We regret to inform you that your application for adoption of a Cabbage Patch Kid has been denied. As you are no doubt aware, Cabbage Patch Kids do not grow on trees – they grow in a cabbage patch, behind a waterfall in a magical valley. This renders them rarer than you might think, and competition for adoption is fierce. We understand this may come as a disappointment to you, so we wanted to outline for you the reasons for our decision, should you desire to adopt in the future.
First, we want to stress that it is against policy for us to fill specific requests. For example, we cannot provide the Cabbage Patch Kid with the highest Midichlorian count, nor do we have the means to calculate such a number if we could. While you are not forbidden from encouraging a career in the military for your Kid, none of our adoptees can be trained in space combat before adoption, and we do not refer to any of them as “Admiral.”
Through our extensive background checks it was brought to our attention that you live in a “Death Star” that is frequently under attack from “Rebel forces.” We do not presume to judge the living conditions of our applicants; however, we find it less than encouraging that your engineers failed to properly secure the thermal exhaust port. Even the employees here in the office at Babyland General Hospital know that a common proton torpedo could exploit such an obvious weakness. We would require more astute attention to household safety in order to ensure the security of our adoptees. We always take into consideration an applicant’s ability to adequately protect our Kids from evil Lavender McDade, Cabbage Jack, and their gold mine – we do not condone child labor, and we fear the ease with which you dispose of your Storm Troopers might put a Kid at risk of falling into another low-pay high-danger occupation.
More disturbing still, we understand you already have two children, from whom you have become estranged and, it seems, have on occasion attempted to murder. We take our applicants’ previous history with children very seriously, and though we appreciate the importance of encouraging children to be successful, a Dark Side-or-Death ultimatum seems more terrifying than heartening. We hope this last fact does not offend, but we are also concerned with your chronic respiratory problems and whether they jeopardize your ability to parent full-time.
We at Babyland General Hospital would like to thank you for your interest in adopting a Cabbage Patch Kid. Simply applying is the first hurdle, and we appreciate your desire, even if we do not feel it fits your current lifestyle. We encourage you to apply again in the future.
Chief of Staff Babyland General Hospital Mount Yonah Cleveland, Georgia
52. The monster of a Cabbage Patch Kid doll that ate plastic food mechanically and had a backpack where the food went and then you’d take the food out of the backpack and put it right back in her mouth and you’d do that over and over until your hair would get stuck too, honestly a NIGHTMARE
You may have read the title of this post and assumed it was a satire. No, this actually happened.
My younger sister Jenny “adopted” our family’s first Cabbage Patch Kid: Mickie Ross Gabler. The adoption date recorded in his baby book was Jenny’s sixth birthday. I was eight. (It’s so classic 80s that this sticker book was sold as “an educational play set.”)
You’ll note, however, that in this baby book, Jenny is not listed as Mickie’s guardian: I am, my name having been written on top of Jenny’s. It was presumably also my decision to give Mickie the career aspiration of “He-Man,” erasing whatever Jenny had written there.
Though I was a boy, I wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid so bad. Why?
(a) My two closest siblings and natural (though infrequent) playmates were girls: Jenny and Julia.
(c) In 1984, Cabbage Patch Kids were a roaring fad. They were just the thing to have—for girls, anyway. There were scarcities: I presume that Mickie’s adoption was due to the efforts of our family friend Norma, who would keep her ear to the ground and stake out the Targets rumored to be getting shipments. So obviously if you could possibly have a Cabbage Patch Kid, you wanted to have one.
The problem on my end was not the supply, though—it was the demand, which my father had commanded must be none for his sons. I could not have a Cabbage Patch Kid, because I was a boy and boys didn’t play with dolls. (Excluding Star Wars figures and Masters of the Universe.) Another family friend bought a knockoff Cabbage Patch head at a craft sale and was kind enough to sew a body for it, presenting the homemade doll to me and arguing to my father that janky little “Scooter” (I gave him the nickname I myself had always dreamed of having) was safe under the embargo, since he was not a Cabbage Patch Kid. I played with Scooter, but he was always kind of like the wire mother Harlow gave his monkey: just not the same.
My mom, with her typical resourcefulness, devised a better solution. Jenny had begun to covet a doll from the new Cabbage Patch “preemie” line (so cute! plucked from the cabbage patch six weeks before term, on the edge of death, signed on the ass by Xavier Roberts, and yours for just $50!), so Mom made a deal that Jenny didn’t realize how much she’d regret making. Mom would subsidize Jenny’s purchase of a preemie under the condition that I was allowed to play with Mickie. Since Mickie would remain technically Jenny’s property, Dad couldn’t object. (This was not atypical in my family: all of us working together to find loopholes in Dad’s edicts. It’s surprising none of us grew up to become Masters of the Universe in the Tom Wolfe sense of the term.)
Jenny’s Faustian bargain sealed, I took Mickie—forever. He stayed in my room and in all but the most technical sense became mine. Jenny couldn’t play with him without supervision by me. I apparently even took control of his baby book and made revisionist changes to it. My only acknowledgement of the fact that Mickie had not originally been my adopted son was the fact that I had him refer to me as “Uncle Jason.”
Eventually Jenny missed her adopted son and tried to get him back, but having won my strange victory, I was not about to relinquish that kid. When we took our Cabbage Patch Kids on adventures that we chronicled on our cassette recorder, it was I who got to play Mickie and do his voice. It was I who potty-trained Mickie (my godparents gave him a pair of underpants to replace his factory-issue diaper), trimmed his hair (the fuzzy bits) and, when we finally outgrew our dolls, packed him away with my stuff in the attic.
He’s not there any more: several years ago, I gave him away to a neighbor girl who wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid when the brand was revived. Jenny was pissed when she heard what I’d done, and I guess I was out of line, but I felt I was still making my point: boys have every right to play with dolls, however much scheming it takes. Anyway, it was probably in Mickie’s best interests. After 20 years of custody struggles, that kid deserved a fresh start.