That’s What Childhood Smells Like…


Recently while sitting on the floor one night, playing with my daughter, I made an amazing, yet accidental discovery.

We were playing dolls… or at least she was… and I was doing the automatic parent thing where if a child hands you a doll, you hug it and pat it’s back like it’s a real baby.

My mind was elsewhere, enjoying a rare moment of doing virtually nothing… aside from hugging dolls of course. And then suddenly I got this waft of something wonderful

In the process of my dolly hug, my nostrils were suddenly filled with the heavenly scent of my childhood.

If I had to describe it, I would say it is a mix of vanilla and brand new.

I was holding her Cabbage Patch doll. The expensive custom named and designed Cabbage Patch doll we had ordered online straight after our daughter was born. Her name is also Lily and she shares my daughter’s birthdate. And suddenly that expensive doll was worth every cent!

While I never had a brand new Cabbage Patch as a kid, instead inheriting my sister’s much loved pair, this doll had the scent of something familiar.

I suppose it was the kid-safe (scented??) plastic commonly used in children’s toys, but it took me right back. Back to days of playing Barbie dolls and Lego, dress ups and board games. To the days when everything was easy and fun, and so much of my time was spent playing with my substantial collection of childhood toys.

Well before the days of bills and hardship, adult drama and cleaning. This doll took me to a time when everything was perfect in my world!


So as I sat there with my nose stuffed firmly into the hair and neck of this doll, inhaling that scent like some sort of Cabbage Patch junkie, it reminded me just how wonderful childhood can be.

And while sometimes we all wish we could return to those days of innocence and no responsibility, I would still choose now. Now is when I get to be a mother and spend my days raising the most amazing person I have ever met, with the hope that she too will one day look back and reflect on how lucky she was to have had a childhood so full of joy and treasured memories.

What takes you back to childhood in an instant? A toy, a smell, a place?



21 thoughts on “That’s What Childhood Smells Like…

  1. I find myself being constantly reminded of so many wonderful childhood memories as I play with my children. Even though there is so much nostalgia involved you are so correct: there is nothing more wonderful than being right here, right now, as a mom to these amazing little creatures!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know that smell. My daughter has a cabbage patch doll that is exactly the same. At the moment the Duplo is taking me back and reminding me of our lego building days. We would spend hours building towns and playing away. I still have my first cabbage patch doll in the cupboard, though she doesn’t smell like vanilla or new anymore…worn and loved more like it!


    • My old cabbage patch dolls aren’t so lovely smelling anymore either. More like musty and old haha And yes, lego was a favourite for me as a kid too. That and barbies. Childhood was a blast!


    • I actually have never heard of that but I’m imagining an icky smell. Amazing how strongly associated some memories can be with certain smells. As yet I have escaped life chicken pox free… if it struck now, it would be nasty!


  3. As soon as you mentioned it, I could smell it. The glorious smell of cabbage patch. All vanillary and yum. Do you think they deliberately scent the dolls so irresistibly so we always come back for more!?!

    And I agree with Allison – Pinetarsol. We must have bathed in the stuff often! x


  4. Probably the smell of play dough. It’s not only that the smell reminds me of childhood, it’s that it’s a smell that belongs to a short time in your life. It doesn’t get carried much past 10yo. It’s a single digit smell.


  5. I just bought a cabbage patch doll for my daughter this week! I never had one as a child, and desperately wanted one. I love that she loves it, and perhaps I am living slightly vicariously through her… 😉 (I know I’ve gone off topic, but CABBAGE PATCH DOLL!)


  6. As soon as I saw the title of this post & the pic I could smell the hard plastic face against mine. I still have my own cabbage patch dolls in my daughters room & my my child which I loved. There is something comforting in that smell isn’t it. An easy time in life when it all was so much easier, although at the time as a kid it didn’t seem so. Lol

    Funnily enough the smell of kerosene heater gives me warm memories (even though it stinks really) as a family member had one & we had such fun there… Smell is such an amazing form of memory isn’t it!


    • You sum it up so well. Although the kerosene would be a bit potent lol I will stick with smelling dolls 😉 amazing how even the bad smell can be full of good memories.


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