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Sunday, August 21, 2016

On the My Child dolls

RagingMoon1987 again, and my trip down Nostalgia Road continues.  I've jumped from a trendy eighties toy that I loved, to a trendy eighties toy that I didn't care much for but like now, and now I'm jumping to a toy that was not particularly trendy at all!  Okay, I exaggerate; these dolls made it onto the #8 slot on this list for popular 80's toys.  This post is for the My Child dolls, soft baby dolls that Mattel produced in an attempt to compete with Coleco and the Cabbage Patch Kids.  I learned about these dolls from Doll Reader when I was about fifteen, and I've wanted one ever since.  Guess what?  Now I've got one!
This is Morgan, whom I found on Etsy.  She was surprisingly easy to get, for reasons that I'll soon reveal.  Like all My Child dolls, Morgan is made out of a soft, slightly fuzzy fabric that makes her extra cuddly.  Her head is vinyl on the inside with a covering of this fabric; most My Child dolls had this feature.  The few that didn't were called My Loving Baby.  They had plain vinyl heads and I don't care much for those.  They're cute, but not as cute as the ones that have fabric-over-vinyl heads.  Anywho, a fabric body means stitched features.  Stitched fingers...
...stitched toes...
...a stitched bellybutton...
...and a stitched backside.
Notice that Morgan has the My Child logo stamped on her bum.  This looks like yet another nod towards the Cabbage Patch Kids (they sport creator Xavier Roberts' signature on their butts), and only dolls created before a certain date have them.

Of note is Morgan's face.  Her eyes are brown, and her paint is a little faded, as you can see on the eyelashes below.  My Child dolls had these unique eyes that are concave rather than convex.  Even the My Loving Baby dolls had these!
Time for a tangent, one that will reveal to my readers just what a weirdo I am.  When I was a little kid, I loved concave things.  Spoons, elevator buttons, doorbells, anything that was smooth and rounded and dished inwards.  I loved the way these little dips and nooks would fit my tiny fingers.  Thus, these My Child dolls with their concave eyes would've been something I'd have loved.  I'd have wanted one of these over a Cabbage Patch Kid any day.  No offense to the Kids, of course!  But anyway, there's one of Moony's eccentricities revealed for readers to chew on.  It's an eccentricity that I've never outgrown; to this day I still love pushing buttons that have a concave surface.

Right then, back to the doll!  The idea behind the My Child dolls was to find a doll that looked a lot like the kid who wanted it.  Makes me wonder if this is where My Twinn got their idea.  Anywho, these dolls came in both genders with one of four eye colors, at least four hair colors, and...I think there were four skin tones.  You could get a doll that was pale, peachy, Hispanic, or African-American.  The African-American dolls were a little special in that they were the only dolls to get hair that was completely black; my Morgan's hair looks black in the pictures, but it's really a very dark brown.  Hispanics got a special attribute as well, being the only ones to get brown eyes that had orange highlights.

If I'd been a little kid around the time these dolls were available, I'd have been satisfied with Morgan.  She's pale and brunette like me, though our eyes don't match (mine are blue).  I can't understand though why these soft, warm babies could possibly take the backseat to a doll as homely and hard-headed as the Cabbage Patch Kid.  Seriously, Andrea and Val could give my Lalaloopsy dolls some serious competition in the "Dolls That Can Double as a War Club" category.  Not so with Morgan, or with the vinyl-headed My Loving Baby dolls either.  But seriously!  Both My Child and Cabbage Patch Kids have soft bodies with stitched details, both have well-made clothes, both have approachable expressions on their faces, both have a nice weight to them, weight that makes them perfect for sitting in a little kid's lap.  Heck, the My Child dolls even have something the Cabbage Patch Kids don't:  JOINTS!!!  Andrea and Val are pretty much glorified rag dolls.  They sit on a kid's lap or on the bed and look cute.  I guess if one wanted to nitpick Morgan could fall into the glorified rag doll category too, since she's dominantly cloth and stuffing.  However, the joints enable Morgan to do things my Cabbies can't.  She can sit...
...and tilt her head.
I particularly like the neck joint; I'd heard these dolls could turn their heads, but I didn't remember reading that they could tilt them as well.

Maybe Coleco's success over Mattel was because of this.  I know it's why I got Morgan for a reasonable price.  See the wrinkles?
Yep, Morgan's "skin" is a little loose.  This is extremely common among My Child dolls, especially those made in Taiwan like Morgan is.  It's a repairable problem, but maybe it's the reason why some kids didn't want these?  I don't know how long it took for this skin to get loose, after all.  It might have taken a long time or it might have occurred fairly quickly.  If the latter, maybe that's why these didn't sell as well?  But then again, kids aren't often bothered by flaws and imperfections like we collectors can be.  It is entirely possible that Morgan and her soft friends simply came at the wrong time.  There were plenty of other soft toys to choose from back then; in addition to Cabbage Patch Kids there were Popples and Fluppies, Care Bears and Pound Puppies, Strawberry Shortcake and Glo-Worm...LOL, I absolutely LOVED Glo-Worm!  I may have to talk about Glo-Worm in the future.  But yeah...it is entirely possible that these cute little dolls got lost in the swirling, sometimes confusing crowd of cutesy, trendy soft toys.

Alrighty, I think I've pounded my point into the wood enough.  My Child dolls weren't as big as Cabbage Patch Kids, though they were every bit as nice.  On to the next subject, the subject that I always and inevitably bring up when I drag a new doll into the house.  Yep, we're going to talk about clothes.  Morgan came with a complete outfit, consisting of a white embroidered dress, white bloomers, white socks, and white shoes.  She even has little yellow hair ribbons buried in those curls!
Most of Morgan's clothing is pretty cut and dried.  Her shoes and socks are plain white items, and her ribbons are made of sateen that's lost its shine over the years, but her dress is worthy of further scrutiny.  It's got puffy sleeves and a circle skirt, typical of dolly dresses...
...and the collar is rounded, also commonly seen on doll dresses.  It doesn't want to lie flat.
The waistband, sleeves, and collar are trimmed with blue piping, and the hem of the skirt is edged with white picot lace.
My favorite part of this dress is the embroidery.  My grandmother embroiders and I've dabbled in it myself, so this is a handcraft that I'm fond of.  The bodice of Morgan's dress has a yellow duck with some water stitched below it and some pink flowers on either side.
I've lived around marshes all my life, and I had no idea pink flowers grew there.  Maybe my ignorance has something to do with the fact that my family was more likely to drive through the local marshes during winter, when there were lots of geese.  Anywho, the duck and flower motif is echoed in the pocket on Morgan's skirt, though there's only one bunch of pink flowers.
The sleeve cuffs each have two flower clusters.
I wonder if the pink flowers are phlox?  Phlox apparently love water; back in April of 2011 we got more rain than we usually do, and the phlox were EVERYWHERE.  I think I'll call these flowers phlox.  Not that it really matters; I just want to put a name to them because I like them.

Okay, I said I wasn't going to make a big deal out of the shoes and socks, but I lied.  Here they are.
The shoes are made of fairly solid vinyl, and they make it possible for Morgan to balance on her own.  Without these I could get her into a standing position, but she wouldn't stay that way without being propped up.  The socks are trimmed with white lace, similar to Andrea's socks.

Under her dress Morgan wears a pair of white bloomers.  The legs have white picot lace like the skirt does.
My Child dolls also came with diapers, but Morgan doesn't have hers.  That may explain why her bloomers are a little baggy...or it may be because the elastic stretched out.  No diaper is no biggie for this little gal, though.  Diapers are paper, and paper doesn't exactly last forever.  Some nice new dresses would please me, and here is where Etsy will be next to zero help.  There ARE nice dresses on Etsy...for more than what I paid for Morgan!  So I call upon you, my loyal readers, to help me with this one.  Doe any of you, any at all, know what might fit my Morgan?  Would Build-A-Bear work, or Cabbage Patch Preemie clothes?  If you know anything then your assistance will be greatly appreciated.  In the meantime, I'm going to settle Morgan in with the rest of my soft dolls.


**UPDATE, 12/13/2016**  Miss Emily recently did a couple of reviews on a Mattel doll that was apparently very popular in the nineties.  The doll line was called "Magic Nursery" and came in several sizes.  If you look closely at Miss Emily's dolls you'll see that her dolls' shoes are a similar shape to my Morgan's shoes.  I wonder if this means the Magic Nursery toddlers could share clothes with the My Child dolls?  I may have to look into that.

On Cabbage Patch Kids

RagingMoon1987 again, and I'm bouncing from one eighties trend to another.  For some reason the My Little Pony post struck a chord with our faithful readers, so we'll see how this one goes.  This time I'm going to talk about that homely and oh-so-popular item, the Cabbage Patch Kid, also known as a CPK or a "Cabbie."  I never was ga-ga over the these like I was My Little Pony.  Mama thought they were ugly, and they reminded me of a schoolmate I hated, so I wasn't in love either.  In spite of our opinions I did have one Kid when I was a child, a Cornsilk Kid named Honoria.  I liked Honoria enough to include her in my stuffed animal games, but I didn't really play with her much.  As a result, she was in very good shape when I saw her last...and I really wish I still had her.  She disappeared during my transition from teenager to young adult, and my assumption is that she either got stolen by the hacks that we rented our old house to, or she got left out in the rain to mildew by the same hacks, OR I thought I'd never want her again and gave her away.  I did that with a lot of my toys, so it seems reasonable that Honoria went the way of my MLP collection, but I digress.  Regardless of the mechanism, I'm calling Honoria lost.  Since Cabbage Patch Kids are supposedly one of a kind I can't find an exact picture of what she looked like, but I can give you an approximation.

Fast-forward a few years to a scene in a nice little used-furniture shop in Dexter, Missouri.  I don't remember why we were there, but at the back of the store there was a small pile of dolls and toys.  I found a pathetic-looking Kid who reminded me a lot of Honoria.  Her hair was disheveled and she was homely like all Cabbies tend to be, but I felt a connection.  I paid the three dollars for her, brought her home, and named her Andrea Doria (first name pronounced ON-dree-uh) since she looked like she'd just been through a shipwreck.  Here's how she looks now after a shampoo.
Andrea is a Coleco Growing Hair Kid with a #9 head, blue eyes, and brown hair.  If I've done my research right she should be two years younger than I am, at twenty-six.  Her tag is marked with the factory code KT.  Andrea has a head full of rooted curls, plus a long fall that comes out the top.  At first I wasn't sure how this fall worked, but it turns out that you pull on it like a window shade...VERY GENTLY!!!  In short, Andrea is not 100% perfect, but she's superbly constructed so she's stood the test of time very well.  Coleco knew how to put together a nice product!

I've also got this one, whom I snagged on Etsy for a reasonable price.
They don't make Cabbage Patch Kids with hair in this shade of red anymore!  In keeping with the shipwreck theme, I've christened this one Valencia Rose (Val for short).  Like Andrea, Val is a Coleco doll.  Also like Andrea, Val's tag is marked KT, but that's where the similarities end.  Val has red hair, green eyes, and a #4 head.  She is older than Andrea (and me) by a few years, and her hair is yarn as opposed to Andrea's fiber tresses.  The most unusual thing though is that Val is soft all the way through.  Andrea has...well, it feels almost like a brick inside her torso.  Honoria had one too, and when I was small I thought it was some sort of mechanism that made the doll talk or giggle.  I poked and prodded and squeezed on Honoria until my fingers were sore, to no avail.  Since both Honoria and Andrea have/had these "bricks" inside their chests, I assumed all Cabbies did.  But they don't; Val doesn't have one.  To this day I have no idea what those "bricks" are for, though I assume they're there to help these otherwise soft-bodied dolls hold their heavy vinyl heads up while sitting.  Here's how the two compare visually.
The #4 head is quite a bit smaller than the #9.  In fact, Val is smaller overall than Andrea is.  I'm not really sure if Val is darker than Andrea because of her age, or if it's because she's grubby.  I may have to take out a washcloth and try to figure it out.

Times have changed, and so have these dolls.  We no longer see dolls with red yarn hair as bright as Val's, and as far as I know most of the dolls have a "brick" inside them.  Size has changed as well.  All the Kids I've met are sixteen inches, including Val, Andrea, and Honoria.   The few Babies I've handled are fourteen inches.  Nowadays the Kids are twenty inches, and the Babies are sixteen or seventeen inches.  That may just be for the BabyLand exclusives, but I'm not sure.  The difference in sizing wouldn't be such a big deal, except that CPK's official website doesn't offer much clothing that would fit my girls.  Etsy to the rescue.  So far I've managed to score two dresses, three pairs of shoes, a pair of socks, and a raincoat for my girls.  Here's the first dress.
This one came with another dress and the raincoat in a lot that I purchased from GallantsBoutique on Etsy.  The proprietor is very sweet and carries other Cabbage Patch Kid-related items, including several dolls, plus vintage patterns for human clothes and crafts.  I think this dress is supposed to be a wedding dress, but Andrea does not look anywhere near old enough to be married so I call this her First Communion dress.  It's your basic white dress with ribbons and sparkly tulle added on.  It doesn't fully close in the back, but no worries!  Unlike Barbie and ball-jointed dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids squish!  Val is a bit smaller than Andrea, so she likely can wear this without any problems.  I haven't tried the dress on her yet, but I'm willing to bet she'll be better suited for it.  The bodice is marked with the Kids' logo, which is the pink thing you see in the center of Andrea's chest.

Outfit number two in this lot is this cute cowgirl costume.
It is also marked with the Kids' logo.  The fabric feels so soft!  The bandanna feels like cotton, and the skirt is a fleece blend of some sort.  These are a lot nicer than the doll clothes you find in stores today.  Andrea fits into this outfit a little bit better, though the back still gaps a teensy bit.

Third piece is the raincoat...or maybe it's more of a rain poncho.  Either way it's perfect for the nonstop rain we've been having.  Seriously, it rained all last weekend, most of the early part of this week, and it looks like it's going to rain next week too.  So this rain poncho may come in handy if I choose to take my Cabbie's to Grandma's or anything like that.  Val looks so funny wearing it!
It too is marked, right on the chest.  I'm surprised that this poncho stood up to the test of time so well, considering that it feels like vinyl.  We all know how vinyl acts when it ages.  This is in great shape, though.  It ties at the neck and has eyes on the hood, very much like a rain poncho I had when I was a little kid.  I may need to find some rain boots and some cowboy boots if they're available.  If not, Val and Andrea have new pairs of shoes that will match everything.  Here's what they wear with the First Communion dress.
These were apparently handmade by Ann's Dolly Boutique.  They're made from yarn over a plastic frame and came with a nice thick pair of white socks.  Miss Ann also threw in this cute rattle as a freebie.
Miss Ann's store is a great place to go if you want to clothe your own Cabbage Patch Kid, by the way.  She's got other shoes and some adorable outfits available.

There's also these, which came from HintzOfVintage.
These are the real deal.  Val usually wears these with the outfit she arrived in, since she didn't come with any shoes.

Lastly, I've got these.
These came from Shirley's Vintage Dolls and More.  They are off-brand white shoes that fit Andrea like a dream.  These shoes look a lot like play shoes, so I pair them with her cowgirl outfit.  They're very well made, and I love how they feel to the touch!  Very soft and smooth, but sturdy enough not to split when they're shoved on the chubby little feet of these dolls.

Since I haven't talked about the dress Andrea came in, here it is.
Even if I didn't have the things from Etsy Andrea would still be well-dressed, because her stock outfit is complete.  This set is lavender and white all over, panties and all.  The outfit is in good shape overall, but I do need to do some repairs to the socks.  The lace is coming off.
Loose lace aside, Andrea was as near complete as any Cabbage Patch Kid I've seen.  She even still has her ponytail holder!
I usually style Andrea's fall in a braid, so this thing comes in handy.  It's got two little ribbons on it and it's trimmed with lace like the socks.

Here's a better view of what Val wore when she arrived.  It too is quite adequate.
Val came wearing a purple pair of overalls and a striped long-sleeved shirt.  The overalls have a bib pocket and square buttons to hold the straps together.  I love the originality of those buttons.  Usually the buttons I see on doll clothes are round or heart-shaped.  The shirt is a simple item, but it's well made and nicely colored.  Those stripes will match almost anything I can find for Val to wear.  It's a versatile piece and I'm pleased about that.

So that takes care of my 16-inch kids...but I failed to mention that there is a third Cabbie in the house.  Meet Poppy Elizabeth.
Poppy dates from either 1983 or 1984; the seller isn't 100% certain.  She is 22 inches tall with blonde hair and blue eyes.  She looks washed out because our curtains are open; in real life her colors are much more vibrant.  I got Poppy off Etsy as well; the proprietor lynnspeer is downsizing a large collection and has a few soft-sculpture Kids to offer.  Most of them have been skillfully rerooted, and that is the case with Poppy.  Poppy's hair is done up...I think it's done up in popcorn stitches, hence her name.  She's a great little doll, but she's quite a bit bigger than both Val and Andrea.  See?
Clothes sharing is OUT for my lovely soft girl, and I don't think I'd want to put her in 16-inch clothing anyway because all the dresses close with Velcro.  Velcro does a number on the soft parts of these dolls.  It's not an immediately huge deal because I love the outfit Poppy was sent in.  It's got FROGS on it!!!  I love frogs!
Even the feet are little frogs!
The sleeper is sized for six-month-old children, so that means that Poppy may be able to share clothes with my Creepy Babies.  I'm going to have to see what I've got that she can wear.

That concludes the auction for now.  Cyberspace is full of awesome Cabbage Patch Kids, but my wallet won't allow for much else so I'm sticking with my happy little family of three.  Val, Poppy, and Andrea appear to like it that way.
I never intended to become a hardcore Cabbage Patch collector, but having joined a Facebook group about CPKs I've learned what's nice but common and what's nice and hard to find.  My intentions are to find a binky for Val, an OK popcorn (OK stands for "Kader," which may be the ill-fated Kader Toy Factory), a TriAng Pedigree gaudy yellow, an Oriental doll of any sort (BabyLand General has several), and a Snack Time Kid.  LOL, does anyone remember the Snack Time Kids???  They're the ones that would eat plastic treats...as well as the fingers and hair of unsuspecting children!  Folks of the eighties will remember the riots that broke out over Cabbies in stores, and nineties kids like me will forever tell tales of the ravenous Snack Time Kids!  However dangerous they may be, I would love to add a Snack Time Kid to my small group.  And of course, I'd love to try and replace Honoria.  That will be hard to do, but I want to try it anyway.  I remember that she had dark auburn hair and wore a flowered dress with pink T-strap shoes.  I remember being somewhat bumfuzzled that she only had one dimple, so I think she had a #14 head.  We'll see what I turn up.  Heck, I may be completely wrong about Honoria's whereabouts.  She may be tucked away in the locked shed with my sizeable collection of Beanie Babies.

Cordially yours,