Deep down inside, I knew that my vision of a lingering, leisurely tea party with four five-year-olds and their American Girl Dolls might be a figment of my imagination. The first clue was that one of the girls still hadn’t taken her American Girl doll out of the box even though she had it for over a year.
Nonetheless, we persevered with the plan. Clara set the table with the big tea cups for the girls and toy cups for their dolls. We took out little plates and bowls for the sweet and savory snacks. Clara set up the silverware and the napkins. She even set up a little cup on the floor for her American Girl Doll’s doggy.
The menuSweets menu
*Chocolate chip cookies
*Annie’s organic snack mix
*Iced herbal peach tea
Even though there are allegedly a thousand and three variations of the American Girl dolls, they all look rather the same to me with their bright, wide eyes and stiff yet slightly movable bodies. However, I was genuinely impressed with some of the accessories that the girls brought for their dolls.
Sarah’s doll had crutches, a tiny cast on her leg, and even a hearing aid. Lila’s doll rolled into the party on rollerblades, but Lila decided to take the shoes off before the tea party because she didn’t think they were appropriate footwear for the event.
Tea party rules
The girls reviewed what they know about how to conduct a tea party.
1. It’s all in the pinky. Sarah started with the helpful reminder to keep one’s pinky properly flexed up in the air. Each girl practiced their pinky extension.
2. Proper etiquette. Lila reminded the group to be polite and put their napkins in their lap.
3. Tea mother. I shared with the girls my experience of going to a fancy high tea at the Empress in Victoria, Canada. Our waiter asked who would be the Tea mother and explained that that person’s job is to pour the tea for the others. Each girl took turns pouring the tea for the dolls.
4. Everything sounds better with an accent. I tried to get the girls to talk with a British accent, but since I can’t even do one myself, this tip didn’t go very far.
In the end, our tea party seemed to be shorter than even the underwater tea parties that Clara and I conduct in the swimming pool. The girls ate their snacks, drank their tea, and then they were eager to move on to other games.
Running around the house playing hide and seek, watching “Bedtime for Frances”, and reading books were more engaging for the girls than the tea party.
The old-fashioned pioneer woman in me was a bit disappointed that the tea party was not more of a hit. On the other hand, though, I am happy we are raising girls who find joy in play that transcends traditional gender roles, that it takes more than dolls and tea to satisfy these free spirits.