i failed. shit.

When my family moved from a podunk town in South Korea to a slightly-less-but-still-relatively podunk town in Texas, I had two things working against me. One, I was a dumber-than-average 5-year-old, and two, I didn’t know a lick of English.

Shortly after we moved, my mom got wind of the Great American Concept- garage sales. Every weekend, she convinced my reluctant dad to drive around while she scoped out random neighborhoods for steals and deals.

As we were walking home after kindergarten one day, my mom spotted a garage an apartment sale in a unit close to our own.

I was still trying to learn to speak me some American, so I didn’t understand what the mother-and-daughter duo were saying.  Before I knew it, we were inside their apartment. Were we taking a tour? Were we looking at additional items for sale? Who the hell knows; I was five.

In the daughter’s room, I spotted a Monchhichi doll. Yes! I’d been eyeing one at the local five-and-dime, and I couldn’t believe I was going to get one that day…at garage apartment sale prices, no less.

I started carrying it around. In my mind, we were already at home and I was adoring it and loving it and playing with it. God, I loved America. I asked how much they wanted for the doll in broken English as we were about to exit.

The next five minutes were a little fuzzy. All I could piece together was that the doll was NOT for sale and the little girl was getting a little worried that I was doing some sort of immigrant five-finger discount.

I didn’t take that baby home. My mom refused to buy it for me full price. Damn you, garage sales, for teaching my mother to think everything should cost a quarter.

At Target this week, I spotted a Monchhichi doll. I wanted to bring it home for Cal so that she wouldn’t have any repressed Monchhichi doll issues as an adult.

Who am I kidding?? She doesn’t even know what a Monchhichi doll is!

I wanted it for myself, but shiz, you knowThe Project. I stood in front of the display for nearly ten minutes. I gave myself a little pep talk. Surely, if I could resist the temptations of sparkly dresses and butter-soft sandals and manicures and pedicures and fast food and Starbucks and gorgeous sweaters and even new socks, I should be able to walk away from a furr-baby.

Apparently, the market rate for doom is $9.29. I bought it. It’s official. I’m a Project Fuck-up.

I thought about returning my new friend, Chhichi, but I’ve already kissed her and petted her and licked her face, so I’m not sure Target wants her back.

A DOLL did me in, folks. I hate myself. But only when I’m not busy kissing Chhichi’s face.
Is there anything you desperately wanted as a kid but never got? Would you still buy it today?
top photo via blueq.com

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  1. awwww it’s ok. sell her on ebay? that’ll still count won’t it?

  2. Hey, you didn’t fail. You just weren’t perfect at the project, that’s all. Project still on. You didn’t buy an item, you bought therapy.

  3. You didn’t fail!! Not everything always goes perfectly as planned, but considering how far you’ve come, I think you’ve done great! Just continue your project and see where it takes you.

  4. Now I know that we are long lost sisters, because my Monchichi doll is one of my most treasured items from my childhood!!! It is at my mom’s house safely tucked away so it won’t get dusty or dirty. Last time we lived here I found one at a local flea market and bought it. Just because I missed mine.

    So see, you didn’t fail at te project. Just pretend that you bought it for me and you are holding it for safe keeping. LOL! See, Problem solved. JoNell to the rescue. *snort!*

    Remember the commercials? I still sing that damn song. :D

  5. And just because I want yo uall to have this song stuck in your head the way it is going to be in mine the rest of the day. Let me present the lyrics to the commercial for you. :D You’re welcome. :D

    Monchhichi Monchhichi
    Oh so soft and cuddly
    With a thumb in your mouth she’s really neat
    Fun to wiggle his little feet
    Ya ya ya
    Ya ya ya
    Happy happy Monchhichi

  6. I agree with Jen above, this was a therapy purchase. That counts as a necessity!

  7. It wasn’t a purchase, it was an investment in a friendship.

  8. i know it’s not the same, but i pretty much gave up on my project 365 this year… i was SO CLOSE to completing it too! but don’t feel bad… therapy purchase… necessity… run with it!

    and to answer your question, POWER WHEELS. i wanted the barbie jeep so bad when i was a kid that we got hugga the power wheels ATV before she could even walk. now we’re saving up for the power wheels escalade!

  9. You didn’t buy that for yourself. That was just Santa fulfilling one of your childhood wishes. Hey, the big red man can’t be right on time ever year… And, for a child (even the ones inside our adult bods), Christmas wishes are necessities.

    I had all kinds of things I wanted and never got. Lite Brite, Hungry Hungry Hippos,Play-doh, Z-Cavariccis… Now, I just buy ’em for my kids and I get to play with them as often as I like. (except the pants…)

  10. That’s wonderful! But in a terrible broken promise transgression type way. Do what I see other parents do. Say your kid bought it for you. Problem solved.

  11. anonymous- maybe the eBay buyer wouldn’t like a licked doll?

    jen- bless you. onward march.

    christine- i did consider starting all over again. my husband talked me down from that ledge.

  12. jonell- let’s have a monchhichi playdate. awesome! also, how very kind of you to write down the song. i’m sure i will be thanking you at 3 am when it’s incorporated in my dreams somehow.=)

    G-thank you. because good therapy CAN cost less than ten dollars.=)

    Marinka- inscribe that in a plaque, send it over.

  13. Theresa- think of all the pics you DID take though. awesome. also, you too!? I wanted the power wheels and never got one. of course, cal had to get one. hmmmm…..was it for her or for my inner child?

    Karen- thanks for the support. Z. Cavariccis. HA! I remember those suckers. I thought I was hot shit in mine. Just thinking about it makes me embarrassed.

    Kelli- …and that’s how Cal got me an Xmas gift without knowing it.

    Audubon- you certainly are the minimalist. serious praises, sir. may i just say that Little Woman sounds savvy, not hoarder-ish?

  14. Haha, aw poor girl. It’s not a fail! It was a long overdue gift. Consider it a Christmas gift instead of a purchase. I cant think of something I pined over for years as a child but I’m one greedy girl now :(

  15. Hey, we all fall off the wagon from time to time. You’ve done excellently well thus far; cold turkey ain’t easy, sister! Just get back on the no-shopping horse.

    (Coincidentally, that’s how I justified cheating on my red-neck, Republican fiancé with an old lover; “unresolved issues”)

  16. Yeah, the licking sealed it. You’re stuck with Cchichi. They won’t take it back with your DNA all over it, my friend.

    Mine was an Easy-Bake Oven. I bought it a couple of Christmases ago for Mini, and she loves it. It has also been the subject of a couple of posts. Yup, I love it THAT MUCH.

  17. You bought it for your inner child! Totally different. I say just get back on the project horse. And send that adorable pre-licked fur buddy over here.

  18. too funny. i fell for stuffed animals all the time as a kid, i thought that they looked at me as if saying “take me home take me home” i was sure they had feelings and would be sad if I couldn’t get my mom or dad to buy them for me…..i still think inanimate objects have feelings sometimes!!

  19. If it cost less than $10 and you bought it at Target, you are so far from fail that you can’t even see it in the distance.

    Believe me dear, your sixth sister would never lie to you.

  20. When I was a kid I saw a hello kitty watch on a stewardess, it was awesome, it looked like hello kitty and had a hinge to reveal the time. I told my mom I wanted a hello kitty watch but she didn’t see the watch, so she got me a dog watch that did the same thing, a penguin watch that popped up, and a hello kitty watch that was just a watch. I always thought it was because my mom was too cheap to get me the obviously expensive watch that only a stewardess could afford. Fast forward to when I was about 22, I am visiting my aunt and go to the sanrio store…and there it is..i snatch it up…i don’t care if it is 100 dollars, I’m buying the watch! I get to the counter and it was 12.99. I’m like, what?! $12.99 stood between me and happiness for all these years?!
    I wore the watch once or twice before I realized that it was hard to read the time, since it was hidden behind a hello kitty door! But if buy it again in a heartbeat! I also know my mom wasn’t being cheap, she just had no idea of what I wanted. I have a great mom. Ps I think it is great that you got the doll for cal, I would break a buying fast to get that hello kitty watch if I didnt already have one!

  21. You know what… My project is about getting the frump out of my rump… and I spent 5 days wearing sweats and “comfy clothes.” But I was sick. You can have a project re-start. You didn’t buy something super extravagant. Anyone can think about to their child about that one particular item they just had to have… and as an adult.. we can stand in a store and at some random moment we just have to have it. You didn’t buy it.. the child in you did. Awesome.

  22. We are all originating from our childhood.

  23. JoNell beat me to it! As soon as I saw him I started singing the jingle. I saw a Cinnamon doll on ebay that I really wanted to get. I also saw a sock monkey but I can’t find one exactly like the one my dad gave me. You’re excused on this one. Monchichi is cool.

  24. You lasted a lot longer than I did! And I failed over a package of tiny plastic flying monkeys, not even something cool like a cherished childhood desire. :^)

  25. I would not worry about a tiny little slip like that. I wouldn’t even call it a slip. It’s not like you got those really cute boots I’ve been eyeing at Dillard’s.

  26. My stalker kinda looked like monchichi…and I also have had that freaking jingle running through my head all day. Thank you.

    A project like this is bound to have a misstep or two…especially during purchasing season. Let’s call it the equivalent of a nicotine patch or a piece of nicotine gum…not exactly what you intended, but sometimes you just need a little boost. Don’t let it make you start the downward spiral.

  27. Sometimes, friend, you have to break the rules.

    And if I could find my bug books again, I would buy them in a heartbeat.

  28. You. are. hilarious.

    I get it. Hell, who cares if it seems a little crazy, I would do it as long as it makes you feel better :)

  29. babymamma- you’re not greedy, you’re just a gal that knows what she wants

    Jennifer- you can’t help that you were just walking down the street and fell on top of him and his mouth met your mouth. it happens.

    Nenette-ohmygod, i begged for an easy bake oven for the longest time too. i finally got it and forced my family to eat easy bake creations for months

    Becky-And surely, my inner child is not on the project.=)

  30. rachel- i was a teenager before i convinced myself that my stuffed animals did NOT come to life at night.

    6thSister- Bless you for understanding….and enabling. I knew I picked the right sis

    roller-awww, i’m sorry that sucker disappointed you. i’m glad you were an adult rather than a little girl when you realized it wasn’t everything you had hoped

    annie-I am pressing the restart button now.

  31. anon- <----that's what s/he said. nicely put. staci- i had to google cinnamon doll. now i want one of them things too. sock money! love! here’s hoping you find the one you want. debora- plastic monkeys. i like your style. amanda- buy the boots! post the pictures. i will live vicariously through you.=)

  32. areyoukiddingme-funny you should mention the downward spiral. it really made me want to give up for about five minutes, but onward ho.

    noa- im broken. uhh. i mean i broke the rules

    stella- thank you. i will come to you when i need enabling. awesome.

  33. This is definitely a free pass kind of a purchase. I mean, you didn’t fail you…your mother failed you (no offense to the parental one) and to right the world back on it’s axis the only thing you could do was buy that Monchichi so that your entire childhood was not a complete fail. Just go with it.

    I have never heard of this Monchichi until now and I gotta tell you…it seems like a cross between a human baby and a monkey to me. But I say whatever makes you happy…you deserve it girl!! Enjoy!

    I wanted an Easy Bake Oven in the worst way…my mother said I was too old for that crap! Whatever…I should of known it was only the beginning of how she would try and ruin my life!

  34. Mine is an American Doll and so I devised this scheme to get one for my daughter. Until I saw the prices. I can’t justify buying an almost 200.00 doll for my daughter or me. sigh.

  35. Dear other Liz,

    You are awesome. Please never forget this.

    You bought a present for your inner child. It’s going to be OK. She really needed Monchichi and I know that she’s so grateful for her gift.

    Love, Liz

    p.s. – you’re still feeling guilty, give me your paypal # and I’ll send you the money. It’ll be a gift from your other blogging friend Liz. Seriously. Think about it. xoxoxo

  36. corrine- i’m thinking about asking my mother for 9.29 so that we can say she bought me the doll. if she argues, i will tell her it was your idea. oh man, i really like this idea.

    anastasia- i didn’t get an american girl doll either because they were so expensive! my daughter has a few she got as gifts and i am secretly jealous. seriously, that’s just a road to doom. you can’t just buy the doll, it’s the clothes and accessories and furniture and doll hair appts. i feel ya.

    Liz- Sweet Liz, you are one bodacious, generous babe and I just love your compassion and understanding. Thank you times a fajillion.

  37. That’s an ugly ass doll, but a small price to pay for long-due childhood happiness. I still think you’re just swell!

  38. That’s pretty funny. I’m glad you finally got your doll!!

  39. That doesn’t count. at all. I have supressed feelings from childhood, and if i came across them I’d do the same thing.

  40. Steffany- beauty is in the eye of the beer holder, er, i mean beholder. p.s. i think you’re swell too!

    Jill-me. too.

    Sara- thank you for your sage, kind, enabling words.=)

  41. Okay, I didn’t see your “fall from grace” coming from a Monchichi doll. But upon seeing it, I can see how resistance would be futile.

    I wanted certain kinds of clothes, since my mom was determined to dress me exactly like her (a preppy, Catholic school teacher in her 40s with 4 kids).
    I DESPERATELY wanted Eastlands shoes (I grew up in CT for middle and high school) I don’t know how popular these were in the rest of the country, but EVERYBODY had these and I wanted them SOOOOOOOO BADDDDD, OMG!!1! They were pretty expensive for my mom’s shoe budget I guess($40 back in the mid-late 80s). I somehow got my friend to “loan” a knock-off version which I wore for the better part of 8th grade. LOVED THEM WITH ALL MY LITTLE HEART. Looking at them now, I know, “Live a little, kid.”


  42. jen- oh no you didn’t leave me with a link that doesn’t work. i’m a very curious person, you know. i could die from curiosity.

  43. Jen-OhMYSweetJesus, those are awesome. the granny look is always in, yo.

  44. Yep, plastic monkeys. You can read about the whole sorry crash-and-burn here: http://t.co/tXF9Ty2

  45. I’ve been reading your blog for like, 2 mos maybe…and I love you in that soulmate kinda way. or at least, I thought it was love. now i know better, cause with this post, I now know what it is to truly love you.

  46. anon- you just made my fucking day. i wish i knew who you were so i could kiss you.

  47. It’s truly mindboggling what kids will gravitate to, since these are amazingly orthopedic looking.

    this is a different site that had them- hope it works.

  48. oh, where to begin? The main thing I wanted was (of course) the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. My mom was too practical (read: cheap) to buy it for me. We lived in rural Pennsylvania, where our next-door neighbors were snow and more snow, so Mom said, “Go outside and get some snow, and I will put food coloring on it for you.” Not. The. Same.
    Scarred for life. (Scarred? Scared? Probably both.) If I ever see my bleoved Snoopy Snow Cone Machine at Toys ‘R Us, I am all over it.
    What else? just missed the Big Wheel craze, as I was a large 9-year-old when they came out and they were designed for tiny 4-year-olds (that would be my little sister! she qualified! obviously she had a Big Wheel, while I just tried to steal it when she wasn’t looking, and came across as a Big Nerd).
    Long heavy sigh. Thanks for dredging up these oh-so-fun memories, Elizabeth. Merry Christmas to you too!

  49. MOV- you’re welcome. i like to bring up childhood angst during the holidays. it’s the giver in me. just an easy way for me to say “love you!”

  50. I always wanted one of those when I was a kid. I still remember the entire commercial jingle and I sing it around the house all the time. My kids think I am nuts. I have seen so many things at the stores that I want to buy now ONLY because my mom wouldn’t buy them for me when I was a kid!

  51. I don’t think that you failed at all. You have gone on a purchasing diet, and simply had a bite of dessert. Certainly doesn’t ruin the whole thing. However, not to insult your childhood treasure (well, yes, really it is to do precisely that) What were they thinking?

  52. nicki-perhaps we can set up some kind of joint custody for Chhichi?

    sophie- lol, i like ugly things, just ask my ex’s.

  53. Wait…there are Monchichi’s at Target?!? I miss that little critter.

    For me it was Legos, way too expensive. Now as a woman in her 30’s I have a huge collection that I bought in my early 20’s. Thinking about donating them to charity. Nah.

  54. ann- no way! them legos is yours! do you just swoon when you go to the lego store still? my parents bought me some “girly” legos (all pink and purple and white) when i was little and i’m proud to say that I still own them. or maybe ashamed to say?

  55. I’m sorry but that is one scary-ass hairy monkey dolly. I’ll hold onto my fond memories of my Donnie and Marie Osmond dolls, and Tuesday Taylor and scantilly clad Barbies (all of whom were up to no good, evah). Uh, yeah. I did have Barbie dolls and read a bunch of books, but we didn’t go places where I would see toys and such for sale… so I was spared desire for such things. No residual childhood longing for toys. Mazel Tov, on your new acquisition, though~* Enjoy!

  56. H- Did you mean scary-ass or hairy ass? HA! I guess my little Chhichi is both. I am enjoying her immensely. My family thinks I may have a condition, but they just don’t understand me like Chhichi does. Losers.

  57. For me it’s that Barbie Boat I DID have but my mom made me GIVE to my friend. So unfair!

  58. Courtney Rundell says

    i would count this as “therapy” ie. “medical” and absolutely not needless spending. I love the blog, Elizabeth! – Courtney from class

    • thanks for visiting!

      and, a BIG thanks for the creative spin. now that i think about it, you’re so right. i should probably ask my mom to foot the “therapy” bill since, you know, it’s kind of her fault. =)

  59. wish we knew each other then. i would have helped you stage and carry out an elaborate plan to get that sucker back.

  60. reminded me of mine when I was younger, it had a thumb you could stick in it’s mouth) but my younger cousin threw up all over it :( didn’t know they were still available

    the one indulgence/trend my parents gave into was Cabbage Patch. It was my 9th birthday and he was perfect: blond hair, blue eyes and dressed in a sailor suit (is that odd for a Vietnamese girl to want those features in a doll? I guess that’s why I am a “banana.”)

    but to answer your question, I never had Hello Kitty as a child so as an adult, I had to make up for this deprivation.

  61. I keep wanting to buy my daughter an easy-bake oven because I never got one, but really, with microwaves and everything, they aren’t that awesome anymore. Plus, she’s only 4.

  62. Do NOT feel bad about your “set back.” It’s a Monchhichi for shit sake! It was a NECESSITY!! I would have done the same thing. Seriously. I wanted one as a kid too. Didn’t get one. Got a generic grey (much bigger) thumb suckin’ wanna-be. I loved it and pretended (sadly) that it was a Monchhichi, but it wasn’t the same. That Chhichi scare is a deep one. You NEEDED to buy her. And lick her. ;0)

    When I was 4, I had this fantastic FisherPrice castle complete with furniture, little people kings and queens and knights, horses and a cute little pink dragon. I loved that thing. My parents did the unthinkable and “donated” it to my preschool (with out asking me) thinking I had outgrown it or something. *eyeroll* I was bitter over it for years. (when I would remember it was gone.) Eventually, I got over it… or so I thought. Last year, my Mom and I were at a children’s consignment sale and there, among a bunch of Littlest Pet Shop Habitats, Bratz Doll Houses & newer Fisher Price Little People play houses…. my castle. Complete with cute little pink dragon (and everything else). My therapy cost (my Mom) $80!!

    It’s in my kids room. I play with it al the time.

  63. When I was a kid I wanted a Barbie Jeep more than anything. When I was nine, my sister got one and I was not allowed to ride in it because I was “too big for it.” Every single one of my sisters have had a Barbie Jeep to ride around in since then. I’m now 20 and I’m still jealous when I see my 3 year old sister riding around in hers.

    If I ever get win the lottery, I’m gonna get me a custom Jeep Wrangler pimped out in Barbie.. I’m just saying.

  64. “Is there anything you desperately wanted as a kid but never got? Would you still buy it today?”
    Actually when I was a kid, I’m contented with paper dolls, cards, and even tin car (funny but true). Yet, in my adolescent life, there was a time that I really want to buy a particular jeans and stilletos, yet my mom never consented on my whims, partly because we don’t have enough money to buy those two.  Now, though I can afford to buy those, I don’t find those two practical and a necessity. I guess some people never change on what they want but there are some like me that changes on my perception on what I really want. :)

  65. Yes. A Barbie Jeep. I wanted one SO bad. Now, I’m living vicariously through my niece who will be getting one for Christmas from her favorite Aunty this Christmas. (I’m dead serious – I’ve been planning this moment since we found out my brother was going to have a baby girl).

  66. That’s effing hilarious…I always wanted one of those dolls and my mom said they were ugly. I may go buy one now, just to spite her. :)

  67. After reading this post I suddenly realize how spoiled I was. I don’t remember wanting this doll…but I remember my Holly Hobby easy bake oven, my gian barbie RV, the townhouse with pull string elevator and so much more. I grew up in a rural area of PA …I guess my parents got us stuff to keep us busy because we lived so far from our friends? I don’t know…but I know I LOVED my barbies…had we continued to live out there I would have been “into” them a lot longer…but a move to the city (talk about culture shock!)…kinda made it obvious 12 yr olds didn’t play with barbies…sad but true.
    I did recently come across my raggedy ann doll…she is safely tucked away even though she’s a mess. :)
    My mom did get me a glo-worm a few years ago…I wanted one but she always said I was too big for one…guess 30 something isn’t too big? LOL