Ah, Christmas. The gift-giving extravaganza that unites many a young child with a plastic-bodied, synthetic-haired baby. Sometimes that baby is blessed with a cherubic face and chubby thighs, and sometimes that newest member of the family looks more like a woman of the night, but with 20 inch eyeballs and a 12 inch waist.
Every time my daughter receives a long-haired doll as a gift, the lifecycle is exactly the same.
The doll is presented to my four-year-old in a plastic tomb. Without fail, she squeals with delight and wonder when opening her gifts. It’s really fun to watch.
She finally convinces a grown-up or her six-year-old brother to help her free her new best friend from the plastic shackles that are keeping them apart.
3. The Honeymoon
My girl lovingly caresses her friend, inspecting her clothing and accessories, and brushing her hair gently. Whichever nimble-fingered family member helped her with the packaging is again called upon to help secure hair clips or attach jewelry. All pieces are laid out in an organized fashion, and promises are made to keep track of all of the gear.
4. Seven Minute Itch
I’m being generous here. It’s usually more like five minutes before she’s got a wandering eye, thinking the toys are brighter on the other side of the room. She is less attentive to her beloved, and little things, like hair getting stuck in the brush, are annoying her. She still loves her new doll, she’s just not in love with her.
It’s not permanent, just a break. During that time, I am the one to pick up the pieces. Literally, because all of these dolls come with a shit-ton of pieces. Usually by now, about 17 minutes in, we’ve already lost a shoe, and even if the doll is Cinderella, I know that slipper will never be found. I often take this opportunity to brush the doll’s hair again, because I’ve seen this story enough to know that the shiny, new doll hair doesn’t last. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” I whisper as I brush. “Before you know it, you’ll have knots in your hair the size of Ken’s rock-hard butt cheeks.”
6. Making Up
The lonely toy receives a fresh dose of love several hours later, and peaks at bedtime. “I can’t sleep without my new dolly!” she moans. “I love her!” Somehow, she finds space in her bed for one more thing, no doubt booting one of her 127 blankets or 14 pillow pets to make room for her newest obsession.
7. The Dumping
Here is where our fallen are laid to rest, ready for a playdate, where fresh eyes can see these discarded, mangled bodies for what they once were, and what, with a little love, they could become again.
It’s a hard, but noble life, being a doll in our house. Don’t worry, little doll. You will be loved again, most certainly when it is suggested that we give you away to a child who will treat you properly.