Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Memories – Dolls

Yes, yes.  I know I've posted this picture before, but it's not like I have more than a dozen to choose from.
Grandma Erma.  Me.  Judy (doll).  Grandma Julia.

Just before Christmas I went to a fun ornament/bingo/Christmas sweater party.  We introduced ourselves by telling a favorite gift and tradition, and it reminded me . . .

Dolls.  I loved when I got a new doll for Christmas.  But by Christmas night I was exhausted from taking care of her – what with all the crying and feeding and burping and rocking, and if you happened to get a doll that wet she was constantly leaking which made for lots of diaper changing and line drying and making diapers from washcloths.  My dolls just never slept long either so by Christmas night I was begging anyone to hold her so I could have a break.  I took her care very seriously, so seriously in fact that after a day or two I just couldn’t do it anymore and put her away in the back of the closet so I wouldn’t feel guilty – I couldn’t leave her on the bed or she would see me and feel left out, or she might roll off and break an arm, or get caught in plastic and suffocate, or see that my sister was playing with her doll and wonder why her mother never came and got her to play, or . . . or . . . or . . .   

For this very reason I avoided child development classes in high school when I saw the students carrying around a little sack of flour in a blanket.  Though I was a good ten years older, I knew I was no better prepared to handle the pressure of a making a flour sack happy than I had been of a doll.  When I finally took child development I was in college and the bag of flour had been replaced with a fresh egg – more fragile and realistic they said.  That egg ‘bout did me in.  I padded a nest from cotton in a l’eggs nylon container to keep her safe, but everyone knows that you can’t leave a baby on the side of a pool unattended or it will drown, so I had to swim with that egg tied to my ankle bobbing along behind me as well as sleep and eat with it.  I was so glad when that week was over.  I never did attach to her.    

You can imagine my great relief to discover that being a mother to real people was not at all like tending eggs and dolls.  People told me they weren't the same, but I was still very relieved to know it for myself.  Children make wonderful memories.  Being a mother is where so many, many of my happy memories reside.

How about you?  What was a favorite gift of yours?
Did you tote a bag of flour?      

8 comments:

Jill said...

I love your childhood photos and don't actually remember seeing this one before!

These are amusing memories to me especially since you are so incredibly maternal. I guess it was your maternal nature that took it so seriously.

I never had to do a project like that even though I took Child Development. They have those realistic baby dolls at our junior high for the 9th graders to take home over a weekend. It's always hilarious when they bring them back on Monday and talk about waking up all night because of the crying.

Deidra said...

I had the realistic computer doll that the teacher could read the data by plugging it in. I think I was good at doing just enough to get by.

While real babies are so much better, they can also be so much trouble. A little certain someone has learned to pull herself up to standing in her crib (already? Wasn't she just born?). But she doesn't know how get back down. It made for a long day (can you tell?) of little napping!

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

I also knew that I would not enjoy carrying around an egg or bag of flour! So I avoided it.

I adore my children....there was no need for that nonsense!

Becky said...

Oh, Jane! I like you :) Those memories were so cute and funny. When I went to college I ended up being a Child Development major and I loved it at the time but sometimes it does contribute to some current mommy guilt.

The picture is darling...

Deanna/Mimi said...

Never had the experiences of you and those that have posted so I sure enjoyed reading your blog of your experience. Very funny. All my dolls did was cry "mama" when you tipped them. My favorite doll was Susie. One day she disappeared when I was in the first grade. On my birthday a stand-up box was giving to me as a gift. The box was covered with tissue paper and it looked like a wardrobe cupboard. I opened the tissued covered door of the "cupboard" and there was my Susie. I cried. I jumped up and down. I was told that I had loved her so much that she had to go to the doll hospital to be "made well". She returned absolutely beautiful...just like new. Sure wish I could go to the "doll hospital" and be made new again. :)

Kathy said...

I loved my dolls, but I didn't take them seriously! You make me laugh! I LOVE being a mom and a grandma. I love that picture of you and your granny's, lucky girl!

Cali said...

My comment is too long to put on here. I'm calling you right now. I LOVE these glimpses into your childhood. I remember the story of you pulling your egg behind you and about Judy, but I never put the two together... that you took your guardianship so seriously. I'm so glad mothering was easier, because you are AMAZING at it. The best I've ever seen.

Cali

michelle said...

oh, Jane. I love this post. I don't think I ever took caring for my dolls that seriously. I never really enjoyed babies and young children when I was growing up, but somehow I knew I would love my own children. Thankfully, I was right, and since becoming a mother, I have learned to love all children.