Friday, 20 August 2010

Saved by the doll

Today the dollies waggled down the catwalk. Those scruffy, worn out rag dolls, home-made years ago on a tired toddler afternoon while the rain poured down.

While I have sank, they have endured. I could learn from their embroidery smiles, their sewn-on pink noses, their glued open felt eyes, if I wasn't driven half mad by the love they attract.

And what love! If only that was mine! You have beautiful hair. You look fantastic in this dress.

I could spit. And such devotion and attention is brought to mend all their tiny wounds in their stretchy fabric skin; one by one, thread and glue and wire. Recovering, they have soft beds to recline on, covers, pillows and cuddles. Jealous, I call them the Arseface dollies, and whisper cruel words at their sewn up mouths after bedtime.

They travel everywhere with us, those dollies, squashed into sacks and bags, cases and boxes. Out they burst at every destination; thrown into Northumberland rockpools, tossed towards Suffolk clouds, rolled down Dorset hills. Dirtier, scruffier, bent in more places, every time. Loved just as before.

I let them stay, and endure them, because I can make them a sacrifice to my god of education. I show a page on how your breathing works. Squirrel quietly steals her rag doll away, opens her up, and performs surgery. Vanessa now has a wine cork for a brain, a red bead for a heart, and two glitter pom poms for lungs. I discover her in intensive care and talk arterial veins and pleural cavities. Squirrel, horrified, grabs her dolly and flees. But I hear on the doctor net that soon she is to acquire a balloon for a bladder. Oh the fun to be had, squeezing out pee! Covertly, I shall work on kidneys, and make up a song about excretion. And wombs. The arseface dollies should know what it is to have a womb cut about and pieces of it thrown away.

Of course I have threatened to throw the dollies out. Time and time again. You don't need them anymore. You're aged ten. Isn't that enough?

And still the dollies stay. They laugh at me and swing by their plaited string hair. They curl up their boneless arms. They twirl on their pointed painted toes, where the stuffing falls out, and the stitches break open. Silently, I think one day I'll shove you in a plastic bag, and hide you behind the sink, where you can't be found. Then I'll wrestle back the love that should be mine. And when you, teenage daughter, abuse me in my old age, I shall recover your doll, waggle it at your boyfriend, and watch your face.

But I take it all back. There's a place in my mouth I keep especially to chew on words I speak, words I eat up again, and don't spit out, no matter how unpleasant the taste.

The rag dolls save the day. Tiger leaves aside her unhappiness. She sits with Squirrel for hours, cutting up fabric, snip, snip, snip; stitching it together, sew, sew, sew; making little dresses for the little dollies; all their new clothes, ever so many, so much enjoyment, so much satisfaction; torn up fabric off the shoulders, pinned at the waist, tied with a knot at the back. They take to the catwalk, fabric unattached, fraying, dropping off, pieces all held together by Tiger's little hand, with a joyful laugh and a happy face. Twirl around your thick string hair, point your unstitched toes, and take a bow, rag doll.

Because they are the best rag dolls I ever did see.


Retiredandcrazy said...

You sound melancholoy grit. Send those pesky rag dolls on the London to New York overland trip with me. I'll straighten them up!

Sugarplum Kawaii said...

I still have a scruffy rag doll from around 1970. I had 'right-on' parents ('till me Dad did the off )so dolly is of an unknown ethnic origin, made with Orange and Brown psychedelic printed fabric.... by hand with a potato.

Big mamma frog said...

Awww...your posts recently have been so sad I haven't known what to put in the comments box.

Sugarplum - I was just wondering why your doll had a potato...Duh. I think I'm a bit dim tonight.

ladybirdcook said...

this sounds so much better, even if the arsefaces have taken over.

my eldest only has the hat of her doll left. Or better, my eldest only has the holes in the hat of her doll left. And the smell. We are not allowed to wash it so it holds the smells of every tummy bug and wet bed of 13 years of love. I'm scared of the thing and find it slightly insulting that she rather holds that than gets a hug off me.

Deb said...

Dearest Grit. I think of you often and hope things are improving. It sounds as though they are, if only a little.

Such an adventure - once they get fully immersed, they'll fuss at you when it's time to leave...motherhood is a giant no-win situation, isn't it?

Rachel M. said...

Hey Grit, here's a video that might cheer you up. In fact you've likely already seen it because people in the UK are outraged. A women walks down a street, sees a cat, stops, looks around then drops the cat into a trash bin. Now I love my 3 cats but there is something macabre that has me laughing in stitches, or maybe its lunacy from severe sleep shortage

sharon said...

Hooray for the Arseface Dollies! Long may they endure. So happy to hear that finally something has brought a smile back to Tiger's face. My younger son still has his softy dogs. They have been with him since he was 3 months old, and boy, does it show. They are almost bald, have one ear between the two of them (the others were twiddled to pieces) and not a lot of stuffing but they endure. He's 26 now so I think the Arsefaces have a long way to go yet ;-)

Grit said...

hi folks, thank you for your comments. i am so pleased to hear of other cuddly toys never thrown away. now i think it is all normal, and not the outcome of psychosis. hooray for blogging!