I was a strange kid, but I didn’t know I was strange. I was pretty sure it was everyone else who was strange. My best friends for a long time were dolls, which is seemingly pretty normal…until you know that my favorite doll for a long time was an empty Velveeta cheese box named Olivia.

When the other kids don’t get it

I had a lot of dolls when I was little, and I loved them all fiercely. There was the doll family I made for myself out of old socks that my mother couldn’t find the partners of through the years. I stuffed them, sewed up the opening, and drew faces on them with markers. Someone in the family laughed at them and said they looked like pills. I guess pills as in medication? I decided to embrace it instead of feel offended, so I called them the pill dolls. The pill dolls were a sad and lonely family but they did have me and each other. And the Lincoln log house they lived in for awhile. They didn’t make it past my Great Belonging Purge as an adult before we moved into a studio apartment, and I don’t have a photo of them. I found a close approximation via Google image search though. Just imagine a bunch of these, but without any arms, legs, or yarn hair.

Silent scream for help

I had some sort of baby doll early on that you could “feed” a tiny bottle of water, and the water would go through a tube in her mouth to the diaper so you could realistically change her. I remember wanting to know what would happen if you fed her other things, so I tried to put jewelry crafting beads I found in her mouth. They got stuck, and the water wouldn’t go through anymore. Essentially I condemned her to death by starvation and blocked pipes. Good job, me! I tried to find a Google image picture of her too, but all I can find is pictures of the other similar baby dolls from the time. Like this one!

Hello, nightmare doll.

This next one wasn’t technically a doll (then again neither was Olivia). My parents bought one of our dogs a new plush toy from the pet supply store, and I rescued it after we got home and nobody was paying attention. I knew this toy’s fate was to be ripped to shreds on his first day in a new home, so I hid him with my other toys. He was a big hot pink and black kind-of-shaped-like-a-cat thing, and I named him Nermal. Nermal wore dresses and lived out a good life, which is more than I can say for Mouth Baby.

I’ve mentioned my American Girl doll Josefina before, but I had another type of American Girl doll from the Bitty Baby baby doll line. I named her Maria, and I carried her everywhere. Maria had all kinds of seasonal outfits (as American Girl tends to do), and she never failed to be better dressed than the actual people in our family for every occasion, be it Valentine’s Day or Easter or a barbecue. I remember reading in the American Girl catalogue that if your doll got damaged, you could mail her back in, and they’d repair her and send her back in a tiny hospital gown and hospital bracelet. I wished a little bit that Maria was broken so this would happen. It never did, but I really wanted that tiny hospital gown.

My clothes cost more than yours do

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