I have long thought that our girls have really tender hearts.
They care so meticulously for their baby dolls, cradling their heads, rocking them, and giving them kisses before they put them down for a nap, assuring them, “See you soon, Baby.”
They are so sweet with their stuffed puppy dogs, and they are always full of wide-eyed wonder at the mere glimpse of our kitty cat.
And then there was the Fly Incident, where little Baby B was unsettled for days after witnessing her daddy swat a little pest.
And that was followed by the Velcro Incident, where – again – little Baby B was traumatized at seeing her daddy rip open the bodice of her beloved Glow Worm to expose his inner workings (to change the batteries).
Yes, we’ve long realized our girls are very empathetic, and we try to manage their delicate little beings with care.
Enter a well-meaning family friend earlier in the week, bringing a belated birthday gift to the girls…two baby dolls that suckle from bottles and cry when they’re not being fed.
What great interactive play, right?
The girls were at first scared by the crying babies (whose cries are shockingly close to a newborn baby’s). Once they got over their initial fear, they were so excited to “feed” their babies, and they made the connection between the crying and the bottle very quickly.
What was evident very quickly, though, too, was how distraught the girls were over their babies being upset.
“Mommy, oh no! Baby crying again!” I reminded the girls that babies like to be burped, and rocked, and that satisfied them for a couple of minutes.
But then, as soon as they’d try to feed their babies again, the babies would cry.
I could see the worry building on the girls’ faces. “It’s OK, baby, it’s OK,” they’d console.
And while it was beyond adorable to see them so focused on caring for their babies, those dolls were beginning to take an emotional toll on the girls. They were on edge the entire morning.
As an aside, I had to chuckle to myself…don’t we all know the feeling of tiptoeing around a sleeping baby, just hoping and praying she doesn’t stir, for you have worked so very hard – tried every trick in the book – just to get her to rest for a few moments!
Ultimately, I decided the girls’ emotional well-being [and Mommy's nerves] were more important than learning the cause-and-effect of an electronic cry box. (Oh, and did I mention they sound shockingly like a newborn baby’s cries?!!! And aren’t we past that in this house?!!!)
When the girls got up from their nap yesterday, I told them that the babies “had to go visit Nana” (who gave them the dolls). They were upset at first, but their attention was diverted pretty quickly.
If and when the dolls return, it will be with an elephant-size dose of gas drops (i.e. having had their batteries permanently removed...but not in front of the girls, of course).