonder they had such success!