Valley of the Dolls

Playing with dolls always struck me as nothing but childhood squared, a child doing a childish thing with a simulacrum of a child. It was like some hideous vortex.
—Meghan Daum, "Toy Children"

Daum was a teddy bear kind of girl, and in the essay from her book My Misspent Youth, she celebrates stuffed animals for being "more closely connected with the imaginative world than dolls are."

I was a serial monogamist when it came to childhood sleeping partners, first cuddling up with a Puffalump panda I called Leopold, then the big white bear that was a present from my third grade teacher, and later a succession of Macy's holiday plush toys.

I loved all those guys, but in the light of day it was no secret that I preferred my dolls. A recent purging of my parents' attic reintroduced me to a My Child with dark pigtails and soft skin, Rainbow Brite in her shiny spacegirl dress, and a small crop of Cabbage Patch Kids. Yes, I used to have fun pretending the Preemie was my little baby. However, it was the more grown-up dolls that held my interest the longest. Molly McIntyre and her imaginary 1940s world provided hours of play, especially as my collection of her clothes and accessories grew (and grew and grew). And anyone who has read chapter one of this book knows what can go on with Barbies.

Maybe I will become a crazy doll lady if adopting a puppy doesn't work out.