Flora's Cabbage Patch Kids

Cabbage Patch Kids: a history of a well-loved doll

I started writing a long comment on Karen’s post about her Cabbage Patch Kid when I realized we’d both be better off if I wrote a post and linked to that in her comments instead.

Like many kids growing up in the mid-eighties, both my sister and I had Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. We got them for Christmas the year they were so popular in Canada  – 1985 I think? My mother doesn’t remember any stampedes but remembers that they were hard to find. Mine was named Sylvia Estelle and Kyla’s was named Susan Zora. I remember both of us signing the adoption papers and my mother telling my sister that she wasn’t allowed to throw hers on the floor (apparently, she was a doll thrower).

We played with them a *lot*. My mom made clothes for them. My sister cut their hair (something I only discovered recently when I couldn’t get the ponytails fixed properly). I remember going to a Cabbage Patch Kid party where all the girls brought their dolls and we all played. Someone took a picture of at least ten dolls on the couch and while their faces essentially looked the same, each one of them was unique enough that you knew exactly whose doll was whose.

Before we got the “real” Cabbage Patch Kids, we were given homemade dolls made by one of our favourite aunts. They weren’t the same as the Cabbage Patch Kids, but they were pretty close. We loved those dollies too. They were loved hard because I remember mine getting holes in her face and some of her hair was falling off. My sister also put lipstick on my doll (“to see what it would look like”) so they were definitely one of a kind. What made them extra special was that my aunt made them look like us – Betty Lou had short brown hair like me and Lily was blonde like Kyla.

Fast forward to now. These dolls are still at my mom’s house, and the Cabbage Patch Kids have both been brought out for Flora to play with when she’s at Grandma’s. (I think the homemade dolls are a little fragile for a toddler.) Fun fact: when I was pregnant, my mother had me practice my swaddling on my Cabbage Patch Kid. Later in the evening, I realized I was still cradling my swaddled “baby” and jiggling her as if she was a real baby. Big laughs all around.

Flora playing with her aunt's Cabbage Patch Kid
Flora playing mummy to her dolly

Flora adores these dolls and plays with them every time she visits Grandma’s house. Interestingly, she seems to have taken a bigger shine to Kyla’s doll and not mine – I think Susan Zora got better placement in the house.

When my mom heard that the 25th anniversary dolls were released, she was excited to buy one for Flora and gave it to her for her first birthday. I think they’re running out of names in the Cabbage Patch because her dolly is named “Fairy Artie”. I had to get my sister to repeat it when she told me on the phone before we actually saw the doll. She told me “Fairy as in ‘fairy godmother’ and Artie as in ‘Artie Ziff'”. My reponse: “Oh, so little Fartie then”. Again, big laughs all around. Little Fartie sits on Flora’s toy shelf as she seemed a little large for Flora’s hands. Writing this post made me realize that I should take Little Fartie down and let Flora play with her. She was a big hit and will be entering regular rotation.

Birth Certificates for Flora's Cabbage Patch Kids
Yup, that doll really is named Fairy Artie. The other kids in the Patch must have had a field day with her.
Flora's Cabbage Patch Kids
L-R: Ericka Alessandra, Fairy Artie

I think my mom likes these dollies as much as we do. When she saw the little preemie dolls that came out recently, she went and bought one of those for Flora as well. Ericka Alessandra is a little smaller than a regular Cabbage Patch Kid and is made completely out of plastic. Flora adores her and plays with her regularly. One of her favourite things to do with it is take off all of dolly’s clothes. Then I have to put them back on because she hasn’t gotten the hang of that part yet. (Kind of like Flora herself.) Sometimes I hear her talking to her dolly like I talk to her: “change your diaper”, “all clean”, “time to play”, “feed baby”. It shocked me just how early that kind of play starts, although it makes sense when I think about it.

I’ve always said I can’t wait for Flora to be old enough for Barbies so we could play together (I *loved* Barbies as a kid). I’ve enjoyed her Cabbage Patch Kid phase immensely though. I’m so thankful my mom had the foresight to save the Cabbage Patch Kids (and the clothes she made) so the next generation of our family could enjoy them.

5 thoughts on “Cabbage Patch Kids: a history of a well-loved doll”

  1. You reminded me that have a homemade “Cabbage Patch” kid, too. I’d forgotten all about her! I think my mom and my grandmother made it together, but not until after I had my actual Cabbage Patch doll, Morgana Bonnie.

    It’s nice that we can pass on things like that to our children and not have to spend a fortune on a collector’s item to do it. 🙂 Enjoy playing with dolls again – isn’t that one of the great benefits of parenthood?

    Reply
  2. I remember my aunt made quite a few of those dolls for the little girls in her life. We may have even done up some sort of adoption papers. I remember writing Betty Lou’s name on a piece of paper. I’m pretty sure the homemade dolls came first. We got them in the summer and the CPKs were a Christmas gift.

    Reply
  3. Cabbage patch kids had such funny names, but I guess they were memorable. Mine came with the name Mildred Caroline (still ick) but I went through the process of having it legally changed to Christina Mae. I believe they sent me a new birth certificate and everything.

    I wonder where she is, I’d love to give her to Juliette. (oh! and remember the cabbage patch pets? those were odd)

    Reply
  4. Hi my name is Alissa i have the exact same cabbage patch (the one on the right with the pink suit) my dad lost out storage with all out stuff in it when i was 13 and i lost it ?i was wondering where you got it so i can get a new one!

    Reply

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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