Barbie, challenges of parenthood, children. joys and challenges, gangs, gangs in primary school., lani wendt young, samoa writer, samoa writing, sleepless in samoa

Barbie and the Blow Up Brothers.

I wanna be a Barbie Doll Girl…

Today me and the Fab Five were talking about FRIENDS. Who has too many and who doesnt have enough, that sort of thing. Then Little Son jumped in with his eager little contribution to the conversation. “I have lots of friends! Im the leader of a gang and its called the Blow Up Brothers!”

Great. Seven years old and he’s already in a gang. But I smile patiently and ask, “What do the Blow Up Brothers do?

“Oh we do lots of cool stuff. Like we play Zombie tag and chase people. And we’re the bosses of the monkey bars. And we’re so cool, everybody wants to be in our gang!”

Oh. Okay. I see. The ‘Blow Up Brothers’ is kinda like a clique of cool kids. I suppose I should be thankful that this child is not only ‘COOL’ but hes also the LEADER of the cool kids. I cast my mind back to my days in primary school in search of similar experiences to share. Experiences of times that I too – was ‘cool’ And belonged to a ‘Cool gang’ that everybody wanted to be in. Ummm…thinking really hard here

I thought about the ‘Barbie Doll Girls’ in Yr 5. Who would bring their dolls to school with them and all sit and have lunch together. And brush their Barbie Dolls hair. And share clothes. And Ken anecdotes. And I could never join them because no matter how much i begged, my mother absolutely refused to buy me a Barbie Doll. Because they were ‘silly toys that only teach girls to be silly!’. And I wished I could be silly. And I wished that I had a mother who wasnt such an enlightened feminist. Because all i wanted was to be a part of the Barbie Doll Girls Club. No, I couldnt tell the children about the Barbie Doll Girls Club. Seeing as how i never belonged to it.

Aha! And then I remembered! The SAVE THE DOG FOUNDATION’! Of course. How could i forget? At the tender age of ten, I was moved by the plight of the stray dogs that loitered about the school, ever-hopeful of lunchtime leftovers. And so I enlisted the help of several other caring individuals ( who also, QUITE BY CHANCE, did NOT belong to the Barbie Doll Gang either) We hung out in the school stationery shop where we used to all volunteer, selling pencils and sharpeners…(super cool hangout place.) Together we would pool our lunch money, pester students for donations and then use the funds to buy cream donuts for starving dogs with scrawny ribcages. We were a ‘gang’ on a humanitarian mission. How cool was that!?
Apparently not cool at all. Because all Five of the Fabulous Flock just stared at me with puzzled..and pitying expressions on their faces.

Sade shook her head, “Mum, you hung out in the school stationery shop?! That’s lame. Couldnt you find any cool people to hang out with?”

JB added, “Yeah, I wouldnt go around telling people that story.”

Little Son looked rather horrified, “Mum…were you kind of like…a nerd?!”

I spluttered and splushed, “No – me and my friends – we were intellectuals and we didnt care about silly things like..Barbie dolls and being popular and all that. We cared about deep and meaningful stuff. And we were passionate about starving animals!”

Sade interrupted me, “Yes and so you fed them cream donuts? That was a little Barbie wasnt it?”

And they all laughed. Raucously. And I had to wither them with a look. They had the grace to try and look apologetic. And the Princess patted my hand soothingly, “It’s okay, we dont care that you werent popular when you were little. We still love you.”

I was not appeased. The Fab Five went about their business. And left me here, plotting.

I wanna start a gang. And be cool.

Is it too late for me?