Saturday, September 17, 2011
Meet the Valdez Quints!
In her own words this is Jillian's story ...
"My name is Jillian and I'm 26 years old. When I was six, my Grandma Joe gave me the book Meet Kirsten because Kirsten moved to a new place just like my family had. I loved the book, and eagerly sent away for the catalog advertised in the back of the book. Ever since then, I've been obsessed with all things American Girl."
I got my first doll, Samantha, when I turned 9. But I wasn't really able to afford much more than her and Molly (who I got for Christmas when I was 11) until I was 16. For a few years I stuck to just the historicals, even though I admired the moderns. I did eventually get a redhead, and soon decided she needed a friend. So I bought a #16, and named her Zipporah.
Well, the moment I first laid eyes on Zipporah, everything was different. I suddenly "got" dolls. She seemed real, and let me know right away she needed a wardrobe and school supplies. Before, none of that stuff had seemed necessary. I'd been content to just get the dolls. They would just sit around, looking pretty. Once in awhile I'd read with them, or cuddle them, but that was it. Zippy demanded I treat her as I would any other human. I loved picking out clothes for her, doing her hair, tucking her in at night, photographing her, writing about her.
After getting Zippy, I wanted dolls even more badly. She wanted friends! Eventually, I got two #25s and a #5, as well as many others. But after a few years, I got extremely overwhelmed. I longed to have just one doll, so much so that I tried to sell all but Zipporah and Samantha. (Ironically, my two favorites look exactly alike, yet I didn't notice it at the time.)
Zipporah has been my favorite since she arrived, but I kind of wanted a set of multiples, too. The #25s I had were fun in theory, but I rarely did anything with them. So, I decided I'd just make Zipporah a twin and ordered another #16, Violet.
Well, Zipporah had other plans. By the time Violet arrived, Zipporah went from being a twin to being a quadruplet - with the two #25s making up the other half. They were renamed Sora and Lyre Chickadee, to go along with the bird theme Zipporah's parents used for all their children.
I was thrilled with the quads! Making Zipporah a part of the set of multiples was the perfect solution. I did play with all four together and it just seemed completely natural.
I should probably add here that I've been obsessed with twins and other multiples for even longer than I have been obsessed with American Girl. And I don't mean that lightly. I've read every book I could get my hands on, and I follow multiple blogs and messageboards dedicated to triplets, quads, and even quints. So, I'm very passionate about the then quads, now quints.
But, how did I go from four to five? Rather fittingly, it was an April Fool's prank that back fired and brought Lorikeet into the group. I belong to American Girl Fans Message Board, a discussion forum for older AG fans, and had posted a prank photo of septuplets (that's seven). I even gave names and personalities for the two "newbies" - Wren and Lorikeet.
Wren has always been their youngest older sister, so she wasn't that new, really. But Lorikeet had been a complete invention, just pulled out of thin air. She's a jokester who is fantastic at artsy things but struggles with school otherwise.
I ended up not being able to put Lorikeet out of my mind for weeks after the prank. So on May 1st, 2008 I officially added Lorikeet to the group. I still had my #5, and just rewigged her. Eventually all the quints were rewigged to have much longer hair. They call it their "princess" hair.
Instead of gluing the new wigs on, I decided to attach them using sticky back velcro. That way I could change wigs whenever I felt like it. That's why you might sometimes see them with short hair or red hair or some other style/ color.
To answer some questions, I did buy each one but spread out over several years. I tried to use dolls I already had, before buying new ones but it didn't occur to me that the #25s could be related to Zipporah until the day Violet was due to arrive.
The quints usually dress alike. I've received some nasty comments about that, but most people seem to think it's cute. I do it because it makes me happy. Trying to come up with five different outfits just seems overwhelming to me. Besides, the girls like vintage styles and in several periods in history it was actually considered fashionable for siblings close in age to dress alike.
Some people seem to think I go to a lot of trouble to do this, but I honestly don't see it as troublesome. I love my quints, so it doesn't seem like a sacrifice to only buy one outfit a month when I could have bought five different ones if I'd just buy one of an item. But, like I said, I don't enjoy dressing them differently and I really don't play much with the other dolls I do have. Some haven't had their clothes changed in two years! I like them as they are.
More and more I'm trying to switch to having the girls wear the same thing but in different colors, which means I have to sew everything. Not many ready made doll clothes come in five different colors, let alone the right colors: yellow, purple, green, orange and blue. I'm not a very good seamstress, mainly because I'm so impatient to be finished that I go too fast and don't always correct mistakes. But I'm trying to improve, and I recently began learning to make my own patterns, too. The quints love vintage styles, but most of the ones available don't appeal to them. So I have to learn these things to get what I want for them. But I love them, so it doesn't seem like a chore. And sewing five things assembly line style has become fun for me. Just when I'm about tired of doing one step, I realize I'm over halfway done and figure I can handle one or two more. So it never really seems like a lot.
In my spare time, I'm writing mystery stories about the quints and am currently trying to get the first one published. Their website is http://www.valdezquints.com/."
I truly hope to be reading their stories soon! One of the things I love about American Girl dolls is their focus on literacy, did you know they gave more then a Million dollars in books to promote literacy last year alone!
I hope you will take time to find the quints on Facebook and visit their website to learn more about them and their amazing family!
Thank you so much to Jillian for sharing her story with us today and I hope you enjoyed it!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at email@example.com