Can you guess which present Nora loved most this year? Was it the sweet, adorable blond-haired baby doll with matching Nora/doll Christmas dresses? Or was it the slightly creepy Jack plush?
At least the doll has since gotten a little play time. According to Nora, her name is “Gear.” A lovely name for a baby doll, I must say. Jack has been a more constant companion and only had to stay home once when we went to church (a bitter, tearful separation for all parties, believe me).
We ended up giving Jack to Nora a day early. On Dec 24th, Ethan wanted to give a gag gift to his cousin Alex along with the iTunes gift certificate we had already purchased. So I took Ethan to the thrift store and he picked out the most hideously dressed, shaggy-haired Barbie he could find. I made Ethan carry her to the checkout stand because it made him squeamish. “What if I see someone I know from school?” he pleaded. “Then I guess the gag’s on you,” I answered. And then I proceeded to take the longest, most scenic, most populated route to the front of the store because it amused me.
When we got home, Nora took one look at the Barbie and fell in love. She heard the name “Barbie” and began begging for her Bah-bie and chasing Ethan around the house: “My Bah-bie...my bah-bie!” And Ethan, my teenage boy, was running for dear life, holding onto this skanky doll — with her medusa hair and silicone implants and sparkly cocktail dress — yelling “No, it’s my Barbie! It’s mine.” The scene was all the more comical because I have never let Nora (nor if I get my way, will I ever let her) own a Barbie. How ironic that my untainted, Barbie-free daughter, gets obsessed with the first one she ever sees. She would not relent. Every time Ethan tried to hide the Barbie, Nora found it again. Eventually, we got Nora calmed down and distracted while Ethan wrapped Alex’s present. A few minutes later, it was time to go to the big family party and we discovered that Nora had found Alex’s present and ripped open the wrapping paper to get to her Bah-bie. This time, there was no distracting her. She refused to relinquish the stupid doll. Finally, we resorted to getting out Jack a day early and letting her unwrap him. Her first reaction was to say, “That’s not Jack! That’s Jack” (pointing to the picture on the video case). But soon she was willing to give the imposter Jack a chance and we slipped Barbie from her other hand and re-wrapped her. Whew!
It helped that at the family party, my brother Thom, who happens to have the entire score to The Nightmare Before Christmas memorized (and I do not exaggerate), held up Jack and sang some songs from the movie. Nora—and the rest of her cousins—were totally transfixed. Jack is now definitely Jack. And Barbie is likely back at the thrift store, confused and more than a little relieved to have escaped the crazed 2-year-old and her wacky brother.