Boy Barbies are all the rage over at our house lately. I don't know quite what it is about these Boy Barbies, I think it all started because we originally only had the 1 Ken doll.
The two girls *always* wanted to play with the Ken doll... thousands of GIRL Barbies... but no... they fight over the 1 Ken doll. siiiiigh... Anyway, this Christmas we got each of the girls a couple of boy Barbies, thinking "well, that fight is over..."
*ring* *ring* *ring*
K: Hey Dad, it's me. Where are you?
Me: Just at the store, I should be home in 20.
K: Oh, well, Ping is really upset.
Me: Why? Is she giving you grief?
K: Well, no... not really. She broke G's boy barbie.
Me: Oooooh... that's not good.
K: Yea, well, she is just crying now. Curled up in a small ball on the stairs and won't let me come close to her.
Me: Alright, well, just stay close to her.
K: I can't, when I get close, she starts yelling at me.
Me: Aaaah, I see. Well, just stay "close" without touching her. Just stay in the same room so she doesn't feel alone.
Me: Oh, what broke on it? Can I fix it?
K: No, the arm snapped off. The plastic is broken in half.
Me: 'Aight, thanks.
Oh crap. Now I have to tell G that her boy Barbie is broken. I think it would probably be easier to tell a mother that her son has lost his arm while serving in some war torn country than to tell G that her sister broke her boy Barbie.
Me: G, I got some bad news.
G: What is it Daddy?
Me: Well, you know how sometimes in life, things happen that we don't really have any control over.
Me: And some of those things can be bad. Like, really bad.
Me: And some of those bad things, are accidents, right. No one meant to do anything bad.
Me: And, well, Ping broke your boy Barbie.
It was here I was expecting a water show. I was expecting G to throw her head back, fall to her knees and scream NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! at the top of her lungs...
G: Oh. Well, it was an accident.
Me: Yea. You ok?
And thats about where I wanted to cry. G was being really cool with this.
*ring* *ring* *ring*
Me: Hey. Whats up K?
K: *mumble mumble mumble*
Me: uh-huh... mmmm... yea... okay, put her on the phone.
Me: Hey baby, you broke G's boy barbie?
Me: That's OK. We will talk about it when I get home. But no one is mad at you.
Ping: YES! YES YOU MAD!
Me: Am I mad?
Me: Am I yelling? Am I being mean?
Me: So am I mad?
Ping: NO! BUT G. G IS MAD!
Me: No G isn't mad.
Ping: BUT YESTERDAY SHE YELL AT ME.
Me: No, that isn't about the boy Barbie. Is G mad at you right now?
Me: Okay, so just wait till I get home, and we will talk about this.
When we got home, I looked at the boy Barbie, and yes, it was broken. And no, I could not fix it. But I'm also not one to pass up a learning opportunity.
So Ping kept the broken Barbie and gave her sister G *her good* boy Barbie. We figured out that it wasn't "fair" that Ping broke G's Boy Barbie, and yes, it was an accident... but there still had to be something to restore trust between the girls.
That night, they had a wonderful time together. They played, did not fight for the remainder of the night and they even decided to sleep in the same bed together... they even made plans to have a Tea Party after school with each other the next day.
What could have turned into an absolute mess of an evening, turned out being one of the best ones of the week for the two girls. Something bad happened, but both girls handled it so well that there was no lingering ill will, and they went to bed (together) happy.
... and all without Mom. :-)
Oh, and I'm never one to pass up a learning moment, so with the broken Boy Barbie I had a nice long talk about how the "broken" Boy Barbie wasn't "broken" - that he was just missing part of his arm. And that that was OK. There are lots of boys and girls in the world who are missing parts of their arm, or a leg, etc. I figured our next adoption might include a special need where part of a limb is missing... might as well start getting the kids used to the idea that a person who is "different" isn't broken... that they are just as important, valuable and loved as anyone else.