This summer, some of my girls’ friends decided it would be fun to have a club – an American Girl club. The plan was to meet once a week for a few hours of fun activities: making crafts for their dolls, watching some of the American Girl movies, or discussing one of the books. The group of 7-12 year olds was going to plan and conduct the meetings themselves, and the club was going to be their own, without any moms being involved.
The first meeting began with the election of officers, and some of the girls had their feelings hurt in the process. The next two meetings resulted in even more disagreements, and friendships were becoming strained. Last week the girls came to a cross roads: should the club continue as is, or should the parents become more involved?
Perhaps the girls should be allowed to work out the problems themselves, since figuring out relationships is a part of life. But these are young girls, many of whom haven’t had to deal with these types of issues. Because homeschooling allows us to choose who our children socialize with, we’ve been able to find friends who share the same values, and consequently they haven’t had very much to work out — that is, until the club started.
But I’m convinced they need direction. They need a parent to sit in on the meetings and monitor what is said and how it is said. The girls can still come up with their own ideas – they just need someone there to teach them how to conduct a meeting, how to respond kindly to each other, and how to compromise when necessary.
The moms are now working out a plan so the club will benefit all involved. Hopefully the girls will learn more than leadership; they’ll learn a lot about friendship as well.
Like many homeschooling families, we are on a limited budget, and I try to help stretch our income as far as I can. When both my girls wanted an American Girl doll one Christmas, I was able to purchase two very nice pre-owned dolls off of eBay at a fraction of the retail price. They’ve loved the dolls for just over a year now, and it’s beginning to show.
The Mattel Company (who now produces the dolls) has a doll hospital where you can send your doll for some TLC and repairs. There’s a charge for each repair, however, plus shipping charges each way. Our dolls had a few marks on them and frizzy hair – not quite enough for me to justify the extra expense. So instead I went online and searched for ideas.
I found where several people recommended using Clearasil (or the store brand) for getting rid of ink stains and pen marks on the doll’s plastic skin (not the soft body). We followed the directions, rubbing a little bit onto the stain and then placing the doll in direct light (we used a lamp) for almost the whole day. Imagine our surprise when the stain disappeared – even the permanent marker!
Next I came across a wonderful site called JustMagicDolls.com. The author of this site takes you step by step on how to repair your doll, from brushing the hair correctly to reattaching limbs. Following the steps outlined on the site, my oldest daughter and I washed, conditioned, and steamed her doll’s hair, making it look smooth, shiny, and beautiful again.
Now my daughter plans to open up small “doll hospital” of our own, where she can take care of her friends’ dolls as well. We were both excited — what a great way to serve others! Perhaps one day she’ll even turn it into a small business, learning those life lessons as well.