You know how sometimes you see someone on the street with a baby, a really cute one that’s behaving well (read: not crying, not smelling like poo) and you think: “I’d have a baby if I knew it would come out like that.” And then later, you run into one of those regular babies that cry and will eventually smell like pee and poo even if they don’t right at that moment, and you think, “Oh, right. That’s why I don’t have a baby.” Yeah. Me too.
I’d never planned on having children. I don’t even have a very good history with dolls. I had a Barbie; I used her as a hammer and hammered whatever I could find until her head imploded.
I softened a little somewhere in my late twenties and bought a Little Miss No Name for an aunt who collected dolls. A completely rational woman by day, she had an irrational but visceral fear of the doll. Feeling sorry for this poor unwanted homeless waif doll—call it a brief attack of estrogen—I took Little Miss No Name home with me.
I washed her face, combed her hair, and made new clothes to replace the rags she came with. I put a dime in the small sad hand she extended and stood her on a shelf facing the door. When I woke up, she’d turned a full ninety degrees, and was staring at my bedroom. A little creepy, considering I lived alone.
Night after night I pointed her towards the apartment door and each morning, she’d turned and was staring into my bedroom. My bathroom ceiling collapsed. I was hit by a car. I was mugged. My apartment was burglarized. I grew afraid. I knew deep in my heart that if I threw her away outside, I’d wake up to her scratching on the door. So, I burned her new clothes, put her back in her rags, and brought her back to the store. I wanted her sent away to a baby doll group home, or wherever bad dolls get sent. A sympathetic sales clerk offered to bury her face down, and sprinkle the ground with salt, which she said, is what you do to contain witches and cursed baby dolls. Life went back to normal. And that ended any thoughts of babies or their stand-ins, baby dolls.
Fast forward. 30. 35. 40. My friends were rushing around having their last-minute babies. And now, at 50-something my biological clock has ticked, and tocked and ticked until it finally ran out of juice. My eggs have dried into tiny hard Grapenuts that shake around in my hard little ovaries, and I sound like the maracas in a mariachi band when I walk down the street. With pregnancy and childbirth no longer an option, it’s safe to wonder if I’m finally ready for a real baby, too.
Private adoptions can run between $5000 and $40,000, and even black-market babies start at $10,000. The hospital costs associated with delivery of a flesh and blood baby are astronomical. I can’t afford to take time off for maternity leave, forget about the cost of a midwife, a doula, a nanny, a babysitter, dance lessons, a therapist for her. Another for me. And then there’s clothes, medical bills and tuition. Child care. Well-baby care. Diapers. Formula. Toys. Shoes. Baby food. More shoes. The right school. Orthodontia. Bail money for her and Valium for me–for when she is a teenager and on the drive over to the police station I realize that despite my best intentions I’ve done everything wrong and raised one more juvenile delinquent. The cost of eventual rehab alone for my teen is going to be at least $5000. I’m too old for all that. Not only don’t I have any viable eggs, or any money, I don’t have that kind of emotional energy.
And let’s face it, if I’d had a kid during my childbearing years I’d’ve been one of those “Oh my God, I left the baby on the bus” kinds of moms. Now, I might be the kind of mom who’d buy Girl Scout cookies from your kid, but I’m certainly not the kind to sell them in my office for mine. I wouldn’t be the kind of mommy who bonds with other mommies over soccer practice, taking turns making team snacks. Me and my maybe-someday kid, we are not peanut-free lactose-free gluten-free kind of people. If your kid can’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, washed down with a glass of cold milk, your kid will go hungry in my house.
And so it seems it’s time to go back to considering adopting a baby doll.
This time there will be no saving of destitute urchins waiting to ambush me. No worries of sweet smelly little babies threatening to grow into raging juvenile delinquency. This time, I’m going in with eyes wide open. I’m getting me a monster baby. A Twilight, Dark Shadows, Zombie Apocalypse, tattooed and pierced baby. I’m going straight for a baby that’s already gone wrong. A newborn from the Twisted Bean Stalk Nursery is well under $1,000—less than I’d spend on diapers. I’m getting me a GenDead baby.
I want a zombie baby that can eat anything. Cooked, raw, or maggoty it won’t matter to her. A little vampire girl with teeth sharp enough to open a can of beer for mommy. One who sleeps all day, and feeds her own damned self at night. An undead baby girl means I can sleep through the night and never worry about her turning over and smothering herself, getting attacked by strangers (unless they’re carrying a wooden stake, or garlic), starving herself to death, or being abducted by aliens. I pity the fool who tries to kidnap my zombie girl. Give me a GenDead baby, and I never have to worry about her learning to look both ways when she crosses the street.
I am a little worried about the breast-feeding, but I can live with that.