My Doll’s Untimely Demise

doll

When I was around six years old, the Christmas gift de jour was a baby doll that “ate” food and then “wet” her diaper. Food came in little packets that you put in her mouth to start the process: in theory, she mashed up the peas or apples from the packet, then digested– if you can call it that– and voilà, it was time to change her diaper! If you weren’t sure whether it was time to clean her up, don’t worry: she’d cry to let you know.

Fun, right? Sure…if you’re six years old. Maybe not so much as a parent: now that I’m decades beyond this doll, I wonder at my parents’ generosity in actually buying me one of these things. The first thought that springs to mind is the mess it’s likely to make; the second is the noise. However, after some considerable begging on my part, I got my Christmas wish. I spent a glorious few days feeding and changing, feeding and changing, feeding and changing. What wasn’t there to love?

Unfortunately, on about the third day of her life, my doll suffered massive internal organ failure: though she continued to imbibe food and drink, chewing it up in her decided, mechanical way, she had lost the ability to flush anything from her system. Her tiny, hollow stomach and imaginary digestive tract refused to cooperate.

I was devastated; such a short, unfulfilled life! I turned to my dad, the fixer of all things, for help in reviving my doll.  The bathroom served as our ER. Holding her over the sink, my dad examined the miniature plastic person: four hinged limbs, a head of plasticky yellow hair, and two orifices. Obviously the entrance into the doll’s body was working, since I had been feeding her all afternoon. With a sigh, he flipped the doll over to examine the food’s exit point.

Nothing appeared to be wrong. Gently, he held the doll by her midsection and shook her. Still nothing. He shook harder as I jumped around the bathroom, squealing at him to be careful, but shaking didn’t produce any noticeable results. With a half grin on his face at the ridiculousness of the situation, he again eyed the doll’s mouth, an idea forming in his head. Obviously shaking wasn’t going to help; a more directed force had to be applied to the food stuck inside. With a shake of his head, he held the doll over the sink and performed a kind of CPR, attempting to fix her by forcibly blowing the food out of the doll’s stomach cavity. More nothing.

Let’s pause for a moment to envision this situation: as a six year old, that doll is next-to-real to me. As an adult, my dad sees it for what it is; namely, a piece of molded plastic with two holes and a singular pathway from one to the other. So while his next strategy was really the only possible option left, I practically died with mortification. Blowing into the doll from one direction hadn’t done anything, so he turned her over and blew into her from the other direction.

I clapped my hands to my cheeks and shrieked. “Daddeeeee! Don’t!!” The bizarre picture in front of me was too much, however, and I started giggling. After a minute my dad burst into his own round of laughter, holding the malfunctioning toy in one hand and putting the other on his hip, at his wits’ end with his daughter’s plaything.

We never did fix the doll. I laid her to rest and returned to my stuffed animals: though they were less technologically equipped, they were much more cuddly.

(photo courtesy of Giovanni Caito/Dreamstime.com)

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

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