We have two, well-worn Mdm. Alexander baby dolls, the kind with plastic heads, soft torsos, and digit-less fingers and toes. Nora Ruth originally named them “Baby Martha” (after Aunt Martha) and “Baby Patsy” after [cousin] Patsy. They were once distinguishable by their clothing but now that Alliene is their new ‘Mama’ they are always kept in the buff, so we refer to them both as “baby”. As if allowing them to run around the house unclothed all day long isn’t bad enough, Alliene also nurses them at all hours which I believe is called “demand feeding” and is quite a hot-button parenting topic as of late.
We discovered recently that Thomas loves the babies. Really, really, really loves them. He smiles and coos and laughs at them. He loves to hear them “squeak”. And he reaches his arms out, grabs them around the hollow head or endless arm and slobbers for all he’s worth. Until Alliene spots what he’s doing and heads over to rescue ‘baby’ who, if she could speak for herself, would prefer Thomas’ gentle gumming to the hammering she gets whilst under Alliene’s jurisdiction.
I’ve got to hand it to my middle child, she swoops in with a smile and sweet talks her brother so that he assumes she is there solely for his benefit. When she’s gone and he resumes sucking, slowly realizing that he is only in command of his own hand, he wonders vaguely if there was once something else between those fingers. She’s already discovered that a patronizing tone, a smile, and the lilt in her voice is enough to fool her brother into supposing that she is saying something nice.
“Thooooomaaaasss. What are you doing little man? Do you have my baby? Thoooomaaasss, you silly little goochy-goo. Thooooomaaaasss I need my baby RIGHT NOW. You don’t play with babies little man. [prying his fingers] Ooooooh-KAY. Oh-Kay, oh-kay, oh-kay. There ya go little booooy. [She’s back in charge of baby now] Seeee, Thoooomaaaasss, my baby did not want you to hold her like thaaaat. OH…ugh…there is spit-up on my baby. [It’s really just drool, Alliene has a weak stomach for anything that comes out of Thomas’ mouth.] Why did you do that to my baby, little maaany-man? OH, Thomas! My baby is crying. I need to feed her. Bye!”
So here is your typical “Baby Heist” caught in still photos. At first, Nora Ruth is helping me to hold the baby while Thomas plays with it. Nora Ruth is just leaving when Alliene, who has heard the commotion from her room, comes surreptitiously down the hall to investigate and take back control of the baby.