Eighteen months ago, we’d never even heard of American Girl. In fact, it was a completely blank look I gave one of my friends when she told me that we had to take the kidlet to AG when we were visiting the US in the middle of last year.

‘What is it?’ I asked

‘Only the best doll shop in the world.’ My friend had bought her daughter – a friend of our daughter – an AG doll when she was in NYC the year before.

And so it started. Walking the streets of NYC, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the red awning and overall ‘pinkness’ of the three-story American Girl emporium in Midtown Manhattan. My husband saw it too and despite our best efforts to distract our daughter and guide her line of vision away from the store, she noticed it. And started jumping up and down.

‘American Girl! American Girl!’ she squealed. ‘We HAVE to go in.’ And without waiting for us to agree, she stormed through the doors. ‘Oh-Em-Gee,’ she announced. I cringed.

We walked the three floors of the store in delight (the kiddo) and terror (her parents). I started calculating currency conversions in my head and worked out that if we bought only one doll and one outfit we could probably keep both our cars and only get one second mortgage on the house.

Of course, there was not only one outfit. Because there were also accessories, books, shoes, jewellery and a matching outfit for the kid. (Thankfully, there were no ‘But I want a pony!’ demands from our child, unlike the kid near us who was throwing a tantrum and cursing her mother as the ‘WORST MOM IN THE WORLD I CAN’T HAVE A PONY. NOW’ (Possibly, her name was Veruca Salt.)

Our daughter picked out a doll that had long, dark-brown hair, dark eyes and no fringe. She named her Iris. ‘I want her because she looks like me,’ said the kidlet. And she was right; she kind of did. We walked all around New York with Iris, and people in the street would comment that they looked alike. Our daughter smiled proudly.

We retuned to Australia with Iris and her wardrobe of outfits and accessories, and she became the favourite toy – and has remained that way.

When we decided on a return trip to NYC, the kidlet spent all her planning time working out how many times we would visit AG. She saved her birthday money and worked out what she would buy and announced to everyone that the reason we were going to New York was to go to American Girl. (Please know, that is NOT the truth. The reason we are here is to visit Doughnut Plant. Of course.)

So, we arrived last Wednesday and on Thursday, we walked through the revolving door, the kidlet squealing again.

This time, knowing what to expect, I spent the time really looking at all the dolls and the accessories. I actually quite like the back-stories to some of the dolls – it’s an interesting and fun way to introduce kids to different periods of history.

We looked at the accessories and outfits. And there, amongst the dance, soccer and karate uniforms, roller-skates, doll-sized musical instruments, equestrian gear, camping equipment and skis, I noticed a wheelchair, crutches, a hearing aid and seeing glasses.

American Girl dolls come in every hair colour and style, they have different colour eyes, some have freckles, and they have different skin tones. Most girls can find an AG doll that looks just like them, and the boys can find a look-alike Bitty Baby.

Dolls can be customised to look and BE just like the kid who it belongs to. And that’s kind of cool.

‘I wish there was an American Girl insulin pump and CGM. Then I would buy one.’ I said. And you know what? I totally would.


Samantha (on the left) and Iris.