That baby’s a real doll!

Readers may or may not remember how I explored the toy section at Wal-Mart to find out what dolls girls were playing with these days. I’ll admit that I wanted to play with some of those dolls. The baby dolls were so realistic I wanted to free them from their wrappers and hug them against my barren breasts. But I didn’t. It’s a small town and I don’t want people to think I’m nuts.

However, it seems some women actually do buy baby dolls as substitutes for real babies. They’re calling them “reborn” babies or “memory” babies. For the whole story, read “Fake babies ease women’s anxiety, sadness,” published last week at MSNBC.com. Author Dr. Gail Saltz explains the therapeutic value of dolls for empty-nesters, women whose babies have died, and childless women. Unlike real babies, dolls never cry or need clean diapers, but in some odd way they provide some of the same positive feelings as real infants. “It fills a place in your heart,” doll-maker Lynn Katsaris told Lauer.

There’s a British documentary called “My Fake Baby: New Life with Reborn Dolls.” A clip from the film shows a woman carrying her “baby” around a grocery store. People who stop to admire it are amazed to discover it isn’t real.

Now, I’m ready to call this just plain nuts, but then again after my dog Sadie died, I purchased a dog statue made of stone. It’s about a foot and a half high and sits on my hearth gazing up at Sadie’s picture. I call him Stoney and make jokes about how he’s such an easy dog to care for. The idea was to purchase a memorial to my beloved pet, but before we got the new puppies (agh, wild mudballs!), I sometimes talked to Stoney and thought of him as my dog.

So who am I to say we’re too old for dolls, especially as Chatty Cathy looks down on me while I type?

No, not dogs again!


Yes, dogs again. Sorry, but that’s all I can think about these days. You see, Fred and I adopted two 7-week-old puppies last week, and it really feels as if I have two babies. They’re the same weight as babies, have the same needs, and fill the same needs in my heart. Last night, my church choir surprised me with a puppy shower. There were two baby blankets, but of course no little onesies. I did get dog treats, chew toys galore, balls, weewee pads, and lots of advice. There was a gorgeous white-frosted cake with big red flowers on it. This may sound totally nuts, but it felt as if I had received something I’d been waiting for all my life. I sat on the floor of the chapel opening presents and soaking it all in.
As assistant director, I was surprised that there had been a wave of e-mail that didn’t include me. Those sneaky singers.
Puppies are certainly not the same as humans. They won’t take care of you in your old age. Conversations are rather one-sided. And they poop and piddle on the floor. But for the childless woman who wanted children and didn’t have them, they’re one way of filling that emptiness.
Has anyone else found that to be true? What other ways can you feed the maternal need? I’d love to hear your ideas.
And yes, I promise to get back to human issues next time.