Mattel came out with a follow up to the Heart Family in 2002. This family was called “The Happy Family” and was made up of Midge Hadley, husband Alan, son Ryan and baby Nikki.
Just as we’ve modified our Heart family, our version of the Hadleys is also different than the family originally marketed by Mattel. Mattel made a brown-skinned Happy Family and we love our original Alan, Ryan and Nikki.
What we couldn’t get over was Midge’s forehead. It was much more of a fivehead.
Having learned about how to re-body from my Barbie friends, I pulled off the original Midge head and replaced it with a Trichelle head. What a relief not to have to look at the old Midge’s face anymore.
Midge’s pregnant belly is held on using two magnets and the baby fits in upside down, just as babies are positioned in a real womb. Leah and I have had a lot of conversations around her own birth while playing with the Hadleys and Leah often re-enacts things I have told her about her own birth while we play.
Leah hasn’t yet announced any plans to have a baby immediately after menarche which, according to some opponents of the doll, is an obvious (!?) progression for any girl who plays with this doll.
I have no problem with Pregnant Midge and in fact, love the idea of Midge and Alan having a family because it shifts the focus from dating to family life in our scenarios.
For a comprehensive list of Happy Family items manufactured and marketed, look here.
Besides the fact that the Hadleys are a cute, loving, little nuclear family, another thing we adore about the Hadleys is how close they live to Midge’s parents. Mattel made a Grandma’s Kitchen playset (available for Nikki’s first birthday party, as well as other get-togethers).
Mattel also made a Volvo wagon available for the Hadleys. We have it in a turquoise blue. I highly recommend that anyone who puts together a Happy Family for their own collection be sure to get their hands on a Volvo. It is one of the better made Mattel cars I’ve seen and it is dead-on perfect for the Hadleys.
So, back to the ways we have customized our Hadleys, besides giving Midge a much cuter head.
Well, we helped Midge a bit with her clothes. After all, what reasonable woman wears a mini-dress and heels when she’s that far along? Our Midge immediately recognized that purple and pink flowered thing is a TUNIC not a dress.
Our Midge combined her tunic with white sweatpants and tennis shoes.
We also converted the Happy Family Grandma into Midge’s Aunt. The reason for this was highly personal. Trichelle is the barbie that looks most like my daughter Leah of any doll ever manufactured by Mattel. Because of this, we wanted our Midge to have parents that look like myself and her father.
Several of our other Core Players such as Grace, Chandra and Kara have black mothers – but we wanted Midge’s mother to be white. Someday, when I am brave enough to try a re-paint I am going to tone down Midge’s makeup a bit.
Since I gave the Heart Family a Conservative backstory, I think it’s only fair to talk a bit about the Hadley’s backstory. So here it is: