Ugly Baby

The other night, I was rocking Petra to sleep (and getting nowhere) and suddenly Silas banged on the door. I tried to ignore him (JC was supposed to be playing with him), but he kept on, insistent. I was concerned that something had happened to JC, so I opened the door. Silas handed me Ugly Baby and said, “Petra wants her baby. She forgot her baby.” Then he gave me and Petra a kiss goodnight and went back in the living room.

Ugly Baby is a little doll–maybe 5″–that was mine when I was little. It has a molded vinyl head, hands, and feet, and a soft cotton body. I had lots of these when I was little, all named “Baby Nora,” after my friend who is a year and a half younger than I am. Ugly Baby is the only one that has survived all these years. I say “survived,” but that’s being kind. She’s a mess. Silas keeps taking off her little pajamas, so she’s naked most of the time, and you can see the stains and drool marks on her cotton body. Petra likes to nom on her feet, so she has little tooth marks there. Her head is kind of falling off, and the fabric is too worn to fix her. She’s just looking rough, and has acquired the name “Ugly Baby.” I keep meaning to toss her.

She’s never been Petra’s “lovey,” or even a toy she seeks out especially. I don’t know why Silas thought that Petra wanted her. Sure enough, though, she stopped crying and giggled and played with Ugly Baby for a few minutes, rubbed her eyes, asked to nurse, and fell asleep immediately.

Two things:

1) I guess this means I need to keep UB or find a replacement? I’m trying to get her interested in a little doll Silas had as a baby, similar in size and with a vinyl head, but she’s not taking the bait. Those molded vinyl feet are the thing that attracts her to UB. They don’t seem to make dolls quite like that any more. JC speculates that it’s more expensive to have separate hands and feet rather than just making everything from the neck down cloth. He’s probably right. I’m hoping this was just a fluke, and she wanted UB in that moment, but not every night. I can still help UB make a subtle exit.

2) More interestingly, how did Silas know? He’s very proud of himself for knowing, and has attempted to pull the same trick of guessing what she wants several times since then. He hasn’t been as successful, but he’s excited about trying, and I love that. They are definitely communicating in mysterious ways.

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