5 Reasons Every Dad Should Play Barbies

Saturday, January 3, 2015

This year, for Christmas, Caroline got the Barbie Dreamhouse. The Barbie craze started at the beginning of this year. I think she had two Barbies at the time, and after counting the other day as we opened and put them away she was up to 37 (more than half of which are the Disney Princess Barbies she wanted). In her collection of Barbies are two boys, Flynn (from Tangled) and Ken (of course). Flynn was given to Ryan from Caroline, and Ken was a gift to Caroline that she is SURE was a mistake, because "the boys are there so DAD can play too."

Before Ryan left for his week long trip to Hong Kong, I passed the playroom and caught a glimpse of this beautiful sight. I had to take some pictures because immediately it made me think back to when I was a little girl, and my dad played Barbies with my sister and me! Dad was always the little brother that came with the wedding set. He had spiked hair, and Dad had endearingly named him "nappy".  
I laugh just thinking about him saying, "throw me that nappy headed doll, I'll be that one"

Dad wasn't very good at playing Barbies. SORRY DAD! He didn't know what to make them say, or how to play for hours with us, but one thing he did do was have us girls rolling on the floor laughing at some of Nappy's antics. The same is true with Ryan. He doesn't even know how to make the boy Barbie's talk. They all have this evil, chain-smoker like voice. He likes to load the two boys up in the American Girl Doll Jeep (yes, using the wrong car for the toys, see what I mean), lay out all the princess' and drive the jeep over the top of them as Caroline shrieks with joy/excitement/fear for her girls. He "locks" the Barbies out of their own house. He pretends the dog is a vicious protector of the Dreamhouse, and so on. In short, he acts like a 7 year old BOY playing Barbies.

The fact that Caroline and Ryan playing together means so much to me, made me think, why is it that when Dad plays girl stuff, it's different than anything else the two can do together? I could come up with 5 main reasons that it stands out in my childhood memories, and why it's important that every Dad plays Barbies (or whatever girly thing your daughter is into).

1. It reassures your daughter that you don't wish they were your son. We all know that every dad can't wait to welcome a little boy into the world. The thought of teaching your son to play catch, or shoot a ball seems to be every mans dream. When you dive into the world of pink and purple, playing with something you aren't instinctively born to play, shows us as daughters that you value our girly nature and embrace us for the differences we bring to your table. 

2. It shows her that you have a gentle side too. I mean have you ever tried to actually play with a Barbie set? They are clearly designed to be played with using needle nose tweezers, because even little kid hands plow through that house like bulldozers, knocking down everything they touch, let alone MAN HANDS. Gentleness is required when playing with a dollhouse, drinking with your pinkie up while enjoying a tea party, and glueing jewels onto every single piece of artwork girls create. Knowing that there can be a gentle side to the guy we perceive as industructable is valuable someday as we look for a daddy for our future daughters. 

3. It shows her that your invested in her interests too. It's easy to act like you think what she is saying is super interesting even when it's not. Saying, "Oh yeah? That's cool." can be done with little to no thought. Taking time out of your day to play with what she finds "cool" not only makes her think you are interested in her life, but SHOWS her that you are. That way when it's something bigger than Barbie, she already knows that you will have genuine interest in what she is doing. 

4. It makes her feel special. This one is right out of the mouth of my 4 year old daughter. I think what she means is, breaking away from the things you really want to do, to spend time with her, makes her feel important, like she matters more to you than that football game you could be watching. We drag our kiddos to run errands, to sporting events we really want to attend ourselves, to family dinners, and anywhere else we feel like. Taking initial time out of what we want for her is an act of selflessness that she needs to know exists in us all. 

5. To make her giggle. It's true Dad, your down right funny! Watching you try to play girly things is seriously hilarious to little girls. We know you are not good at it. We know you have no clue what you are doing. We know that making the girls talk about their clothes is just not going to be exciting enough for you. And we think your improvisions to those facts are Laugh Out Loud, Cover Our Mouth, Throw Our Head Back, kinda funny! And lets get real- don't you just wish you could bottle that giggle? 
Playing with your little girl, Dads, can be a daunting task. It seems like you have no clue what your doing. You certainly have no interest in it, and there are about 500 other things you would rather do than play dolls. But, it's important. You need to play Barbies, or babies, or stuffed animals, or doctor, or color, or beauty salon, or dress up, or whatever else it is that your princess is into. She will remember you for the time you spent with her more than the money you spent on her. I promise.


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