Neighborhood babysitter-in-training

“Hey, Mom!  Do you remember that talking baby doll I had when I was really little?”

How this subject came up, I have no idea.  But yes, I remember that damn talking baby doll.  When Elle was about 3 or 4, she’d begged and begged for a baby doll that talked and peed.  I don’t remember if this baby doll actually peed, but it certainly talked.  And screamed.  And asked for food and hugs and kisses and for her mommy

On Christmas morning, Elle unwrapped her talking baby doll and immediately went headfirst into Mommy-Mode.  She built some kind of crib out of boxes and fluffy blankets and walked her baby around the house in her brand new doll stroller.   When the baby cried, Elle patted her and changed her diaper.  When the baby asked for hugs, Elle cuddled and snuggled with her on the couch.  When the baby giggled, Elle giggled right along with her. 

Elle loved being a mommy. 

“Do you remember what I did do that baby doll when she wouldn’t stop crying?”

Oh, yeah.  So Elle loved being a mommy, until it was time for bed and that baby wouldn’t stop crying.

My family and I were sitting out in the family room, probably exhausted and recovering from the drunkenness of Christmas morning, when we heard Elle groaning from her bedroom.  I went in to check on her and asked her what was wrong.

“My new baby won’t stop crying!  Everytime I get her to be quiet and I fall asleep, she starts to cry again and wakes me up!!”

My advice to her was to leave the baby doll alone and it would eventually stop making noise. At this point,  I kind of hoped they’d both stop making noise.  It was Christmas night and I was tired.  And with that, I made my graceful exit back out to the family room.

Within a few minutes, Elle was groaning again. We could hear her shuffling around in her bedroom and talking to her new baby doll with more frustration in her voice.  The whole family went quiet as we so awfully listened to what was going down without offering any assistance.  Yes, we awfully  listened because we are awful people.  But, jeebus, it was hilarious.

“Baby, just be quiet! I’m trying to sleeeeep!!!”

And we chuckled.  Though my parents looked at me as though I’d taught her such behavior, and I probably had taught her this because she was one of those nocturnal babies.  I’d said a few things to my precious little sleepless infant back in my day.

Mommy, do you remember what I said to that baby doll?  Ha Ha Ha!” 

All of a sudden, we heard thumping coming from Elle’s bedroom.  Then the closet door was swung open and BAM!!!  The baby doll had been tossed, and not very delicately, into the closet.  That’s where it would be sleeping for the night.

Elle came out of her bedroom and declared, with much confidence, that she hated that baby.  She calmly walked back into her bedroom and slammed the closet door shut and screamed, “SHUT UP, BABY!”

Her birthday is coming up in ten days.  Please, I beg of you, DO NOT BUY ELLE A TALKING BABY DOLL. 

(For the record, this talking baby doll did not have an on/off switch.  We ended up having to rip apart its entire body to remove the battery.  Totally not worth it. The irony of it all?  Elle is so good with babies, real live human babies, that I can’t wait for her to grow up.  My mother and I are convinced that she’ll have 4 or 5 kids of her own.  I hope she has a house with walk-in closets.)

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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