When my daughter was about 9 months old, her Aunt Ercelle gave her a doll. It was sort of a mouse, but with a baby's face, kind of like if a child was wearing a mouse costume. There was a little pink dress, too. We named her Dolly, because we are super-creative.
|Alyssa holding Dolly by the ear.|
Alyssa had received many dolls, but she really took to this one. She dragged Dolly around by the ear; she slept with Dolly; Dolly was always within easy reach. She went everywhere with us.
And then, one day when Alyssa was about 14 months old, her Daddy picked her up and she dropped Dolly onto our hardwood floor. Until that moment, we had had no idea that Dolly's head was porcelain. Porcelain breaks. I was aghast. Not at the shattering, but at the apocalypse I was sure would be visited upon my home with the loss of Dolly. My husband said, "Just give her another doll. She'll be fine." I did not truly believe this, but I put her to bed with another doll and all was well...
...until 5AM when Alyssa awoke shrieking. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to replace that head and quick, because we were going out of town to a family reunion the next day and there was no way I was traveling with her minus Dolly, a four-year-old, and no other adult. No way.
So Alyssa and I set off as soon as the stores opened. The doll had been purchased from a vendor at a luncheon and had no tag or anything else to identify the maker, so simply getting another one was out of the question. I thought an art supply or craft store would be the perfect place to find a suitable head. I was wrong. The heads were too small, or too big, or not brown like the original.
Everywhere we went, it was the same drill: I put Alyssa in the cart and kept poor, broken Dolly in a bag at the other end of the cart where I would surreptitiously pull her just far enough out of the bag to make a comparison, but not far enough that Alyssa would see me if she turned around. Finally, at Toys R Us, I found a doll head that would fit. The problem was that the head was attached to a doll.
When we got home, I passed Alyssa to her father and went upstairs to make the switch. I had to decapitate the new doll. I felt terrible about it, but rationalized it by saying it had given its life so another -- all of us, really -- could live. I disposed of the body as quickly as I could.
Alyssa noticed that there was something different about Dolly; the eyes opened and closed, where they had not on the old head. She poked at the eyes and frowned, but then sniffed her and decided this was her doll after all.
The apocalypse had been averted. Peace in my home had been restored.