More dolls have realistic proportionsTHERE'S MORE from the...

Family forum

February 18, 1992

More dolls have realistic proportions

THERE'S MORE from the woman who brought the world the first realistically proportioned dolls. Cathy Meredig, who introduced the Caucasian Happy To Be Me doll with believable body portions last year, is now making similar black and Asian dolls. "If the Asian Happy [To Be Me] were human, she'd measure 35-26-36 and stand 5 feet 1 inch. The African-American Happy, 36-28-38 and 5 feet 1 inch," says Meredig, president of High Self-Esteem Toys Corp. in Woodbury, Minn. The Asian doll -- with small breasts, hips and waist and brown hair, eyes and an Asian skin tone -- is a composite of images described by focus groups and anatomical illustrations of Japanese women. The black Happy, based on similar research, has soft black curls, medium-brown skin tone and a rounder body than the Caucasian Happy, Meredig said. "I designed the Happy to Be Me doll after learning that girls form their body image by about age 6," Meredig said. "If we can get them dolls in a variety of realistic proportions and ethnic backgrounds, we can teach children how to feel good about the way they look regardless of their body shape."

Traveling with kids

Doing some California dreamin'? It's a great February pastime, and a couple of new books will make it even more fun. Two new family travel guides, "Los Angeles With Kids" and "San Francisco With Kids," will give you lots of ideas for top children's attractions and family-friendly restaurants and hotels in these two hot spots. There are some good planning sections, such as "What to see if you have two days . . . three days . . . or more" and rainy day suggestions. The books, $17 each, are part of the Frommers guide series.

After divorce

Here's some encouraging news for divorced people: No matter how depressed and stressed you are at the moment, it will pass, according to a new study co-authored by a Pennsylvania State University sociologist. "The immediate aftermath of divorce is certainly a time of great stress," says Alan Booth. "However, our analysis seems to indicate that . . . persons return to normal after two years."

Worth noting

* The Family Life Center in Columbia has two family programs beginning this month. Its Young Adults Group, for people 18 to 25, will focus on improving self-esteem and reducing self-doubts during eight weekly meetings beginning at 7:30 tomorrow night. A therapy group for women feeling dissatisfied but unwilling to change their situations will begin Feb. 29 and continue for 15 weeks, exploring participants' needs, conflicts and strengths. The center is at Wilde Lake Village Green. For information on these programs, contact the center at 997-3557.

* Active Parenting, a six-week course in being an effective parent, begins in March at Dundalk Community College. The course will look at typical parent-child conflicts and simple solutions. The course will be offered twice, on Tuesday evenings beginning March 3 and on Thursday mornings, beginning March 5. For more information, contact David Agger at the college, 285-9809.

* The Children's Developmental Clinic at Essex Community College has openings for youngsters with disabilities in its spring session, which begins Saturday. Parents attend classes to learn more about their children's needs while the children work on developmental skills with trained professionals and volunteers. For more information on the clinic, phone Dr. Lois

Shofer at 522-1287.

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