I spent Wednesday night into Thursday at my mother’s house so I could help assemble the Thanksgiving day meal. I wasn’t so much a cook as a cook’s helper; I peeled a shitload of apples and potatoes, washed some counters, cut up some vegetables, stuffed some celery, and did all of the other time consuming grunt work that would have bogged my mum down from making what will inevitably be my death row meal request: her New England style sausage stuffing.
(Does threatening to commit a death row scale crime in jest constitute announcing intent? If so everyone reading this has just become an accessory, SUCKERS. ).
Later that night, after wrestling with the dogs to take a fucking chill pill and sleep despite our strange surroundings, I was really surprised when I shut the guest room light out to see the ceiling start to glow with little plastic stars. I have to admit I had a zen moment staring up at them:
I’d put those stars up when I lived at home, and more than ten years later (going on fifteen, I think?) they’re still there. I told my parents I was glad to see them, and my stepfather said he liked them there, that it was a nostalgia thing having them on the ceiling. His son had them, I think his daughter had them, and I had them. It’s a small reminder of what we were like when we were little people as opposed to the quasi-but-barely-functioning adults we’ve become.
Of course, the nostalgia bit prompted my mom to share a doozy of Hillary story that I figure I’ll blab about for your entertainment. As a miniature, I had a Cabbage Patch doll named Lyle Bailey. I mentioned him before in the Creepy Doll post, though he was not THE creepy doll. He was just your standard, run of the mill Cabbage Patch with a big bald dome and a blue onesie pajama.
Now, keep in mind this was the early 80’s, so Cabbage Patch Kids were the “stand in line for hours and kill your neighbors if they cut in front of you” toy. To get one, you had to know someone in the industry (Child World employees were all the rage in ’82), threaten others with severed horse heads, or trade your prison cigarettes and first born male child. Possibly all of the above. Every kid in the universe wanted a Crappage Patch doll from Santa, and some parents had to take offers they simply couldn’t refuse to provide for their needy spawnlings. My parents were no different.
The good news was, their mafioso level antics of procuring me a Cabbage Patch kid paid off. I loved the damn thing. When Laren wasn’t being dragged around, Lyle Bailey was, and to this day I remember the weird baby powder perfume smell they chemically infused his head with. It was too sweet and slightly plasticky, and I’d sniff him almost like I was huffing paint.
Fast forward a little to a grocery store adventure with mom, me, and Lyle Bailey. I was four, and thus old enough to not have to ride in the carriage if I didn’t want to. How foolish I was, opting out of that awesome little shopping cart seat. I wish they had adult sized ones now. I’d make Dave push me around. AHEM. ANYWAY. So yeah, mom was pushing the carriage and doing the aisle sweeps thing people do when they’re grocery shopping, and I was tottering behind her actually quiet for once. That was when she noticed the people walking the opposite way from her, as in those who could see past her to the small Hillary behind, smiling and laughing.
Slow motion spin, the knots forming in the pit of her stomach, because she just knew I was doing something awful. And oh was I! I’d tugged my shirt down to my navel and had shoved Lyle Bailey up to my four-year-old booblet. My mother’s eyes bugged out and she shriek-asked what I was doing, and in a very loud, very proud voice, I announced to all of Shaws Supermarket that I WAS BREASTFEEDING LYLE BAILEY.
I had an aunt who’d recently had a baby, and I’d seen the breastfeeding bit, and . . . yeah. I think I had the luckiest Cabbage Patch Kid in the world. I took real good care of him, yes I did. The studio audience at Shaws was wildly entertained, and I don’t know if Mom laughed or was utterly mortified, but I was told very firmly that that was not an appropriate thing to do with my doll in public. I don’t really remember how I took that news, but I was sort of a shithead as a kid so I probably Hulked out and screamed or something.
I think Mom still has the Lyle Bailey doll upstairs in the den closet. At least, I think I spied him when I was in a search for a laptop cord sometime last year. I leave him with her, because I’d hate for one of my dogs to accidentally maul a 30 year old doll, and by all accounts, Lyle Bailey went through a lot under my ministrations. He deserves a peaceful, quiet retirement. At least I can confidently say now that I’d never ever breastfeed a Cabbage Patch Kid in public.
At home? Well. I can make no promises. And that’s why Lyle Bailey has to stay away.