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"Mommy, I'm hungry!"
The baby is holding her mouth agape, looking at us with big, pleading eyes. We spoon in some banana purée, which dribbles down her chin and onto her bib. It seems to be pooling in her tiny mouth and I wonder if she's going to actually swallow any. We give her some water from the tiny plastic bottle, then spoon in some more food, which glugs its way down her throat. When the bananas are done, I wipe the spills off the floor and wash the non-dishwasher-friendly bowl and spoon, clean off the bib, and wipe the baby's sticky face with a wet cloth. I notice that we're almost out of baby food, and consider that we should try making our own, but I'm terrified by the mysterious and ominous warning on the Web site to "NEVER feed your Baby Alive doll real food."
A few minutes later, there's a diaper blow-out all over the couch: "Uh oh! I made a stinky!" We take off the diaper and chuck it in the diaper bin, wipe the baby's bottom, and get yet another clean, dry diaper. I blot the couch with a towel. It occurs to me that I should add newborn diapers to our shopping list.
But, after the third diaper of the day, I start to wonder if Baby Alive is actually some sort of conspiracy against new parents? Like we just don't have enough diapers to buy? As if our grocery budget really needed a special allocation for puréed peas? I imagine a hidden camera lodged somewhere behind those doey eyesÂ a group of executives sitting around a table at Hasbro laughing all the way to the bank as I contemplate shelling out more dough to feed and diaper a doll.
But, Baby Alive is all that Julia wanted for Christmas. She had carefully composed a letter to Santa, her pen poised over a piece of red construction paper asking:
"What letter comes next, mama?"
"Umm...how does B go again, mama?"
A painstaking half-hour later, we mailed a semi-legible "Dear Santa, please bring me a Baby Alive. Love, Julia" to the North Pole. And lo and behold, she arrived amid shrieks of joy on Christmas morning.
Ever since, she has been the gift that keeps on giving.
Baby Alive's batteries ran out of steam today. And I can't say that I wasn't relieved. Still, I found myself unscrewing her back and popping in four more double A's, because somehow, watching Julia cradle the baby in her arms, gently cooing: "I'll take care of you," then looking up at me and proudly asking: "Mama, can you believe that I'm a mother now?!", is reminding me to try a little harder to see every feeding, and every diaper change, and every cry for what it really is: a gift.
Join FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.
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