Every year, for as long as I can remember, my aunt has taken my mom, my sister, and I to the American Girl store in Chicago to go shopping and get lunch for mine and my sisters birthdays, and this year was no exception. You may be wondering, aren’t you a little old for dolls? And yes, I am, I don’t enjoy them like I used to anymore. But, I have a little sister who is nine years old, so I get to keep going until she decides she’s done. 

For those of you who have no idea what American Girl is, let me enlighten you. American Girl is a company who produces dolls for young girls to encourage female empowerment. You can get dolls who are from historical time periods and have specific storylines, or you can just get one who looks like you and come up with your own story. They also have this really cool “Doll of the Year” tradition where every year there’s a doll who is meant to embody a story that takes place during the year they were released. 

Each historical doll and “Doll of the Year” doll had a series of books released with it. I loved those books. Every single American Girl book I could get my grubby little hands on was read over and over again. I especially loved Kirsten’s books. Kirsten was a girl whose family moved from Sweden to Minnesota during the 1850s. Her story was meant to represent the pioneering time period of American history. And starting in 2009, quite a few “Dolls of the Year” had movies made about them. I wasn’t quite as attached to the movies as the books, but I still watched all of them, quite a few times too.

I had a “Truly Me Doll” (one that looked like me) and two “Dolls of the Year”, one of which I purchased with my own money. I played with those dolls all the time as a kid. And of course, as time went on, I played with them less and less. But I still loved my dolls, and always had a hard time picking just one to take with me when I went with my aunt. But this year was different.

Instead of being a normal person and bringing a doll, I opted for a stuffed purple dinosaur I recently purchased from Target. My sister brought her own doll, as well as one of mine in a failed effort to convince me to leave pDonatello in the car (he was named after the Ninja Turtle and is also a pterodactyl so his name starts with a silent p). 

At lunch, your dolls are given a high chair to sit in, as well as a mini cup and plate. To make it even better, when it’s your birthday at American Girl, you are given a birthday crown and a little goodie bag filled with birthday themed accessories for your doll. My doll, Nicki, was not left in the car, so she and my sister’s doll, Rebecca, received all this nice treatment. And I was feeling un poco loco, so pDonatello did too.

I put my crown and the doll crown on him, squeezed him into the high chair, and fed him the top part of a strawberry. I even put a doll skirt from the goodie bag on him. I’m sure his stuffing filled brain felt loved and appreciated. And, he eventually got a bow and flower to wear and a slice of plastic cake to eat.

After lunch, I proceeded to waltz around the store with him to peruse the wide selection of dolls and accessories, receiving quite a few weird looks from random grandmas, moms, and little girls. I’m not sure if my sister, aunt, grandma (who joined us this year), or mom were mortified in any sense, but I can tell you that for some reason, this socially anxious, likes to fade into the background girl was not.

I’m not quite sure why I did this. I didn’t not want to be there, I was looking forward to going out to lunch all week. I think I just wanted to be a kid. I’m seventeen, I don’t have much (societally considered) time as a kid left. As I like to say, I have a year left to commit crime because after that, I’ll be tried as an adult. 

So yeah, do whatever you want, and be a kid for as long as you’d like. Go have ice cream for dinner or watch Barbie movies on repeat. For some of you, your parents can’t exactly stop you this time. I personally enjoy being a child, and will continue to do so for as long as I so please.