I have always sworn I would not live vicariously through the kids but when Evey saw friends Maplelea Girl doll and told me she would like the one I had to break my pledge. I was instantly excited by all of the dolls and accessories available and wanted to fill my own room with the things I never had – Evey might be allowed to play, as she asked nicely.
Once I got over this urge to be five again, I sat with Evey and looked at the Maplelea Girls website. The Maplelea Girls™ are from six different regions of Canada: the Rockies, rural prairies, urban Ontario, the Maritimes, Quebec and northern Canada. Each character has a distinctive personality, strong values, and empowering stories to tell. Although these characters celebrate a variety of lifestyles, activities, and interests, they all share a special spirit and imagination, a sense of adventure and satisfaction with being just who they are at this time of their lives. Each doll has:
- A unique outfit that matches the doll’s interests and personality traits.
- A journal – a six-ring expandable story journal with 32 pages of written and illustrated material and 32 pages of questions, prompts, and blank pages to fill in. The journal comes in both English and French for the entire Maplelea line, as well as Inuktitut for Saila, the Inuit doll.
- A Keepsake box – a sturdy keepsake box that can be used for play or doll accessory storage.
We sat and looked at the dolls together. At $99.99 they are reasonable for a premium doll, but not something we could afford easily. If we were to buy Evey one for her birthday in June, it would have to be the right one. I, of course, knew exactly which doll she would choose. Obviously, it would be Jenna, the doll from Nova Scotia who has “fiery red hair and a personality to match” – Evey’s doll twin.
But to my surprise, she said: “No, I wouldn’t like that one.” Ah, I thought, she must like the west coast doll Taryn, who has a “passion for painting and the wilderness” – just like Evey!
No, she said and “I bet you can’t guess which one I like best.” Well, they say third time’s a charm, so I went for Saila, who “lives in Iqaluit and speaks Inuktitut & English” because she is just like Evey’s friend Em. “Nope, wrong again,” she told me gleefully. So I gave up and asked – which one do you like best? – “Leonie,” she said, “She is from Quebec and likes music and hockey.”
“Well, why that one?” I asked because I couldn’t see any reason that she would be favorite. “Because she has a pretty white skirt with cherries on, and it nearly matches my leggings with roses on. If I had her, we would be clothes twins. “
I was so sad – not because of her choice, but because I was so wrong about her choice. When did she develop these thoughts, preference, and opinions of her own? I asked myself. At the same time, I was proud, to have a 6-year-old who thinks independently and is not afraid to say what she thinks and stray from the path I saw for her. Happy mum, proud mum, sad mum – the paradox of parenting.