Unlike a certain unnamed brother-in-law I have, when the Cabbage Patch Kid craze infected this nation’s Christmases, I resisted the urge to ask for one. Actually, I didn’t even know little boys were even allowed to own one and I was astounded by the few male friends who tried to hide their yarny-haired friends when I came over to play with real toys like action figures and fire and rocks. Sure, stuffed animals are cool but CPKs were dolls. And not molded plastic dolls with tiny plastic crossbows, but real girly dolls.
I took a poll of the ten closest or most IM-able people* near me and here are their responses:
1. Ariel Alla
2. Ashley Ollivet
4. Glen Allen
6. My own name
7. I can't remember. I can tell you though that I had a 10 minute dance routine choreographed to the Cabbage Patch doll record then my brother threw the record up in the air and it shattered on the ground and we could never find another one, and I tried all manner of toy soundtracks for a new dance, but it was never the same.
8. I never had one. I loathed them and found them creepy.
9. My mom couldn’t find a girl one so she bought a boy, put a dress on it and said it was girl with short hair. I believed her too even though it was named Curtis.
10. My regular Cabbage Patch Kid was Addie Chrissy and my premie was Cara Faith.
That last response is what got me thinking about Cabbage Patch Kids again. I don’t hang out in neonatal intensive care units so I hadn’t heard the term “premie” since the mid-80s. And its definition was only framed by that exposure. The Cabbage Patch Premies, as far I could remember, were balder, cuter and much more in demand than the normal toddler versions. People were crazy about them. Literally crazy. People got trampled to death at Montgomery Wards or Zayre’s or Best when those stores would open at 9am on Sundays.
I have a good friend whose pregnancy developed complications and the baby had to be delivered by C-section 3 months early. Her daughter has a host of complications and the doctors initially estimated her survival rate at around 10%. It’s been a week and she weighs 2 pounds. Her chances of making it to next week have only been raised minimally. She can’t breathe on her own and her nervous system is so maladjusted that she can’t stand to be touched.
The tiny infant is considered a premie. So are the other dozen children in her NICU and they are all in bad shape. So why was it, 20 some years ago, that Premie dolls were so desired? Why were they even made? The initial run of Cabbage Patch Kids were just that, kids. If they wanted a second version, why not make Cabbage Patch Toddlers or Newborns? Why jump all the way down the age ladder to children that, according to their own definition, should not even be born yet?
I know this question is decades late. But my mom’s typewriter couldn’t access the internet back then.
*includes one dude. Guess who.