Cabbage Patch Kids and a Perfect Moment

On the last Monday of each month Lori at Write Mind Open Heart posts about a perfect moment she has had. She says, “it is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one.” I really love the idea of being mindful of perfect moments and dwelling on them when they happen so please see mine below. To read other perfect moments or to link up your own visit Lori’s post.

Perfect Moment

Do you remember the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the 1980’s? I think I was about eight years old when I really, really wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas. I knew they were hard to come by but I figured Santa’s elves would be working overtime and I was hopeful.

When my parents were out one day my older sister came to find me and tell me that she had found Cabbage Patch Kids and that she was pretty sure we would be getting them for Christmas. We snuck into the attic and I saw Leo Rudy for the first time. He was bald with blue eyes and I could hardly contain my excitement, I had specifically asked for a bald boy Cabbage Patch Kid and there he was. My sister and I weren’t the most clever of kids, we didn’t put the boxes back exactly where we’d found them and then my sister started dropping hints to my Mom that what she really wanted was a red headed Cabbage Patch Kid wearing a pink sweat suit. No surprise that there was one of those up in the attic. Needless to say my mother caught onto us pretty quick and boy were we in trouble – so much so that we didn’t think there would be anything for either of us under the tree that year.

I can still remember lying awake on Christmas Eve with knots in my stomach, wondering if there would be anything under the tree for me and feeling pretty guilty about my snooping. I came down Christmas morning expecting the worst but Santa hadn’t failed me, there were presents for everyone but no Cabbage Patch Kids. My mom made us sweat it out by waiting until all the other gifts had been opened to pull them out. We were so excited – Christmas was saved and I definitely learned not to go sneaking around in the attic ever again! We used to spend Christmas at my Grandmother’s house and that day all my cousins arrived with their own Cabbage Patch Kids in tow. We played with our new dolls all day, pushing them in strollers, wearing them in carriers, putting them to sleep and then waking them up to eat. Leo was my first Cabbage Patch Kid and a very favorite toy of mine, eventually Bess Kathyleen was added to my collection. I just loved those Cabbage Patch Kid names and the birth certificates that they came with. Bess had long brown braids and brown eyes. I adored them both for a long while but, as with most toys, I eventually outgrew them.

The Christmas before last when we were in the States my mom suggested I go through my old toys to see if there was anything my girls would like and I was reintroduced to Leo and Bess. I wrapped them up with some of the Cabbage Patch Kid clothes that mom had saved and put them under the tree. Boo was twenty months and Kooks was six months. While Kooks was still a little young for Leo, Boo adored Bess. As the girls get older they are playing with them more and more and the dolls, who looked almost pristine when I gave them to my girls, are much worse for the wear from all the loving they are getting in the African bush. I am finding it extremely satisfying to watch my children get so much joy out of the very same toys that gave me so much joy years ago. As they get older they probably won’t appreciate my cast offs as much but my perfect moment was hearing my girls play with their Cabbage Patch Kids and getting nostalgic about my own childhood which in some ways was so very different from theirs and in other ways so alike. Where I pushed Bess and Leo in doll strollers my girls carry them on their backs with a chitenje (the cloth used by women here to carry their babies). If my eight year old self could have foreseen this moment when she was lying awake wondering if her misdeed had ruined Christmas, it would have blown her little mind.

Are there any favorite toys from your childhood that you have given to a special child in your life? How were they received?

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About Jody Tilbury

21 Responses to “Cabbage Patch Kids and a Perfect Moment”

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  1. So sweet! My 6yo sleeps with a teddy bear I got for Christmas when I was 11. She even brought it to school for Show & Tell 🙂

  2. Sandy says:

    I still have my cabbage patch dolls from the 80s! My son also plays with my stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh, which is 40 years old. I wish I had saved more toys. I used to LOVE Fisher Price Little People. Mine were wooden and they had amazing houses. Now I they are plastic and not nearly as creative. I LOVE your blog, by the way! I came over from Lori’s.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you! We also had the old Little People – they were fantastic. I think my mom still has them – will definitely have to pull them out for the girls to play with the next time we are in the States.

  3. Heather says:

    I remember these! I’m relieved you still got your dolls for Christmas…

  4. I love the way this post makes me time travel with you. Your 8 year-old self is very happy — both for her AND the current you!

  5. April says:

    I love the story! My sister and I didn’t get ‘real’ Cabbage Patch Kids, but we loved ours just as much. And like you, I get so much enjoyment from watching Abby love on my old toys.

  6. Kathy says:

    Love this “If my eight year old self could have foreseen this moment when she was lying awake wondering if her misdeed had ruined Christmas, it would have blown her little mind.” and your entire post. So special to have that perfect moment remembering the story of how you got your Cabbage Patch Kids and to see your own children playing with them now.

    My Cabbage Patch Kids were Tabitha Barbara and Joe Raphel! Tabitha came first and oh how I wanted her. I promised my parents if they got me one I would “play with her everyday for the rest of my life!” Sometime later came my “preemie” Joe. I used to make my older sister (by 5 years) pretend to be their “Auntie Meg!”

    Your story of how your mom handled yours sister and you finding them ahead of time reminds me of a Christmas that I really wanted an electronic board game called “Dark Tower.” Apparently my parents thought I believed I was getting it too much and dragged out the present opening allowing me to believe I was not getting it. Then at the end they had me go downstairs into our laundry room to find it after all and the experience made an impression on me for sure.

    I believe both my Cabbage Patch Kids and Dark Tower are in my parents attic or in boxes in our house here somewhere. Now I want to go look for them and introduce them to my kids!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thanks Kathy! Those Cabbage Patch Kids sure had some terrific names didn’t they? Seems like our parents had similar styles – I wonder how I will handle those kinds of situations with my own kids when they are older. I know this one must have been tough on my Mom. She had a really hard time getting a hold of the dolls for us and must have been so disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy our surprise on Christmas morning.

  7. I love this! My kids recently found my tote with my two dolls and all of the clothes my Grandma made for them back in the day. I love that they love them.

  8. Lisa Nolan says:

    So precious! And so well-written! Great way to blend old with new, connect your childhood with your children’s, set mood and tone, ending it with a perfect arch! Loved it! (Pinned you here

  9. What a beautiful story! Love the image of you as an eight year old learning about your life today 🙂 And so sweet your girls are giving those dolls a lot of love. Perfect moment, indeed!

  10. Suzy says:

    Well I have to admit I’m a little jealous. When I was a kid my parents got me a “knock off” Cabbage Patch doll. She had really creepy eyes.

    I love the fact that your Cabbage Patch dolls are being well loved on by a second generation.

  11. Addison says:

    What a fun story! It reminds of being six or seven years old, a few days before Christmas. It was probably past my bedtime, but in my mind, I was a spy! I left my bedroom, ran through the dining room, snuck past my mom in the kitchen, and stealthily made my way down the stairs, turned a corner, and found my dad wrapping presents. Somehow, I wasn’t actually expecting to succeed! Anyway, my “favorite toy” as a kid was a Pound Puppy named Fred. I still have him. He’s probably about 26 years old now, which makes him, what, 234 in dog years? I’m hopeful that, when I do have kids, they’ll love Fred (and my wife’s Paddington Bear) as much as we have 🙂

  12. Penny says:

    This was beautiful to read and gave me tingles Jody. I too recieved a cabbage patch kid for Christmas. I can’t remember her name but she had flaming red hair just like me. It was so lovely to read your experience. I only wish Miss Possum could have had mine. She does have a Cabbage patch though. One of the newly made vinatage ones and it looks just like my old one. 🙂

  13. MsXpat says:

    This is a truly lovely post and the one I’ve enjoyed most reading this week. Funnily enough I saw a Cabbage Patch add earlier this week and I was amazed that they are still around and a tad pricey £30, but for memories like yours, its priceless. I never had one myself, I wasn’t into it at the time but seeing the ad this week made me feel nostalgic and I’m contemplating buy one for my baby girl. Sweet pic of your daughter :0) Clearly a new and beautiful friendship is being forged there. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Michele says:

    For me it was books. I love that my kids cherish them the way I did!

  15. Lisa Nolan says:

    This piece is in my top ten mom lit of 2012, and I used your Pinterest pin image in the post, let me know if that’s not OK!

  16. Becky says:

    I love this!!!! I gad Meghan Suzie, my sister had Georgette Gina, and my brother had Ballard Rex. My sister and I LOVED to play with them.. you’ve inspired me to go look through my old toys and see if she’s still around!:)