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She Probably Needs To Learn To Just Shut Up

I can neither confirm nor deny that Santa finally caved to that whole American Girl doll thing, but I can confirm that I very nearly gave birth to a cow as I clicked that little "Submit" button on the order. A very large, indignant, holier-than-thou cow. I believe it would have been pink with purple spots and tinged with an aura of disgust. If you had tried to milk it, you would have been met with a bucket of disbelief.

Seriously, people, my inner poor girl wept as I clicked that button. I didn't really know she was still in there, but BAM! she came to the forefront mighty quick as I scrolled down that screen with a $100 doll in my shopping cart. She slapped me across the face as she flashed to all of the things that can be done with $100. She screamed about all the things that have been done with $100 in the past.

$100. That was always the so-called "promised" amount of money that would be spent on back-to-school clothes. Every year all through grade school, I would carefully scrounge around KMart, trying to find the best deals so that I could get the most for the money. My parents would put the items in layaway, and sometimes I would see some of them again the week school started. Sometimes. Sometimes they didn't quite manage to pull the full $100 together and I would have to sacrifice some things. One year not a single thing was released from layaway because the "promised" $100 had to be used to pay the bills.

$100. When I lived in Spain as an exchange student in 1994 (AKA The Dark Ages), I took $700 worth of  spending money with me, intended to last the entire seven months I was to be there. And it did, meaning I managed to keep my expenses under $100 per month. I paid for food (lots and lots and lots of churros con chocolate...mmmmm....) and transportation costs and school books and a trip to Madrid to take the ACTs and toiletries and everything else with that money. It seemed like plenty at the time.

$100. It was my monthly budget my first year of college as well. I used $100 to pay for gas and as "fun money" before I was able to secure a few decent part-time jobs that would work around my full course load. Even then I didn't have much more to work with, but if someone had handed me $100, I would have been able to eat for months with it. Ramen, FTW! (Is it weird that I still love Ramen? Because I definitely do. Oriental flavor, to be precise.)

$100. I can currently buy enough groceries to feed our entire 3-person family for at least two weeks with $100. It's probably closer to three weeks, actually. It's a pleasant side effect to having a household that is 2/3 vegetarian, and a product of my addiction to hunting down coupons as much as possible.

That inner poor girl is all sorts of verklempt over the thought of a $100 doll coming into this house. And not in a good way.


Secretly that inner poor girl is a little proud of the not-so-poor woman she became and the fact that she *can* buy a $100 doll. Even if it is a stupid ridiculous idea.

She's also a little pissed that Santa is going to get all the credit.

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Reader Comments (28)

Someday, that little girl will realize who was Santa after all, and who put that American Girl Doll she didn't have to have but wanted each and every year until her tree. And she'll appreciate it.

(because of course I had to have more than one. If I'd known my mom was Santa, I *never* would've asked for more than one. But Santa? You are allowed to ask Santa to indulge you several expensive dolls.)

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

*nod* My inner-young me is nodding.

As an aside, I had ramen for lunch today. I added some frozen veggies while I was boiling the water. And really, my kidney shouldn't have that much salt. But, sometimes, I just crave it. Big time.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFireMom

You know...I'm a little bitter that Santa gets the credit as well:/

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNap Warden

Oh man...I always wanted an American Girl doll (Molly or Felicity, please!). I oggled all the clothing and furniture in the catalogs, knowing full well my parents weren't going to pony up. Yeah, $100 is a lot of money (not as much as it used to be), but she's going to love that doll for a long time and remember it for-ev-er. And yeah, you'll get the credit someday.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshleighD

I was wondering if I was the only on that gets a little ticked that Santa gets all the glory. I had Ramen for lunch today, chicken flavor. We were too poor when I was little for me to ever have an American Girl doll. The closest I ever came to American girl was checking out their books from the school library.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

That inner poor girl is who makes you who you are, as does who you are now. Don't deny either - the inner poor girl or the woman who can afford to make her daughter's eyes light up as if it was a tree on Christmas morning. Pretty sure that's how my mom saw my sister and I, when she gave us gifts. Over and over. I'm so grateful to my mom for what she bought for us, and still does. I tried to turn down an extra gift the other day... The Nana, she went all "Nana" on me and would not accept my "mom, you've done enough for me." I told her to buy me nothing more. I'm good as I am. She said NO. Eek.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

I also kind of had a twinge of something when Santa got credit for the coolest thing under the tree. It's all good though, as others have said before, some day we'll get belated credit. And as a side note, about once or twice a year I have an insane craving for Oscar Meyer bologna with American cheese and mayo on cheap white bread. A remnant of the time after my divorce when times were exceedingly tight. Without the lows we can never appreciate the highs.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMirth

You know, Santa doesn't need to get ALL the credit. We always got some presents from Santa, and some from Mom and Dad. It can be a good way to transition.

Also, I always loved the Oriental flavored Ramen as well. But every time I made it, I'd always ask myself, "Why do they call it 'Oriental'? Is it supposed to taste like Chinamen?"

Then I'd just laugh to myself and eat my soup.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbluzdude

@bluzdude--I've always been afraid to know what about it is supposed to be Oriental, but it is the only flavor of Ramen that doesn't have some sort of dead animal in it. Maybe that's because it has a secret Chinaman ingredient . . .

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

I almost gave in,too, because Em started talking about it again. But when I went to the site, they don't have one with the right hair style/color/eye combo. And there's no way I'm doing My Twinn for even more money.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Okay, you need to write a whole post explaining how you can feed a 3 person family for 2 weeks with $100. Seriously. A whole series, if necessary. I need to know what you guys eat for dinner.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I'm stunned that you only spent $700 in 7 months in Spain... I spent roughly $12,000 (that I'm *still* paying for) during my one-year grad-school stint in Paris (though that figure included my apartment rent).
You are an economic genius. Teach me.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

the look on her face will be priceless.
be thankful you didn't have to click submit for a furreal walking puppy.
$40 - that's a lot of ramen.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercara

@Lindsay--I didn't have a choice. I worked three jobs the summer I went before and saved every penny I had for the trip. Once that ran out, there was nothing I could have done since I didn't have a work Visa for Spain.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

@Jen--It's magic! And a lot of rice and pasta dishes. Leave the meat out and you're talking less than $7 per meal, usually.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

i did not grow up with a lot of money either and it truly makes me wiggle with happiness that you are now the not so poor woman who makes educated decisions on how to spend $100. so many people who grew up poor and now have good jobs give their children everything, never say no, and are raising little entitled brats. you teach alexis to give and do charity work, she sees thousands of dollars worth of toys come into the house and not be for her. i love that you will gift her with a doll she will never forget.

in other news, how wrong is it that i was semi complaining (ok, totally complaining) at how high the cost of ramen has become? i still LOVE the stuff and actually complained about inflation because of the cost of those damn noodles.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

@hello haha narf--It's not wrong AT ALL because I have done the same thing. What the hell happened to being able to get ten packs for $1? Stoopid inflation.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

If you teach her to appreciate that doll, it is totally worth it. You skrimp and save where you can, so you can induldge in these wants.

I think she gets that doll, because along with that poor girl, is the girl who so wanted that Cabbage Patch doll, and remembers what is was like to want and receive.

You are a good mom, and a good Santa. And you have worked very hard to fulfill other children's dreams. It's ok to fulfill your own little girl's dreams, too.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScully

You will some day get credit for being the best Santa EVER. And when Alexis becomes a wealthy entrepreneur she will make sure that YOUR Christmas is MORE than fantastic every year. Not because she will feel like she owes you, but because she'll want to make that little poor girl (who will always live inside a little bit)'s eyes light up.

I grew up poor, too. And now my mom has a GREAT Christmas every year because "I" can afford to give her that. (Technically, it's "we" since I no longer earn a living, but still). She asks for it, she gets it. Because she did the best that she could with very, very little. And no, my dad gets no credit. That's just the way it is.

Merry Christmas.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mommy

Can I ask those of you that give credit to Santa - why do you do that? In my house growing up, we got stuff in our stockings and that was from Santa but anything under the tree was from my parents. We do the same with our kids. I know for damn sure that the freaking AT-AT walker that my son is getting for Christmas is coming from Mom and Dad. Santa can eat it - we get credit for that.

They still get cool stocking items but I've always had the big stuff come from family and that seems natural to me. It seems strange to give the credit to Santa. If it bothers you, why do it?

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermattieflap

You know how well the AG battle is going in our house, and yes I think frequently about the amount of $$ that has been spent for it, and for all things the kiddos adore...and like my husband said today after the 2 year old basically went on a toy spree at Toys R Us..."it's our money, we earned it and we'll spend it how we want" Even though I was feeling GROSS about how much we splurged. I mean really, we already got them everything they asked for (and didn't ask for), they got things for each other, AND then we saw the two wii games they wanted today that gave us a gift card back and can you say SUCKER. Be ever so happy that you only have one sweet, beautiful girl to indulge right now!!! Love every moment of Christmas Morning, because I know I will. I expect FABULOUS pictures of her clutching that girl (btw, who did you get??) and you know I'll be sure to tape this epic morning. You're a great Santa, lol, just in case you're wondering!!

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

The only thing keeping me from slapping you myself is the memory of my young self and the demands of a Cabbage Patch doll as well (which we had to go to Canada to find...Buffalo and tournament peewee hockey FTW!)..I still swear to this day that there shall be no American Girl dolls in this house...I cringe with you at that submit button...I may even be gagging a little too...*shudder*


December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

My 7 year old is one of the only girls in her class who does not have an American Girl doll and one of the only kids (maybe THE only) in her class who does not have an Wii, Xbox, DS, or something like that. It is not that we have discouraged her from those things; we just don't talk about them, and I guess she is not that impressionable around her friends. At least not about those ($$$$) things.

Personally, I am glad Santa gets the credit for what she does get. I will be so sad when she stops believing. Hate to lose that "magical" part.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfacie

@Mattieflap--Originally I wanted to stay away from the whole Santa thing all together, but then I realized that we would be depriving Alexis of an amazing and magical part of growing up. Part of that amazing and magical in our house is that Santa delivers things that Mom and Dad would NEVER buy...the guitar last year is a good example. Alexis never asked us for one, not even once, I'm sure because she knew we wouldn't buy a noisy toy for her (we're consistent on not caving to noise makers like that). So, she asked Santa, and he magically delivered. It's kind of like how I put things I wouldn't buy on her list for her grandparents as well. Sometimes it's good to let the magic stuff come from someone else so we can keep our Strict Masks on.

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

@facie--I thought Alexis was the only kid in the world who had never asked for a DS or anything like that. I'm pretty sure all of her friends have them, but she has never once asked us for one, even though she plays with them whenever she comes across someone willing to share. Not entirely sure what she's thinking (maybe she's assuming we wouldn't buy her one?), but I plan to ride that wave for a very long time.

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle (~~burghbaby~~)

Great Post!

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon W.

This is exactly how I feel about ANYTHING that is THomas the Train....and yet? now? he owns a ton of it...

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHalala Mama

My mom used to make Ramen (or "noodle soup" as we always knew it) when we were sick and when we had grilled cheese sandwiches (because I don't like tomato soup) and it was pretty late in my high school years before I realized that Ramen was poor-college-kid food. I like Ramen, and the fact that it is dirt-cheap is just an added bonus.

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
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