Saturday, August 18, 2007


Perhaps you are familiar with the latest craze in toy technology, Webkinz? If not, allow me to fill you in. Webkinz are stuffed animals that have some kind of fancy-pants computer chip inside. You register your Webkinz online and then spend hours of mindless time setting up virtual houses, virtual gardens, virtual shopping malls, etc. for your Webkinz. You play games and earn points for your Webkinz, so you can purchase more things for your virtual houses, virtual gardens, virtual shopping malls, etc.

The children have a Webkinz.

Did I mention that there are now dozens of Webkinz on the market? For $20-$30 a pop? This particular item was a gift, as I flat out refuse to pay more for a stuffed pet that lives in a virtual world than I might for an actual pet that lives in the real world. I believe this is one of those insightful yet horrifying mommy moments when I realize that I've inherited this particular sensibility from my own mother.

You see, when I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to have Barbie dolls. This was not for all of the obvious self-image reasons you might imagine. No, I wasn't allowed to have a Barbie because my mom didn't want me to have a doll who had a higher standard of living than we did. (I think if Barbie had lived in a condo, driven a Honda and shopped at TJ Maxx, we might have been in business.) But when you own a toy who's hosting a pool party that's so exclusive you're not even invited.... you get the idea. For all of the strife and melodrama it caused growing up, I now realize that, basically, girls who own Barbies are glorified personal assistants. They pick out Barbie's clothes, clean her houses, arrange for lunches with Ken and Skipper and tip off the paparazzi if she's going to make an appearance.

And for all of that work, what do they get?

Barbie - "Ugh - where is that girl?! I told her to bring me my Malibu Sporty Swim thong, like, an hour ago."

Skipper - "And, like, what did she do to your that a rubber band? Is she just like, begging for you to end up on Perez Hilton?"

Barbie - "And what was up with that party in the sandbox yesterday? Did you see who else she brought? Pikachu? And that goody-two-shoes Cinderella? Lame!"

Skipper - "You should, like, totally fire her."

Barbie - "Totally."

So, no Barbies for Beta Mom. I have allowed Beta Daughter to have a few, but we dress them in sensible pantsuits and make them watch Whale Rider.

Likewise, I appreciate the sensibility with which my mini-clone and her older brother are approaching the whole Webkinz thing. They've arranged a simple garden, a modest house, and yesterday they bought a toilet. Very practical. Even though the Webkinz is dog and in theory could just do its business in the virtual garden.

But that would be, like, totally gross. And what would Barbie think?


jeff mac, manslator said...

Ok, the "child as Barbie's personal assistant" thing is just a great, great joke. Holy crap.

That joke is one of the ones that's so smart, it physically pains me to know that I didn't come up with it.

Anna said...

Oh I am just laughing so hard. SO hard. In my sensible pantsuit.

Dana said...

this post was so stinking funny. it totally made my day..too funny

megan said...

You're VERY clever - but we already knew that! Oh look, I can comment after all! I must have been experiencing "technical difficulties."

beta mom said...

Thanks Jeff, Anna, Dana (welcome!) and Megan.

I just writes what i sees.

Spread the word.

SouthernBell said...

Hello, Beta Mom. I'm new to you.
You actually got me to read a long blog entry -- impressive.

beta mom said...

Thanks Southern Bell for stopping by. I checked out your blog - you're little Cora has one of the sweetest faces I've ever seen!

Hope to see you around the neighborhood again.

Self-Proclaimed Supermom said...

My kids LIVE for Webkinz :)

foolery said...

Brilliant! But you did miss out on the holy hell a personal assistant can put Barbie through.

I made her sleep with G.I. Joe, who was very buff but distant and his feet turned around backwards.

She spent most of her life naked under the bed. Scarring.

I made her clothes myself, and she had to wear them, or stay naked under the bed.

It wasn't all a Barbie Dreamdate picnic.