My Barbie Dream House

When I was a kid growing up in the 80s, I had tons of Barbie dolls.  My mother wasn’t too concerned about that body image crap and neither was I.  I just wanted her life, man.  She was a teacher (with a really short skirt and a piece of chalk as big as her torso), a ballerina, an astronaut, a rock star (“Barbie and the Rockers” which was not a takeoff of “Jem”, who was truly, truly, truly amazing), a doctor, and even a “office woman” for those kids who didn’t get to see mom because she was working to pay for their toys.  Day to Night Barbie had a suit that you could reverse to form a snazzy dress for late night partying!  I don’t know where the heck Barbie worked, but if she had energy for partying, it couldn’t have been a very hard job.  Then again, she admitted Math was hard (which it is) so I’m guessing she was a Presidential intern or something challenging like that.

She even had a pink briefcase. Girl had everything.

She also had a lot of great stuff.  A swimming pool (I just used a dishpan), cars (sneakers), and so many clothes!  My grandmother was this great seamstress, so I had awesome personalized Barbie designs, you poor loser children.  Of course my friends and I were too lazy to dress our Barbies, so we’d just pop their heads off and switch them.  Barbie also had billions of spike-heeled shoes that were immediately lost in the carpet as soon as you opened the box.  That had to suck for her, since she couldn’t ever put her feet flat, so she had to tip toe around everywhere she went.

I had the three-foot cardboard condo with the little white elevator you pulled with a string. It was cool, because she could stand up in this house.  In most houses Barbie couldn’t stand up so she had to walk around hunched over.   On tip toe.  I felt sorry for Ken, living in the pink house, but looking back he probably liked it just fine.  I think Barbie and he were just pals, personally, and Barbie had a thing for G.I. Joe – the doll one, not the action figure.  That would have just been weird.

Like this. Is it bad that I’m tempted to buy this again?

I had an aunt who liked buying me Barbie stuff.  I got this way awesome refrigerator one Christmas with a bunch of teeny tiny groceries.  My older brother helpfully glued every single thing inside the fridge so I wouldn’t lose it.  I was not appreciative of this.  How the heck was Barbie supposed to eat  now?  Then again, looking at her waist, this probably wasn’t that much of a problem for her.  I also got this couch that made out into a double bed for when she had sleepovers.  She and Ken liked hanging out on the couch bed and watching ballet, since that was the only thing the tiny plastic TV showed on its screen, a ballerina.

One thing my Barbies didn’t have, and that I totally salivated over, was the big, freakin’ Barbie Dream House.  This thing was huge!  Unlike the townhouse, it was made of sturdy pastel plastic.  It came with tons of cool furniture and a wide elevator that her token wheelchair bound pal could ride on, or Barbie since there weren’t any stairs, and really, Barbie’s lazy.  There was even this balcony for Barbie to bungee-jump from – if you were inclined to have her do this (and I was).  I think my friends and I would have given our least favorite Cabbage Patch Kids as well as our siblings for one of these.  But they cost like 150 bucks or something, and our parents didn’t love us enough to pay that much.  So we did without.  Life was cruel back then.

But one day the most exciting thing ever happened!  I got the Barbie Dream House – as an adult. Um, for my daughters. It was only 7 bucks at a garage sale which was an unbelievable bargain. It even had all the freaking furniture.  So I lugged this thing home, even though the kids technically already had Fisher-Price dollhouses (hey, I they liked dollhouses, okay?).  But this was no ordinary dollhouse.  This was the DREAM HOUSE, people.

Check it out.

My children were not nearly as impressed as they should have been.  Thing One was bummed that it was all in pastel colors, because she was so over pink, you know.  Thing Two was happy with it, but she just didn’t get the grandness of it all.  That’s because they have grandparents, ie my parents who did not buy me the Barbie Dreamhouse, who will buy them almost anything.  Life is unfair.

It even opens up inside. If you’re not impressed with this house, something is wrong with you.

Barbies in my children’s generation have changed too.  When I was a kid Barbie still had her giant bosoms.  I don’t know why they had to change this.  I mean, some women just have big boobs, that’s part of life, kids.  But I guess it was hard on her back, especially considering she had to also walk hunched over on tip toes, so she got a reduction.  The problem is that now, if your kid happens to be playing with an older Barbie, she can’t fit into her clothes.  My daughter has a Barbie (somewhere) that is a Mommy.  Barbie’s red headed friend Midge sold out and settled down with some bozo and had kids.  She even came with a pregnant tummy that held the new baby.  You can pop the baby out and pop it back in again.  I find this fascinating but a bit disturbing.  I never want my babies popped back in again.  Midge Mommy Doll can’t fit into Barbie’s clothes either.  I think it’s because she’s a Mommy and no Mommy can fit into her old clothes.

Anyway, the Dream House is still there, and it still gets used, although my kids generally aren’t into playing families so much.  Thing One loves fashion, so her Barbies are usually dressed in the latest tissue paper looks.  Thing Two likes integrating her stuffed animals into the fun, which has to freak Barbie out a lot to see a penguin bigger than her house.  Sometimes the Barbies hang by the neck from the top bunkbed, naked and upside down, tied up in my honor cords from graduation.  I don’t ask why.  My kids bicker sometimes, but mostly they do have fun playing together, while I play with the Dream House.

39 responses

  1. I had the camper. That camper was rocking, meaning Barbie and GI Joe got busy in there quite a bit.

    1. The camper? I don’t think I had that one. I was more deprived than I realized. We don’t have GI Joes, but the girls have a doll of that guy from High School Musical. Right now he is wearing one of their dresses.

    2. I had the camper too!!! I think I broke the stick that made it level when you opened it though… so I had to get creative… (but it didn’t break ’cause of Barbie and GI Joe – cause I was a very naive child… though Barbie DID always end up with GI Joe and not Ken… hmm…)

  2. I never had the dream house, but I did have the camper as well. And we drove over a lot of sofas. Fun times.

    1. Again with the camper – I have to go check this out on Ebay. I, er, the girls might want it for Christmas. They also need some GI Joes. Desperately. Or so Barbie says.

  3. I never had a Barbie – my mum didn’t want to get me one. Instead I got my sister’s hand-me-down Sindy. I feel deprived.

    1. Ooh, ooh, I had a Sindy doll too! She was the one that was a ballerina and you could pull this thing from the top of her head and make her dance, right? Man, dolls are really weird.

      1. I can’t remember what Sindy could do. I hated her. I wanted a Barbie dammit. I finally got my Barbie at age 23, my sister bought for me as a joke gift. I kept it, in the box, for years. Then my friend’s daughter got really sick and she was in hospital. Offspring the First was also in hospital at the time so I didn’t have time to go get the little girl a gift, so I gave her my Barbie. The smile on her face when I gave it to her was probably the smile my mum missed out on by not getting me one when I wanted it.

  4. I never had the dream house either, but my spoiled younger cousin did. Damn bitch 🙂 I think she also had the camper too. And the convertible. I had nothing but a My Little Pony stable and a few My Little Ponies.

    1. “damn bitch” hahahahaha! I had My Little Ponies too, back when they looked closer to horses (albeit pastel ones) than sexpots.

    2. My younger sisters had My Little Ponies. I yanked out their tails and gave them mohawks as revenge for eating the faces off of my Star Wars action figures.

      1. I remember that. Did they actually . . . eat the plastic?

  5. If the kids are doing that to Barbie, are you sure they’ve not read any of that trash that EL James pretents is literature?

    My sister got a Barbie when we were younger. I got a Ken. I’m pretty certain I got the raw end of the deal there…

    1. It did make me wonder. I told them “Just don’t mention this to the school counselor, ‘kay?”

      1. Sensible parenting that. Although they could be hanging Barbie to get back at her for always having perfect hair, makeup, clothes, figure, etc…?

    2. That would be understandable, although I can’t disregard that my children are just plain weird.

  6. I had barbies, much to my mom’s chagrin. She refused to let me have barbies and my brother to have GI Joes for a really long time. I don’t remember why she finally caved (probably because whining kids are worse than fingernail torture), but I loved my Barbies. I never got to have Ken, so all my Barbies were lesbians. Besides, Ken was ugly.
    Also, as a mom, I hate it when my kids don’t love the same things I did/do. Little traitors.

    1. Yeah, Ken wasn’t all that. My friend’s mom wouldn’t let her have Barbies but would let her have She-Ra who wore a steel bikini. Never quite understood that.

      1. She-Ra was at least reasonably height-weight proportionate. Also she had a flying horse, a castle, and kicked butt. Really, she was an action figure with hair you could comb, not a fashion doll.

  7. reflectionsonlifethusfar | Reply

    I admit I laughed reading your post. Reminded me of how I used to love playing with Barbies and never got the ultra cool stuff b/c-like your’s-my parents just didn’t love me enough. Having a niece allows me to indulge a bit but it’s not all that fun for me anymore. The clothes were what impressed me. I loved Barbie’s wardrobe and all the neat things she had. She did sort of give me issues about my body image but that was more down to abuse I suffered so can’t blame it on poor Barbie really.

    1. I got my body image issues from watching the perky cheerleaders hop up and down all perfectly and perkily. Take away Barbie, there’s still gonna be girls with bigger boobs and whatnot than you. Tis life.

      1. reflectionsonlifethusfar | Reply

        LOL, it’s not hard to have bigger boobs than I have!

  8. Erhmehgerd I always wanted on of these. Thank you for exciting me 20-odd years later. If I found one for $7 I’d probably buy one, and a shit load of Barbies, for myself and re live my childhood.
    This makes me miss my A La Carte Kitchen, which my parents put on the bonfire because it was old and falling apart, even though it was my favourite toy. No wonder I’m traumatised.

    1. OMG that was so cruel! My parents probably should burn a lot of my junk up in their attic, but they’d have to climb up there and who wants to?

      But we should totally have a Barbie party. That would be GREAT.

  9. Ha! I could play barbies for hours and hours! I had the pool, man! And, the gymnastics apparatus. How cool is that?! Now I have boys, so no more barbies.

    1. With all my dolls, I was certain I’d have all boys. Imagine my surprise when I got two girls! Boys might have been less expensive, although then my husband probably would have been buying them endless toy cars and BB guns and whatnot.

    2. Also, Thing Two loves Star Wars and snails and hermit crabs and I might as well have a boy. Lol.

  10. Oh Man – I still have a SUITCASE of barbies (now in the attic – for the future kids, you know). Regular barbies – plus the brunette one (she was my favorite, because we had the same color hair ^.^). Of course the SeaWorld Barbie who had a wetsuit when you put her underwater, and came with Shamu. And there was the Olympic Gymnast (who had flat feet!) and Olympic skiier. Along with the nighttime Barbie whose eyes “closed” when you put warm water on them (I always wondered if that meant I was supposed to put warm water on my eyes before I was supposed to go to sleep…)
    Man, I love that Barbie can do literally everything.

    1. That’s cool that you saved your Barbies! I still had a few, but I tended to be rather violent with mine, so what was left wasn’t in the best of shape. I also kept some as collectors for a long time, still in the box, but I realized they looked kind of sad and suffocated in there, so I’ve been giving them out as presents over the years.

      Was nighttime Barbie the one whose body was stuffed? And gymnast was the perfect career for Barbie. No one can do the splits like her.

      1. Yeah – nighttime barbie was the soft one! I was sad about that because she never did look as good in clothes other than her nightgown…

        My barbies survived really well – I didn’t tend to rip off their heads, lol. A couple have chew marks from the dogs, but they just became bodyguards ^.^

        And that’s awesome that you have been able to re-gift some of yours! I don’t think I ever got collectible ones. I think my mom knew I wouldn’t have enough self-control to keep them in the box…

  11. We had wicker furniture and clothes made by my grandma. Both knit and sewn. One birthday I got the pink corvette from a friend – apparently I had one rich friend. Man, did we fight over that car. Oh, and Barbie and the Rockers – we had the cassette tape, paper cut-out dolls, and the real-live one with big curly orange hair. Frick, that was a great trip down memory lane. Thanks! Love it.

    1. Yay for Grandmas. Sadly mine died when I was 14, but I still have some of the clothes she made for everything from baby dolls to Barbies (such tiny stitches!) I wish I had all of them, but I was a rotten kid. And YES Barbie and The Rockers came with that cassette tape! I still remember the stupid song. “Bar-bie and the Roc-kers . . .” Crap, I routinely lose my glasses, but that I remember.

  12. I had some sort of big Barbie house, but I too was deprived of the Barbie Dream House. Admittedly, I got tired of what we had after about a year. I don’t think Barbie is lazy necessarily; it’s probably exhausting walking around on your tiptoes while hunchbacked. Heck, some days I’m too tired to walk to my liquor cabinet… and that’s without having to walk tippy-toed and hunchbacked!

    1. They really should have created a Barbie liquor bar. And tiny Barbie cigarrettes.

        1. OMG, hahahahahaha! It’s never too early to learn, kids!

  13. I only played with Barbies for a few years, I was too much of a tomboy later on to be bothered with dolls. My grandmother was a fantastic seamstress, and she used to make our Barbie dolls clothing.

    1. I really don’t know how they sew clothes that tiny. Of course, most of my Barbies still laid around naked, and so do my kids’ Barbies. I think it’s her natural state.

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