My sister sent me this picture this morning:
I feel I should explain.
You see, my niece Luci has a baby doll. The doll’s name is Baby, although in her toddler patois, it comes out more like, “Bebe!” Bebe is a beloved family member, and Luci insists on knowing where she is at all times. She asks for her so frequently that when I went back to New York after my recent visit, I heard Luci’s voice echoing, “Bebe! Bebe!” like you hear the ocean after a couple of days near the sea.
Luci is mostly very kind to Bebe, dressing and undressing her and feeding her bottles and giving her lots of cuddles … until she’s done with Bebe. Then, she throws her down immediately, wherever she is — at preschool, in the supermarket, on a ferry headed toward Boston Light — and it’s your job, as the stupid adult who’s taking care of Luci and Bebe, to make sure Bebe doesn’t wind up in that giant incinerator at the end of “Toy Story 3.”
We’re probably going to wait awhile before getting Luci any babysitting jobs.
All this aside, Luci loves Bebe to an almost inexplicable degree, especially when you consider the fact that Bebe is the most terrifying looking doll in the history of baby dolls. You can’t see it in that picture, but one of her eyes only opens halfway unless you shove it open. I showed this picture to Adam and he said, “Jesus Christ, what’s the matter with that doll? It has Popeye arms.” He noticed the knife second.
I felt the same way about Bebe, and told Meg that I couldn’t sleep in any room where Bebe was looking at me with that one gimlet eye. And like a good sister, Meg immediately started tormenting me with Bebe, first via a series of late night text messages (“I’m in the house!”) and then by making Bebe crawl up whatever piece of furniture I was sitting on, clawing her way toward me with one hand open for a bottle, like her batteries were running down and she just had enough time to kill me before she went.
Then, this morning, I told Meg I missed her and the kids and Mom and Dad so terribly, I wasn’t sure I could get any work done and I’d probably have to go back to bed. And so she sent me that picture.
I still miss them terribly, but now I find I can get things done. I’m scared of what Bebe will do to me if I don’t.