Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The gallery held over the doll show and I volunteered to make baby dolls for any kid who wanted. Little did I know that the director of the gallery invited 63 kids to participate in a theater group for the same day.

“They won’t all show up. I expect they’ll be only 40 or so.” It seemed as though there were four thousand or so but I rallied.

Robin, the director broke the kids up in three groups. Two were loudly practicing impromptu acting and the other 19 made dolls.

I couldn’t see the actors but the doll makers were mesmerized by the antics of the theater circles.

Imagine 19 children with needles and scissors listening to me over the din of 40 more kids acting out imaginary scenes.

Nevertheless, about six kids really were interested in doll making. Boys as well as girls.

And they were the ugliest dolls in the entire world. Most did not stuff the tubes (which I made ahead of time) tight enough. One nine year old poked a large needle through the head of the doll as directed and out where she thought the nose should be as directed.

“Look,” she exclaimed, “an automatic nose.” With the large needle, she managed to catch a loose piece of stretch fabric and pull it through to the front of the doll. When it came time to fashion the mouth, I instructed to make a stritch under the nose. She didn’t hear the words ‘where you think the mouth to be’ so the mouth landed up directly under the automatic nose. It came out looking like a shrunken smiling head.

Another girl who didn’t stuff the doll tight enough made the doll’s head similar to a cotton ball except not as tight. She made a tiny little hat even too small for the pinhead. Not to worry, she stuffed the loose cotton ball head into the miniature hat. Even so, the hat continuously popped off. Creatively, she took part of the blanket, which she cut 4 times too big for the baby, and wrapped it around the baby’s head. It looked like an underfed dark skinned infant that Christian Ministries beg to send 80 cents a day to. She couldn’t wait to get home to make a cradle.

One of the boys, destined to become a designer, probably bored with waiting for me to cut the thread of the other 19 kids, began poking his doll body with his needle. I was sure he planned to make a voodoo look-alike for another student who needed much of my time. He did not make the voodoo doll. His was a sweet girl baby, probably the best of the bunch.

I forgot that kids don’t know to keep the thread taut in order to cut it easily. When the small motor skills are not fully developed and when one has a strange sharp instrument in hand, it is nearly impossible to cut a piece of thread. Especially when bunches of kids are playacting 10 feet from large pointy scissors and spiky threaded needles.

Some parents hurried their offspring from the table especially the boy doll makers. I imagine it is difficult being a macho Hispanic Dad watching your h’ijo put the finishing touches on a pink baby girl doll.

All in all, when the kids finally wrapped their baby bundles in bunting and stitched the cap in place, each held their baby doll lovingly in their arms and cooed as only a parent can. Except for the some of the boys who tenderly shoved their creations in their pocket.

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