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?