My dear 8 year old still plays with dolls. She still dresses the doll she got for Christmas when she was 4. Said doll is a baby doll. It looks like a baby. It does not have a web page where you can chat with other friends, it does not look like a teenage rock star, it doesn't even require batteries. It is just a baby doll. Banana decided the doll should be a boy, so she dresses him in all the little baby boy clothes that we have never needed. I even remember at one point being so amazed at the indulgences she had when I succumbed to buying a package of newborn diapers for a doll. I had to use paper towels when I was young. How spoiled she was to get real diapers.
Now Bear (5) and Bophie (2) are all about their baby dolls. Bophie is so attached you have to pry it from her hands. Banana isn't like that anymore, but for years her doll went everywhere we went. She even fashioned various baby carriers so she could carry the baby like Mom. She doesn't do this so much anymore. Now she often prefers books or other games, but it is not uncommon to see her with her doll.
Some would say this playing with dolls is immaturity. Other kids her age would not be caught dead with a doll as those are baby toys. My Banana is not immature or babyish. She simply is not worldly. She plays with dolls because she is not affected by peers telling her she is babyish. She often picks up the doll to play with her younger sisters. This to me is more a sign of maturity. She is willing to put aside her desires to please her sisters and play with them. IMHO (in my humble opinion for those unfamiliar with blog speak), it is extremely important to distinguish between worldliness and maturity and not to confuse innocence with immaturity.
I hope Banana plays with dolls for years to come. I hope she is never caught up in the games and toys that keep other children of her generation from learning about family life. I am thankful for her innocence and willingness to be self-sacrificing. I know that this will lead to true maturity.