Oh baby. Looks like I’m not the world’s worst parent after all

(Originally posted June 13, 2008)

Mia has a baby doll that she loves like it’s part of her anatomy.

It’s a grubby, raggedy thing now. Its soft body and legs loved so much they have lost all shape, her plastic head has lost a bit of its paint and her eyes don’t quite close properly.

In fact I’ve tried my hardest to get her to replace it with something a bit more, well let’s say aesthetically pleasing shall we, or cleaner, or a bit less offensive to your nasal passages.

But there is no way she is giving up that doll. Or Baby, as she’s called.
She was never allowed a name. Anyone who asks: ‘what is the dolly’s name?” is treated to a withering stare as if you’ve just asked “can I cut your doll’s head off” and she replies: “It’s Baby”. And you had best leave it at that.

Mia mothers this baby so tenderly it’s a joy to watch.
Truly, it is so heartwarming to see her coo over this plastic monstrosity, rock it in her arms and move away an imaginary lock of stray hair all tenderly.It makes me want to scoop them both up (overriding my gagging reflex as Baby moves under my nose, obvisouly) and smother them in love.
Shall I pause here a moment while you ahh/tut/gag . . .

Mia takes Baby everywhere. It is her comfort.
I have a friend whose children both have comforters. Neither of them were the slightest bit interested in a dummy. But her six-year-old son has the raggiest, most thread-bare Bagpuss toy you have EVER seen (which also stinks) and her 4-year-old daughter has one of mummy’s old vest tops which she calls Cuggy and drags it around like a female version of Linus in Charlie Brown.

Bagpuss has been banned from school (I suspect it’s the smell, but I’m told the teacher said it’s not ‘appropriate’) so mummy has to have it in the car at all times so he knows precisely where it is.
Cuggy must NEVER be washed for fear of it smelling ‘wrong’ and if it does ever come into contact with cleaning fluids it must under no circumstances be dried on the radiator because if it’s warm, well put it this way, there will be screaming.

Dummies may have been a darn sight easier.

So tonight Mia is sitting on her beanbag, chatting to Baby in a tender voice: “You OK Baby?” she asks and rocks her gently in her arms.

And then it dawns on me! She’s copying her mum. I have taught her those tender ways, that loving nature. My god, I did do something right! I am not a parenting failure.

Just as I’m about to swell up with pride or joy or arrogance or something much more unseemly, Mia stands up, picks Baby up by the leg and tosses her on the sofa.


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14 Responses to Oh baby. Looks like I’m not the world’s worst parent after all

  1. Tony says:

    That was great – I love the ending lol. I used to have a monkey thing, or at least I think it was a monkey that I carried around with me when I was a kid – his name was Boo-Boo. I don't know where he's at now, probably in that place where magical toys go when they're outgrown.

  2. GreenJello says:

    I enjoyed that one!I was able to get my girls to give up their "babies" to the washer by telling them it was time for a BATH. Even babies need baths.Get yourself a little mesh bag, and send Baby through the spin cycle.

  3. Vered - MomGrind says:

    Of course you're not a parenting failure!That was so sweet. I enjoyed reading.

  4. Jo Beaufoix says:

    Hee hee, that is adorable. I am now allowed to wash Miss E 's Frieda bear as at age 8 her sense of smell has finally erm, evolved. Miss M currently has Barky, an Ikea retriever type dog. I have a plan. I might buy another and wash them both regularly so she will never know. Mwah ha ha haaaaa.

  5. Tara says:

    @Tony: "that place where magical toys go when they're outgrown" – where is that exactly Tony? It was the bin in my house!By the way, I have a little chuckle to myself every time I see your avatar pop up with your Jedi look on – just brilliant! Appeals to my inner geek.@GreenJello: Have tried the bath thing. Mia just insists on taking the grotty thing in the bath with her and actually putting it in the same water she's sat in. G R O S S@Vered: Thanks Vered. Sometimes I need to hear it out loud!@Jo: Hey there, you found me! I LOVE your plan for a Baby doppleganger. Sneeky mummy you are!

  6. What on earth is a Bagpuss. I need to know this. Mine never had anything they were freakishly attached to but I do adore watching Miss G put all her babies to bed. Basically it involves covering them with a blanket wherever it is they lay…it ends up looking like a crime scene. Sweet…but scary.

  7. That's so funny! I love how Sprite does that with her dolls. She'll be so tender one moment, training for the javelin throw the next. My favorite is when she puts them down for "naps". She covers the body completely with a blanket and whallops their backs as she says "Nite nite! Shhh!"

  8. Our youngest clung to his orange Boo-Bahh constantly for about 4 years. We had 3 in fact. One was lost and I used to swap them around, on a kind of washing rota. Anything to prevent that smell!Glad to have found your new blog. Good luck!

  9. Tara says:

    @The Stiletto Mom: You've never heard of Bagpuss? Tut, what do they show you Americans on the TV!Bagpuss is a fat furry catpuss and lives in a shop with a talking stuffed frog, a wooden woodpecker called Professor Yaffle and a bunch of squeeky voiced mice.Really, you've been missing out. @Sprite's Keeper: Hey there. Thanks for visiting. That 'whalloping their backs' thing – she's learnt that from you! You think you're all tender and gentle and she's thinking you have sledgehammer hands.@Adventure Mother: Welcome welcome. Boo-Bahs? (shudder). Clearly there is an unwritten rule though that you buy a couple of their cling ons and rotate them through the spin cycle. I wish someone had told me this earlier!

  10. Deconstructing Jen says:

    LOL, that was awesome. My son has a blanket that he drags around with him, so he quite literally looks like Linus. I have to sneak it out every once in a while to wash it but it much be washed in scent free soap and scent free fabric softener otherwise he won't sleep with it until he's dirtied it back up again. I wonder if that blanket will still be around when he's older.That last bit was genius. "Oh."

  11. Ha Ha. Very funny Tara.I used to have a stinky germ ridden huggy. My kids don't seem to have any comfort things, despite me trying to force them on them. You WILL carry this doggy around with you everywhere and make him your favourite…

  12. DJ Kirkby says:

    Lol…N3S has something of a similar nature. A very stinky tiger striped cushion that he calls 'meow cat pillow'.

  13. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    LOL. Love the ending. We have been fortunate enough to, so far, avoid the comforter issue. Hope it stays that way. Though I'm told that they go to and stay asleep much better if they have a comforter, so perhaps should have pushed one on her!

  14. Superjaxster says:

    LOL. Well if she was ok, then there was no more TLC needed hence the leg toss.

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