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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Siblings Were Invented To Ruin Christmas

I don't know if you were aware of this, but I have a brother.

For the most part, we got along splendidly growing up. We must've, otherwise all those times he stole my precious teddy bears and threatened to shred my blankie and told me the Noble Romans pizza monster was going to kill me wouldn't stand out so vividly.

Right?


We grew up in the Dark Ages (1984), the good old days when parents did things like trample each other in the aisles of Walgreens (or whatever passed for Target back then) to get their hands on a Cabbage Patch Kid.

If you were a girl in 1984, you might recall that you were nothing until you owned a Cabbage Patch Kid. As a result, a lot of parents were in full body casts that year at Christmastime.

But we were a family that didn't typically buy into these trends (that's code for "poor"). Plus, I noted (with some disappointment) that my mom hadn't been hobbled or elbowed in the eye while gift shopping, so I assumed she hadn't engaged in the hand-to-hand combat required to snag that year's hottest toy.

That's why I wasn't really expecting to receive a yarn-haired little vegetable orphan under the tree. No miniature adoption papers. No one-sided dimple, no odd powder-fresh scent, no bulbous foot stumps to cram into rock-hard plastic shoes.

But I was a kid, which meant that even insurmountable odds couldn't completely silence the hope in my heart. Like Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB Gun, no matter how bleak the Cabbage Patch Kid Outlook became, there was part of me that could never be touched by doubt.

And as it is with all children, that spark of hope gradually grew. By Christmas morning, anticipation virtually crackled in the air, like the snap of electricity escaping the loose end of a downed power line. I timidly approached the tree, pushed up the sleeves of my pajamas, opened my first gift and... it was... wait for it... my very own CPK doll!

I was beside myself with joy!

But, as you readers with siblings could've probably guessed, my happiness didn't last long. It was about thirty seconds before my brother made the infamous announcement.

"It isn't a real one, you know. Mom made it."
I think I can safely say, without any fear of hyperbole, that those words still send residual shockwaves of horror, disbelief, and crushing disappointment through my soul, which continue to shake the foundations of who I am and affect my ability to function as a contributing member of society to this very day.
Not wanting to believe it was true, yet fearing the worst, I swiftly pantsed my new adopted angel to check for her birthmark, the sign of an authentic CPK and the key to my happiness - the Xavier Roberts signature on her tush.

Alas, her plush little buns were unmarred by needlework of any kind.
I'll pause here for you to dab your eyes with a tissue.
Obviously I'm kidding about the devastating effect of that moment (no I'm not). I recognize and appreciate that my mom put way more time, effort, and love into handmaking a CPK look-alike than would've been required for her to shiv a couple other moms at Toys R Us to get a real one.

Nevertheless, it was kind of a downer for a minute there.

I like to think I never would have noticed and I'd still believe she was a real Cabbage Patch Kid - that is, if my brother hadn't ruined Christmas and scarred me psychologically, of course. Maybe it would have changed the course of my life. Maybe I'd be rich and famous by now. Maybe it's his fault that I've perpetuated the cycle, insisting on hand crafting marvelous gifts for my own children when all they really want is some store-bought piece of garbage.

Maybe not.

But I'll blame him anyway. That's what brothers are for.



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


59 comments:

  1. My first cabbage patch doll was an imposter also, made by my loving mother. I knew right away however, because my doll's nose looked more like a penis that the cute little nugget nose real CPK dolls had. It was okay with me though because I had previously been carrying around the African American fake cabbage patch BOY that my brother had gotten for his birthday. I named her Janette since, as you know, she didn't have a birth certificate with her name on it. A Christmas later I received Myra Claudia who could hold a crayon. Pretty advanced, eh?

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    1. I forgot about the penis nose!!! But yours is easily the saddest CPK story I've ever heard - a hand-me-down, from your BROTHER? Tragic.

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  2. Oh...well at least she tried to make it look like one.
    I was fortunate to get a CPK. My little sister scribbled on her face. She's such a bitch.

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    1. See? Siblings really do ruin everything! I hope you scribbled on your sister's face to teach her a lesson - it's the only way she'll learn.

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  3. I never got a cabbage patch either...but I remember the most disappointing Christmas present ever was the year we three girls had identical packages...I was sure they were the coolest dolls ever so I convinced my sisters we should open them last. Alas...they were waste baskets.

    And everyone is getting a hand knitted scarf from me this year...and they better like it or else.

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    1. Oh no, waste baskets? Well, at least you had someplace to put your tissues after all the crying. P.S. I'm waiting for my scarf...

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  4. I never got a cabbage patch either...but I remember the most disappointing Christmas present ever was the year we three girls had identical packages...I was sure they were the coolest dolls ever so I convinced my sisters we should open them last. Alas...they were waste baskets.

    And everyone is getting a hand knitted scarf from me this year...and they better like it or else.

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  5. I did get a cabbage patch kid. Lucky me. What I didn't score was an Atari like the rest of the world. My mother didn't believe in them, despite my argument that it would improve my hand-eye coordination. I got a Commodore 64 or a Vic 20 or some bizzaro computer with a black screen and ominous green/blue-white lights...Sigh.

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    1. Sounds like a good argument for Atari to me - but then again, we had one. It was AWESOME! :)

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  6. I finally got a Cabbage Patch kid about a year after they were "the thing" to have. I wanted one for so long. I had the fake one too and a soft one that my aunt made me (that looked nothing like a cabbage patch kid). I still have them all. Yes, I am THAT person. My daughter plays with them.

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    1. Hey, there's nothing wrong with being THAT person! ::shoves 30-year-old teddy bears out of view::

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  7. This reminds me of that time I got a home made Atari 2600 for Christmas. It was just a bunch of screen shot pictures clipped from magazine ads that my mom would tape to the TV. It's funny, even though I played Pac-Man a ton, I always seemed to get the exact same score every time I played.

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    1. We didn't have anything like that, probably because we were always going to the arcade, which looked a lot like our family room plastered with pictures of Vegas torn out of travel brochures.

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  8. Hi, I'm new here. My mom made our "cabbage patch" dolls too! First she made ones with fabric heads that barely resembled real, then she found those plastic penis nosed imposter heads and made those. My poor mom, I know she worked so hard on those to make us ( my sister and I) happy. I honestly always thought we were the only ones who had to endure knock-offs so I'm glad to see we weren't.

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    1. I know, they had to take forever to make, didn't they??? Our poor moms. I seriously thought I was the only one too, though - its nice to know there were other hardworking moms and ungrateful kids out there. ;)

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  9. Wow.

    I have a *lot* of stuff to say, but all I'm *going* to say is that this was a beautifully written piece, and one that perfectly illustrates the breadth and depth of your talent as a writer and an artist.

    Seriously. Mew.

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    1. Wow, thanks babe! I'm speechless. You know how I hate that. ;)

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  10. My brother used to flush the heads of my barbies. So yeah...

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  11. Never had one and thankfully the 1st born daughter wasn't interested whew I seen 1st hand other moms whom went to war and still hold battle scars from the dark CPK era oh and yes DANG brothers and their mouthy interferences :)

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    1. "the dark CPK era" - YES! That's exactly right. May we only speak of it in hushed tones.

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  12. I think besides your Dollhouse series, this has been one of my favorite posts. I can so relate having grown up "poor" myself and having an older brother who spilled the beans about everything from Santa to where babies come from. I, too, had a mom who would try her hardest to make sure we were happy at Christmas even going so far as making things for us. I think it's wonderful, and a little lost in our consumer driven age. Good for you for continuing that tradtion and making things for your kids. I'm not crafty at all.

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    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot to me! Luckily my kids are still young (well, some of them are) and are still touched my handmade gifts without really noticing the shoddy workmanship (or at least they pretend to be). But my kids have started requesting store-bought Halloween costumes, though they're quick to reassure me it's not because they don't *love* my cobbled-together thrift store ones. I know my hand-made gift days are numbered, though. ;)

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  13. Older sister here. *I* was the one who did all of the fun ruining in my house. Until my younger brothers hit puberty and skyrocketed past me in height and weight.

    Also? Your mom is a doll. Pun sort of intended.

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    1. My mom IS a doll - my only gripe is that, despite my continued nagging, she STILL won't have another kid so that I can finally be an older sister. Older Sibling always seemed like a pretty good gig. :)

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  14. My mom gave my sister and I were also wishing for Cabbage Patch dolls. My mom had made THOUSANDS by making and selling look-a-likes. THOUSANDS! Everyday, when we would come home from elementary school, there would be more and more stuffed arms, legs, and bodies in various stages of completion. There would be made to order heads with dark or light skin, hand painted blue, green, or brown eyes, and black, brown, or blonde yarn pigtails, or short, curly yarn hair. They had hand made dimples in both sets of cute little cheeks. We thought it amazing to see all of them. We wondered if one of these beauties would be ours. But we saw each one leave with a mother so excited to give their precious cargo to a waiting little girl on Christmas morning. Then, on Christmas morning, we walked into our living room and gasped! There were OUR Cabbage Patch dolls! We were so excited! I still have mine. My own little girls have not been allowed much time to play with her. I am still torn on whether to let them or not. This doll represents so much to me, has so many memories, especially now that my mom has been gone for 4 and half years due to metastatic breast cancer. But do I let my girls love and play with something that was made with so much love by their Grandmother? When I look at that doll, I still smile and hold her close. Thanks for bringing back that memory and making me laugh and smile. :)

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    1. What a beautiful story! I can only imagine how magical that would seem to a little girl, to have a house full of all those dolls. This really made me smile - I love that you still have your CPK doll and that she still brings you happiness to this day. Obviously I didn't have the pleasure of knowing your mom, but from your description I bet it would give her a lot of joy to know that something she did still makes you happy. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  15. Gosh, I feel really bad. I was one of the spoiled ones who got the real thing (what can I say, mom's from a redneck family and a fairly decent shot - I'm sure it was no problem for her at all).
    I still have her tucked safely away in her own Official rocking cradle for my own daughters to play with. Perhaps I was lucky because I was an only child.
    Also, I got a pony!! Not a "My Little".....a real one.
    You totally want to punch me in the face, donthca?
    *sigh* I always wanted an older sister....

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    1. Ah, the grass is always greener on the other side, eh? But the grass on your side did have a pony grazing on it, so I think your side wins. ;)

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  16. I remember those dolls and somehow ended up with 2 of them when I was 7. I know my mom was on welfare and couldn't have afforded them; in fact, I recall her telling me to not bring them out when the welfare lady came to visit. I wouldn't have known otherwise that they were expensive. I think someone gave them ... I guess.

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    1. Aww, that's sweet that your mom wanted you to have The Good Stuff, even if you had to hide it sometimes. ;)

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  17. Yup! My older brother was/is a jackass and ruined(s) everything. We were also poor...actually I think we kinda went up and down, so one year we got ALL the good toys, and a pool, and a trampoline, then we couldn't get a book the next year. :/ Anyways, I am in total agreement about siblings being made to ruin everything. And my oldest daugher has already started in on her little sister. SIGH, the circle of life....
    Great post, love it as always Robyn!
    Devan

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    1. It's inevitable, isn't it? Although as the youngest, I guess I was my own kind of terror - my brother got in trouble for EVERYTHING, because I wasn't afraid to cry first (loudly). Thanks for sharing about your yo-yo Christmases - sounds familiar. :)

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  18. Oh, the CPK doll...wait, I just realized that's also California Pizza Kitchen. Yum! Anyway, my sister and I loved our dolls even though I was way to old to be receiving one (I think I was like 12 or 13 #loser). Clifton Bud and Corey Emmy were their names. I think my sister still has them. I fondly remember their little butts with the Xavier signature. Thanks for the memories. Sorry you didn't get yours. I would have shared mine...actually, I probably wouldn't have. I was pretty selfish, especially at 12 or 13.

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    1. Hey, I'd have taken one at 12 or 13! #co-loser I love that you still remember their names - awesome! :)

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  19. I had a younger brother, enough said!! But I don't want to tell you that I actually got more than on e Cabbage Patch Kid Doll that Christmas, because my dad's good friend was the manager at Woolworth and put them aside for him. They reside now somewhere in my parents old attic and haven't thought about them for years until reading your post. Hopped over from Mom of the Year and glad I did. Will be following you and hope you can check out my blog when you get a chance.

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    1. So lucky! If I'd thought of that, I'd have made my parents get more useful friends. :)

      I'm so happy you're here - thanks for following! I'll be right over to check you out, too. :)

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  20. UGH I have a younger brother. this just brought back floods of ruined christmases!

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    1. Dang brothers!!! I feel your pain, honey.

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  21. Get this - my mom still has two Cabbage Patch Kid dolls - unopened and in their boxes - in her basement. They're from like 1984. I think she was so frantic to find them during the craze, she got as many as she could when she was able. And then ... hung onto them. Why, I don't know. That's just my mom.

    Oh - and I am an only child. And my parents didn't get along, which they compensated for by giving too many gifts. I won't say how many CPKs I had. It's downright shameful.

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    1. There's no shame in having multiple CPKs - you're just living the dream!

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  22. It was bad enough that we got boy dolls and that mine had the name Imala. But then one of my sisters nicknamed him Iguana. I actually did an official name change for my CPK to get her to stop. Didn't work.

    The Red Ryder bb gun the next year was much more awesome (even if I did eventually lose a tooth because of it).

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    1. Did you really lose a tooth? You mean all those killjoy adults were RIGHT?!?

      I had to laugh at the Iguana thing, but only out if solidarity. I had a cat named Oreo, and my brother insisted on calling him Chips Ahoy.

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    2. I chipped a front tooth when a bb ricocheted, ended up needing a root canal on it a few years later, and now it's mostly fake. But I still loved that thing -I just learned not to shoot metal cans!

      We had a cat named Butterscotch, but our brother called her Utterbotch and bellybutton lint.

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    3. Some lessons are learned the hard way, right? At least it sounds like it was worth it!

      Why can't brothers just call cats by their rightful names?!? I tried to get my brother back - his cat was Midnight, and I started calling him 9:15. ;)

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  23. OK, that is a fantastic story. We must be exactly the same age, because my mom loves to tell a story about the insane CPK fever of 1984, in which she and my dad went on a business trip to Bermuda and rode through town on their moped with the doll they procured for me, and one for my cousin, too. It was super exciting for them. That story kind of made me want to cry. (By the way, I went on to own six more dolls, and I too remember every one of their names. I loved them.)

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    1. That's so sweet! I love the image of your folks zipping through a tropical paradise on a moped, dizzy with the joy of CPK victory. :)

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  24. Oh, wow. Thanks for the laughs! Brothers can be a bother, can't they? Our first daughter was just a couple of years old when the Cabbage Patch craze hit. The doll wasn't in the budget, and we knew Alexis wasn't old enough to appreciate what it was. Nonetheless, her crazy aunt went out and literally fought for a doll, which Alexis got that year.

    The comment about receiving wastebaskets made me laugh out loud and made me cringe. I wrote recently about how to become a delightful gift giver, and shared some embarrassing stories from my past. When our girls were around 5 and 8, we gave them soft-sided monogrammed luggage. It pains me every time I think of it... :-(

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    1. Once when I was maybe 10 or 12, my mom got me a suitcase for my birthday. With wild eyes I opened all the zippered compartments, sure that the suitcase was just a vehicle for a plane ticket stashed in there somewhere (nevermind the fact that we were not wealthy and I'd never gotten anything extravagant like that before.) Nope, just the suitcase. I was so ashamed of myself for not appreciating it, but I couldn't help feeling gypped.

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    2. I'm laughing out loud at both these stories - who knew luggage could be such a source of pain and anguish?!?

      I ordered a bunch of stuff online for Christmas and birthdays (2 of the kids have Dec bdays) - my daughter needed new underwear, and since it came in the shipment with all the toys I considered wrapping it and giving it to her as a gift. In hindsight I'm glad I didn't, but if I ever give her luggage I'm putting some undies inside, for sure!

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  25. I DID get a CPK that same year, which was awesome, but she (he?) looked just like Pat from Saturday Night Live. My grandma couldn't believe the store had a doll left, but even my seven year old mind knew it was the reject doll that no one wanted. I didn't care if my kid was androgynous. I had a Cabbage Patch Kid, bitches!

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    1. Thanks for the out-loud laugh - I just snorted!

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  26. Hilarious!!! I think I did get a CPK doll in 84. His name was Clinton and I bet he still smells of baby powder. My kids play with my other CPK doll (that's right, I had two...don't hate me) Marjorie at my parents' house and she still smells. I had to laugh about the stumpy foot and plastic shoe. It takes me back.

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    1. Thanks! So I wonder, why can CPKs smell nice and fresh after 30 years, but I can't find a deodorant that lasts all day?

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  27. I, too, had a CPK when I was little. It was the BEST birthday present (in my mind)! That play make up and other stuff? Nah! Didn't hold a candle to my CPK. Unfortunately, about a year later, we got a dog. One night, apparently, the dog ate her. I remember my mom telling me in the morning and I was just bawling and demanding that we get rid of the dog. (obviously, we didn't)
    A few months after this though, I was playing with a friend at her grandmother's house and we decided to start being nosy. We opened a closet door to find a bunch of (knock-off) CPK heads in a plastic tub! I know we screamed and pretty much freaked out (we were 5 or 6) thinking somebody had deliberately destroyed a bunch of CPK dolls until it was explained to us that her grandmother made them. *shivers* It still creeps me out though to just see doll heads sitting around....

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    1. So much CPK trauma! I don't think getting rid of the dog was an unrealistic request, and the tub of heads? Now *I'm* creeped out.

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  28. "a yarn-haired little vegetable orphan" ... omg i am dying laughing!!

    my grandpa got me a cpk baby for christmas when i was a year old, so i don't quite remember it. but i still have her of course (what sort of sick weirdo gets rid of their cabbage patch baby?!) and now my little boy plays with her, which i love so much.

    one of my favorite cpk stories is from my mom. she once tried to give beverly a "bath" ... in the washing machine. it worked, bev was all clean! but my mother said it was horrifying to watch her little bald head bobbing up and down in the washer! ha!

    thanks for sharing your traumatic memories with us ;)

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    1. Laughing. So. Hard. Which I hesitate to admit - the visual image of a CPK baby bobbing around in the washer shouldn't be this funny. ;)

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