This year, birthday season has been a bit tough because the kids were expecting to be back in our apartment. Me too, kids. Me too. Harlow’s birthday party was the weekend after her birthday, so I had to have something special planned for her actual birthday too. Usually, I decorate her door with balloons and a sign, but since she doesn’t currently have a door, and we all go to sleep at the same time in the same room, that wasn’t happening.

Still, I had to figure out a way to make it special.

Last year, I picked her up after school to go to the Museum of Christmas and Harlow was expecting me to take her somewhere grand this year too, but after researching pop-ups in NYC, I realized we had already been to the ones that sounded kid-friendly.

Should I take her out for ice cream? Too cold. Shopping? Too open ended. Dinner? She doesn’t care about dinner.

Then I got the call.

Mattel wanted to partner with me for the holidays. Harlow is Barbie OBSESSED lately. Mazzy too, actually. It’s one of the few toys they agree on and play with together. I also was a huge Barbie fan as a kid so seeing them suddenly so into Barbies is super nostalgic for me too.

Mattel asked if I wanted to have a Barbie Dreamhouse Watch Party.

“What’s a Barbie Dreamhouse Watch Party?”

They told me it’s playing with the Barbie Dreamhouse and then watching the Barbie Dreamhouse show on Netflix, which FYI, is already one of Mazzy and Harlow’s favorite shows. They also told me they would be sending me the new Barbie Dreamhouse, which whoa whoa whoa— WHAT?

“The New Barbie Dreamhouse.”

I had heard correctly.

“Do you think you could get it to me by Thursday so I could give it to Harlow on her birthday?”

The answer was yes.

EEEEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! I thought in my head.

“That sounds great,” I said, super professional.

Now. Normally, I shy away from partnerships that produce extravagant toys for my kids just for the hell of it, but this was Harlow’s birthday! The perfect opportunity to give her EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS. Something she wouldn’t even dream of asking for, by the way, since I have drilled it into her head that our apartment is too small for such toys.

In fact, last year, you might remember, Harlow very specifically asked Santa for the two story Barbie House (she even asked me to pull up a picture of my phone to show him), because that one was a mommy-approved compact size.

What changed that I was cool with the three story Barbie Dreamhouse with the elevator and the pool this year?

1) Harlow has had a rough go of it at the studio for the last three months. She really misses home and more specifically all of her toys in storage.

2) We are moving back into the apartment at the end of this week, but it still won’t be fully complete, so we are not going to take her toys out of storage for another month.

3) When we do fully move back into the apartment, we are going to transfer the Barbie Dreamhouse to our newly renovated play room attic in our house, which has tons of space for it.

So. On the day of Harlow’s actual birthday, Mike went to our apartment and set up the Dreamhouse. Then I picked up Harlow from school and told her I had a big surprise. It was at our apartment.

“Like at our real home apartment?” she asked.

“Yes, at our real home apartment.”

We walked in and Harlow was truly shocked when she saw it. She ran up and gave it a huge hug. Then she oohed and aahed over the three floors, the elevator which could hold multiple Barbies at once, and the slide down to the pool.

“It’s taller than I am, Mommy!!!” It most certainly was.

Mattel also sent over a selection of their Fashionista Barbies, the Barbie convertible and the new Barbie Ultimate Kitchen set.

One thing I want to mention, in case you don’t already know this— the Fashionista Barbies are a really diverse set of dolls. When I was little, they all looked basically the same, but now they come in all different skin tones and body types with various facial features showing their isn’t one perfect version of Barbie.

Since it was such a huge gift, I told Harlow that she would have to share the Dreamhouse with Mazzy. “I know, Mom,” she said. “I WANT to play it with her!” Oh, my heart.

That Saturday, that’s exactly what we did. Instead of going to the park or out to a museum or to a movie, the kids just wanted to come over to the apartment and play Barbie. They particularly loved the Ultimate Kitchen set, which comes with super soft Barbie dough to make mini pieces of food with plastic molds.

My kids LOVE making mini pieces of food.

I wish I could tell you that I knew exactly what they were playing the whole time, but the truth is, they were off in their own world, acting out different scenarios, making use of all the different Barbie dolls, who had different names and different professions and definitely different preferred methods of going from floor to floor in the dreamhouse.

Harlow loved letting her dolls slide down from the third floor into the pool and then taking a death tumble into the garage. Mazzy was all about the elevator. I love sitting back and watching my kids play together. The voices they use for the Barbies are pretty fantastic too.

There’s no TV in the apartment yet, so when we got back to the studio that night, I put on the Barbie Dreamhouse show on Netflix. The girls were thrilled to see that there were all new episodes. They thought they had watched them all.

Then, the next morning, Harlow played with the Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures app, which is basically the Dreamhouse in digital form. You can move the characters in and out of the different rooms, hang out by the pool, and go up and down the elevator. It was a great way  for Harlow to get her Barbie fix, especially since the Dreamhouse was still back at our apartment.

That’s the funniest thing about the Dreamhouse. At the moment, Harlow’s Barbies live in a nicer home than her!


This post was sponsored by Mattel’s Barbie. All thoughts & opinions expressed in this post are my own.