Thursday, March 24, 2011

Invasion of the Naked Babies

There are some jobs in a house that are by necessity and design, never ending. Like laundry. It doesn't matter how much laundry you do, people are going to keep wearing clothes and dirtying up the things you just washed. Dishes are likewise, unless you go on a cooking strike and only eat out (I've done this - don't laugh.) I suppose if you are the type of person who dusts, dusting is probably like this, too. I mean, it never stops landing there, so there is no real end to moving it elsewhere. 

One of these never ending jobs in my house is dressing babies. Not the real ones. The plastic ones. We have approximately 2.1 million baby dolls in my house. We have a couple from when I was a kid, then Brynna has about a half million and the rest came for Christmas when I made the mistake of telling multiple people that Maren needed a baby doll because she was always trying to play with Brynna's. 

All of these dolls are pretty much imperceptibly different. This one has a pacifier. This one can pee her pants. This one is soft and this one makes a good weapon. That one has a hat stapled onto her skull and the one over there giggles maniacally when you tickle her tummy. We have ones that cry ones that talk. There is one trait that they nearly all share, however - their clothes are removable, pink and have some sort of small animal embroidered or appliqued on them. 

At first glance, this seems like a good idea. Surely those clothes are therefore interchangeable. Right? Who would notice if the crying baby got the laughing baby's pants? Only, it doesn't work like that because they are all ever-so-slightly different sizes. 

It's a puzzle of epic proportions. I walk through the house, gathering all the babies and baby clothes that I can find. Then, I lay everything out in the living room floor and try to determine which outfits go together and who wears what. After a good long session of trying to tell apart the minute differences in shades of pink, I start dressing the dolls. Once you realize that something doesn't fit, you have to readjust all your previous choices, though. Okay, if this doesn't go on crying baby, it must go on laughing baby. But that means that this outfit must go on paci baby and this one will have to go on stapled hat baby. Which leaves me with one hat that won't stay on anyone's head, a single bootie and three shirts. 

Obviously, the sane solution is to get a box, stuff all the dolls and clothes in it, put on a label that says "Babies" and move on with my life. Why can't I do that? Because I can't. I can't stand the thought of those babies hanging around naked. There's a whole bin full of naked Barbies and that doesn't bother me in the least, but I have to clothe the baby dolls.

Is it some holdover from my childhood when I compulsively changed my dolls clothes? A weird superstition about naked baby dolls? Perhaps a mistaken belief that their feelings will somehow be hurt by their nakedness? I have no clue. I can only conclude that is some deep seated psychological illness. 

In any case, at least weekly, I take on the task of dressing all the babies. And weekly, at least, I swear this is the last time I'm doing it. From now on, those stupid babies can just stay naked. Who cares about them, anyway? It's not like they are getting cold. And the kids are just gonna take their clothes off anyway. So, why not? Why not just leave them naked? And only a few days later, I spy one on the floor or shoved hastily at pick up time into a toy bin. Perhaps even halfway under a blanket on a big girl bed. "I'll just dress her," I think, looking around for some empty clothes. A few minutes later, I realize that the nearly complete outfit I found just inches from the naked doll isn't the right one - and then we're off. I have to dress the baby that outfit belongs to and I have to find clothes for the naked baby in my hand. It's a compulsion.

The worst part is that the kids have decided I like it. This may never end.


Suze said...

Anya has one baby doll that my MIL gave her and the poor thing is ALWAYS naked. It kind of drives me crazy, but I can't find her clothes, so naked she stays.

Mrs. Allroro said...

You're very funny. I have an explanation for the urge to dress babies yet not barbies: barbies can take care of themselves. They are adult plastic people. Babies, however, are baby plastic people and need someone to care for them. I suggest you name them all and then write their initials in their clothes with a sharpie. That's what I would do, because I would want to dress them all, too, and I would also go crazy like you.

I always tell myself that if I have kids they will not have lots of toys, but I seriously wonder if I have the self-control for that.

Jessi said...

Suze - I think to some extent it's a universal problem.

Mrs. A - We don't buy hardly any toys, but you can't control what grandparents and the like do. You can probably manage the situation better than I do, because I am too afraid of hurting people's feelings, though.

Suze said...

Jessi, you're not kidding about the number of toys that come into the house. You can be as moderate as you want, but when you've got extended family giving them stuff at every holiday and birthday (which is entirely understandable!) it's just hard to avoid. We did a big purge before Christmas, and that helped some. Our house is just so small we can't hang onto everything.

Sage said...

Yup... I was going to suggest the marker, or embroidering something also! Even just a color coded dot would do it!

Orlandel said...

Really, we stopped buying toys when my son was 2. When we moved we went through all of our son's toys. He was 14. What he kept is still in my storage unit. There are about 6 boxes of the "little toys" and his toy box is packed full of the larger trucks, etc. I just hope they are not multiplying while they are in there.