The other night my mom dropped by to see the kids. I was upstairs for the first few minutes of her visit, so when I walked into the family room I had no preparation for what I was about to see..
One of those. It was in my house.
I am full on admitting to you that I was completely gobsmacked. I had no idea how to react. I couldn’t say anything. After a few minutes I stammered out a thanks to my mother for bringing Lulu a present. Nothing has quite so unnerved me in a long time. Baby Lulu is 10 months. Isn’t that a little young for a baby doll? I mean, she’s still a baby, and we’re against babies having babies, it's practically in the constitution! It was like all of a sudden I realized that I had a daughter, one that might want to play with a doll someday?
Now, I was a girl once and I played with dolls, but I hadn’t quite made the cognitive leap from "A therefore B." I went through a mental list of all the stupid toys upstairs in the stupid messy playroom: none of them are pink and none are outright for girls. Our Legos are just Legos. I’ve been far more concerned that Lulu would eat the marbles from the marble run, instead of worried that she doesn’t have a single pink plastic anything.
I don’t know what I was expecting as I stared at the doll: pink, white, blue eyes, bald, and almost as big as Lulu Peanut. I ripped off the headband and threw it away. Maybe I thought I’d buy a doll with brown hair, or darker skin, sometime in the far off future? I did not a have a plan for this. I am completely unprepared for this.
Because people ask me all the time, “Isn’t it so different having a girl?”
“No. She’s just a baby right now, and most babies are such babies.” Which is true, by the way, most babies are jerks. But it’s also true that each of my babies has been different. They are, by all accounts and evidence, their own selves from the moment they were born. EG has always been an internal and considered thinker. Proximo has always been sensitive and stubborn. Lulu has always been loud, feisty, and independent: a ready smile and exceedingly proud of everything she does.
When she walks I crow, “Look at my smart girl!” Her face lights up with the joy of being, of doing, and learning to make her body respond. She wants to walk across the room. She wants her brothers to make her laugh. It’s the pterodactyl scream if you’re eating food and don’t share. She doesn’t want you to stop her from crawling up the stairs. She’s thrilled to open and close her hand, to greet or to send you away. She rejects your pitiful attempts to corral her. Everything probably needed to come out of all the drawers and cabinets anyway, so really it’s saving you time. All her opinions are definite, loud, precise, and non-negotiable.
Lulu took that doll and poked it in the eyes, hit its head repeatedly on the marble table, and then ignored it.