When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a present that fueled my nightmares for years. Her name was Puddin’, not to be mistaken for Pudding, which is something I actually enjoy.
To this day, I’m terrified of babies and dolls, so I just want to take this opportunity to thank my mom and grandmother for contributing to this psychological problem
You see, Puddin’ came before the cute and class-act American Girl dolls. These dolls were a different breed, because they included harmless books and a compelling backstory. But being that it was the early 90s, my doll included a horribly mismatched pastel outfit and a dead look in her eyes.
If Felicity was busy conjuring up her desire for independence in colonial Virginia, then my girl Puddin’ was hard at work conjuring up spirits with Ed and Lorraine Warren.
An image of her still burns in my head today. She had thick black hair that was parted down the middle and separated into short pigtails, which was led by curled-under bangs that sat an inch off her forehead. She was meant to look like an actual baby, which scared me even more, because she looked like a grown woman in the face.
On her infant-shaped body, she wore bloomers and a light pink, yellow, and blue-checkered plaid dress, but the plaid was in haphazard places.
A yellow patch here, a blue patch there.
It was chaotic at best.
Her classic baby doll eyes were black and soul-less, while her mouth was fixed in a position that suggested she just got lip fillers from a doctor in Beverly Hills nine seconds ago.
By most people’s standards, she was probably beautiful. I wouldn’t know, because I shat my pants even looking in her general direction. All I can tell you is that I liked her about as much as I like shoveling horse shit.
Which I’ve never done, but I don’t think I’d enjoy it either way.
Pretty much from the day I got her, I created a space in my closet that resembled a maximum security version of solitary confinement. I buried her under a mountain of clothes, where I hoped she would live out the rest of her days in complete isolation from the world.
I was a smart kid, so it was an easy solution. I would just never mention to my grandmother that Puddin’ was busy living amongst mole people.
Everything was cool and I had solved the problem.
Until her sisters arrived from France.
After my parents came back from a European vacation, they decided to gift me with a couple more pint-sized demons, as well as a doll case that I didn’t ask for.
Now, my new unwanted doll collection was to be put on display in the corner of my room at all times. It was like some sick form of torture that they dreamed up as a punishment. My rock collection was way cooler and rocks also don’t have human-like eyes to stare at you all night long.
Bonjour to more nightmares!
Like, was it that hard to pay attention to my actual interests?
The French doll sisters were beautiful, and I know this, because I was forced to look at them before I
stayed up all night went to sleep.
If Puddin’ was a giant adult baby, the sisters were refined Victorian models. One had blonde ringlets, a gorgeous outfit, and a parasol, while the other one had a light brown up-do, a tiny matching hat, and a very expensive circle skirt.
They were around a foot and a half tall and had small porcelain faces, and life-like eyes that promised something devilish behind them. The dolls were hand-painted and probably cost a small fortune, but several questions remained:
- Did my parents know me?
- Had they ever witnessed me playing with a doll?
- In what world were these tiny psychos something that I’d actually be interested in having featured in the corner of my room?
An over-sized t-shirt that said “I Love Paris” would’ve sufficed.
My first night with the sisters involved me keeping my door all the way open so that the hall light would shine brightly enough to help me keep an eye on them. The next night when I went to sleep, I was met with more anguish and anxiety. The brown-haired one that looked like a French Audrey Hepburn was staring directly at me.
Did she just blink?
She just blinked. OH MY GOD.
Did the blonde one’s parasol just move? There’s no way the air conditioning could’ve gotten inside their glass mausoleum.
I was going crazy at this point, because I hadn’t slept in nearly 36 hours. They were too delicate to hide under clothes in my closet, plus my parents would notice them missing when they came to wake me up in the morning.
I devised a plan, that went on for several weeks.
Every night before I went to sleep and my parents were off to bed, I would get up, place the dolls in the hallway, so I wouldn’t have to look at them, shut my door, and bring them back inside in the morning before my parents noticed anything fishy.
It was only after then that I was able to go back to sleep and stop worrying about the evil sisters.
Then one day, my parents noticed the dolls in the hallway.
“What are your dolls doing in the hallway?” my mom asked.
“Well, to be honest with you, they scare me and I hate them,” I stated matter-of-factly.
I don’t really remember how the sisters met their fate, but I don’t think they were around much longer after that.
But Puddin’, didn’t seem like the type of girl who was easily intimidated. She was going out with a bang.
Covered in mouse droppings, she lived the majority of her life like a Balinese prisoner. For approximately 15+ years, she served a particularly grueling sentence due to my immense dislike of her.
When I moved off to college, I pulled a Toy Story 3, and obviously left her behind. Plus, how weird would that have been for me to bring a baby doll to college.
Talk about Daddy issues.
But the story doesn’t end there.
When I was back at home visiting for Christmas break one year, my grandmother asked me if I remembered Puddin’.
Oh, you mean that baby demon you got me? How could I forget?”
“Yeah, of course. It was that doll that was supposed to look like me that you got me for my birthday as a kid,” I hesitantly responded.
What in the world would spark a conversation about a forgotten doll?
“Well, you’ll be happy to know that I saved her! Your dad had her for sale in a yard sale after you left, and I had to keep her. I couldn’t believe he was going to throw her out,” she cheerfully explained.
“You did what!” I panicked.
“I saved her! She’s with me now,” she kept gleefully saying.
This was like a real-life horror movie. Girl tries to get rid of doll that she is scared of, doll is like, “HAHA. LOL. Nice try.” Doll haunts girl for the rest of her life, until she is found dead at the bottom of her stairs with a broken neck.
On top of everything, I had mistreated Puddin’ to the maximum amount possible. I’m seriously surprised that a rat hadn’t partially eaten her face off, since my closet was located next to the attic, where the mice flourished like milk and honey.
So far, Puddin’ has not made her way back into my life, though.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not waiting for the day that she shows up on my doorstep in California, with her blank, expressionless eyes and a murder weapon.