What a Doll

by Greg on December 29, 2011

For those without properly printed calendars, yesterday was my birthday. The one day out of the year when I’m allowed to unapologetically hibernate on the couch and ask my family to wait on me hand and foot. Seeing how I do this apologetically the other 364 days of the year, by the time December 28th rolls around, I’m kinda bored with the routine.

So, just as we do every year, we made the day more about our kids and headed out to the Children’s Museum of Play. It seemed like a great idea at the time, considering our kids are on winter break, but the problem with this kind of great idea is that everyone else within a three county radius shares it with you.

After an hour-long trek through driving snow we pulled into the lot and spun our way around acres of pavement. Row by row we searched for a place to park, constantly thwarted by the false hope only Smart Cars and Civics can provide. By the time we found an open space, one of only three left in the entire Rochester Metro area, the museum was barely distinguishable through the haze of the horizon. I waited, hoping the museum would send out a dogsled team or perhaps a Sherpa, but none came. Left to fight the snowfall, bitter wind, and slushy mush ourselves, we pioneered our way to the entrance and gained a whole new appreciation for New World explorers.

Inside, the kids lost their minds. There was so much to do, so many exhibits, but far too many children. Even the boring exhibits that usually go months without human contact were being mobbed by feral children enjoying a day out of their cages. As Kamryn would wait patiently for her turn to play with something, the child in front of her would be busy coughing and sneezing and hacking on every square inch of surface while touching everything with snot-laden fingers.

It would have been a more enjoyable visit had there just been a few thousand less children running amok, but we tried to make the most of it because the kids seemed to be enjoying a rousing game of “Who can harvest the most bacteria the fastest.”

Being annual members, we’ll definitely be back to the museum, we’ll just make sure it isn’t during holiday break. I’ve never used so much hand sanitizer in my life.

I was half tempted to eat it.

Even amongst the chaos, we did manage to have a blast touring one particular exhibit. Dolls. You’d think I’d be bored out of my mind browsing glass cases containing hundreds of antique dolls but I found them fascinating. Not the normal ones that looked as you might expect a doll to look, but rather the freakish variations that people actually handed to their children in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s without any consideration for the impending insomnia and therapy such a gift could bring.

I think our 3-year old daughter summed it up best when she said, “Dad, come here. This doll is freaking me out.”

Sadly, this is me if my stomach ever sprouts breasts.

And you thought mullets were bad.

The most arrogant doll on the planet.

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

Crossdresser Barbie

You can just feel the tension
between these two.


Mothership Maggie

The world's first Pillow Pet

No idea what she's summoning, but it can't be good.

The happy family.

As we perused these showcases, I couldn’t help but wonder how dolls maintained popularity throughout the years if this is what they looked like. I know that if I was handed one of these dolls, I’d never want another. I’d probably have buried it in the backyard and laid awake hoping that it stayed there.

What about you? Would you be stoked if someone handed you one of these things? Or would you impale it with a metal stake just to be safe?



Tina Sutherland December 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I don’t think it’s just a thing of the past. Have you ever noticed Barbie dolls at the thrift store? They all have their hair cut off weirdly, and often have black marker ‘tattoos’. I think kids take one look at a new Barbie doll and just know she must be mutilated, brought down.
These old creepy dolls just had the common touch. They belonged to creepy children and so were left alone, to be found in good shape in a museum someday.

WilyGuy December 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Them’s some freaky dolls that been behind the glass way too long. I’m reminded of the Prospector doll in Toy Story II. Well, that and Chucky. I’m so glad I wasn’t a girl, I mean playing with Barbie all day. Today there’s American Girl dolls, which are like the elegant Cabbage Patch kids. My daughter’s namesake is retired (and yet she’s just a small girl… I know, life isn’t fair) so to get her would be like $150 and up. No thanks. I’ll stick with GI Joe and his kung fu grip. Yes, cut off the hair and the fake boobs, subtract purses and add guns… they’re all still dolls.


Lesley December 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Oh…but you should get her. The American Girl that is for your daughter. I’m 28 and still have the two that my mom and family got me. They mean a lot to me even now.

Telling Dad December 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Kamryn got an American Girl doll for Christmas. She begged for one for months. It’s been played with for three minutes since. She’s got princess in her between her dancing, singing, and love for pink, but she also has two older brothers who have taught her the thrill of ruff ‘n tumble play.

Nicole December 31, 2011 at 2:29 am

Ohhhh! Which American Girl did she get, Greg? My 10-year-old loves her dolls. She has my old Molly doll- an original from the first year. She got a “Just Like Me” last Christmas and the Girl of the Year, Kanani, this year. We had to have her since she’s from Hawai’i.

Amanda December 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Completely creepy. If I owned any of those dolls, I’d lay awake at night wondering if it was going to kill me and my family. Clowns, dolls, and sock monkeys – all creepy.

Lesley December 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm

So I was in Italy for 2 weeks cooking…long story short we were put into this apartment with MANY scary dolls. I refused to sleep in one of the three rooms due to the freaky dolls, I got the one with three beds *which of course I used up all three beds. Who wouldn’t* But yeah. Scary dolls are scary!!!

Emily S. December 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Those dolls look like the kinds of puppets from a horror movie that wait until everyone is asleep and then attack. I would be freaked out if someone gave me one of those, and probably a little pissed off!

Telling Dad December 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Imagine what would happen if they were ever in Night at the Museum 3.

Ali December 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I shouldn’t have read this before bed. When your daughter said “this doll is freaking me out” was she gesturing to all of them?

Telling Dad December 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

She was gesturing to the Telling Dad Doll in the first photo. After she saw me take a picture of it, she cruised the aisles pointing out others that were either creepy or silly. She was pretty much my spotter for this entire post.

Ali December 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I was saying “was she gesturing to all of them” meaning every doll in there was probably frightening… and I think my humor was lost. If it ever existed. Sorry, my 6 month olds’ insomnia is getting to me.

Telling Dad December 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Oh, no, I got it. 🙂 Don’t you hate the lack of inflection in text?

Ali December 29, 2011 at 10:56 pm

After I submitted that I was thinking you know, he probably did get it, but it’s too late now. I think I just need to stop. Text or not, after 31 years, my parents still don’t get my sarcasm, so maybe it’s just me.

Carrie December 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Great, dude. Thanks.

There goes that sleep I was so in love with tonight.

Telling Dad December 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Just snuggle up to a doll for comfort.

Karen December 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I have to comment on the beginning of the post….the part where every child in the tri-state area was in that museum. One of my biggest pet peeves ever? Too many people in the world!!! When I want to do something, they should just stay home!! Here’s my rant: http://nowdontgetmestarted.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-does-there-have-to-be-so-many.html

mark @ yelling near you December 29, 2011 at 11:55 pm

My mother is a doll collector and has well over 1000. Growing up around the often freakish creations has left me completey desensitized to your amazing finds. It should go without saying it has messed me up beyond anything therapy can fix.

Christine December 30, 2011 at 6:38 am

Creepy creepy creepy! And just as I write this our dog Bailey runs into the kitchen chewing on a doll head–EEEK!

We’ve long given up on going to the children’s museum. Between the bacteria-fest and constantly losing my kids in the crowd, it’s just not fun. Now we go to the science museum, which is never crowded because everyone else is at the children’s museum. No creepy dolls there, just giant dinosaurs.

Oh, and I hope you had a great birthday!

Karen December 30, 2011 at 7:21 am

Guess everyone forgot the most important part of the post: Happy Birthday!!

Tonja December 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

Nope! I wished him happy birthday on facebook…lol

Joanna December 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

All that seems to be missing from these freaky “dolls” is the crazy woman with the voodoo needles at the ready…oh wait, I’m right here. Never mind. 😛

Tonja December 30, 2011 at 8:02 am

Dolls are much like clowns…they can be scary and creepy and you found the motherload. We vacationed with another couple and their kids one year in Nags Head and the house across the street had a doll in the window. I swear, every day that doll moved to a new location and it was totally creepy. My girlfriend was completely freaked out by it and every time it moved, we’d whisper Annnniiiiieeeee….to this day that was one lasting memory of that trip.

Kerri December 30, 2011 at 8:16 am

The one doll that survived from my childhood (which was really NOT all that long ago) looks a bit like your freakish examples above. My mom sent her to the “doll hospital” for reconditioning as a birthday surprise for me a few years ago. I was much more of a Matchbox Car/Little Green Army Men kind of kid than a girly doll player, so my Suzy (yes, she has a name) was a disaster. She still freaks people out.

I hope you were treated to a delicious birthday cake to compensate for the chaotic germ-filled day. Happy birthday! 🙂

Stacie December 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

First of all, Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂
Second, thanks for sharing and you are so right! I can’t imagine giving or receiving a doll like that at any age! I loved your comments on them – they were great! Beetlejuice took the cake!
Third, my friend Tonja told me about your blog and you can believe I’ll be following it everyday!
Thanks for the smiles!

Deirdre December 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

For starters happy belated birthday.
My favorite line of the entire post … “Inside, the kids lost their minds.”
And that was BEFORE they saw the creepy dolls!

Lynne December 30, 2011 at 10:22 am

“The most arrogant doll on the planet” reminds me of Phil Hartmann’s Charlton Heston impersonation”

Bubbe December 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Happy birthday Greg!

Wendy December 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Apparently you and The Bloggess share a birthday! I found your blog through her blog and you both make me embarrass myself at work because I’m laughing so hard. Happy belated birthday! And thanks for the creepy doll photos, I’m pretty sure my granny has an old Barbie with a similar facial expression to those in the happy family.

RobMonroe December 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Those are all so completely disturbing. I particularly noted the number of mustaches in the clearly hetero family… Hmm.

Patti December 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Creepy, yes. But I can top that. My husband recently decided that ventriloquism was his new hobby. I now live with creepy on a daily basis.
Happy Birthday from me and all the little creepy people at my house:)

Miss Annie V. December 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm

SWEET MOTHER OF GOD! IT’S LIKE A DAMN TRAIN WRECK!!!! I CAN’T LOOK AWAY!!!! They’re all hideous and fabulous all at once! I’d have downed two or three bottles of hand sanitizer after viewing the first doll…. Normally, I’d reach for a melon baller first, but I’m guessing they don’t have those readily available in these sorts of museums *shivers*…. So… um… yes, thanks for that – but I suppose you earned a certain amount of payback for having to endure this in the flesh! *starting to sob now as I can’t stop scrolling back up* Ah yes, and Belated Happy Birthday, Sir! 🙂

TommyO December 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Wow! I have internal conversations weighing the merit of such parental shenanigans, but actually gifting dolls like that. Gosh Darn, I wish I knew about stuff like this years ago, I could’ve really passived the aggression to the ex-wives, yes quite devious. Gives me ideas

Karen C December 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I once knew a hobby doll maker/collector.
That’s OK, you say.
But whenever a handmade doll was completed she would refer to it as a ‘birth’. As in “I had another birth today.”
Now THAT is creepy!!!
Karen C

Karen C December 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

And like all others who are forced to celebrate birthdays over the Dec/Jan period, the most important thing was overlooked.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GREG and thanks for all the laughs. Give yourself a birthday ride in Perry.
(I had a plan that if any of my children were born over this period I was going to tell them their birthdays were in June/July until they were old enough to understand what a great idea it was and how it worked in their favour.
Reality? They actually were born in June/July!)
Karen C

Jess December 30, 2011 at 8:53 pm

My daughter’s birthday is on the 6th. We call her “Our unfortunately close to Christmas baby.” It’s her fault, she was six weeks early!

Beth December 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm

My mother had creepy dolls like that. And to show me how much she loved me she put them on a shelf in my closet, where I could see but not touch them. At night when I’d creak open my closet door, their beady eyes would glint down at me in the most sinister, that’s-right-we’re-watching-you kinda way. It still bothers me to have a door just barely open at night… I just imagine seeing little pairs of sparkling eyeballs in the darkness beyond. Fortunately, it’s usually just the dog.

Caroline December 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Happy belated birthday! I think I prefer pillow-pets with animal faces! Creepy!! 😀

Nicole December 31, 2011 at 2:30 am

Happy birthday, Greg! I’m glad you saw creepy dolls for your birthday. Or not.

Mrs MacKenzie December 31, 2011 at 2:42 am

First of all, its been a while since I’ve visited and I’m so glad I did tonight. You had me cracking up! And that was before I saw the dolls! I especially love the line about the false hope you get from Smart Cars!

Thank you for posting these pictures of the dolls. Not only was this post hilarious, but it was also educational. I’ve never seen old dolls before and it makes me truly grateful to live in the age of Baby Alive.

Wombat Central December 31, 2011 at 7:17 am

I made the mistake of joining the crowds there over a school break once. Never again. Not only could we not get near anything (except those damn dolls) I wanted to dip myself in a Purell Baptismal pool when we finally pried ourselves free.

You totally need to buy this as a late birthday gift for yourself. I found it staring at me from a bookshelf when Borders liquidated:


You’re welcome.

Melinda December 31, 2011 at 10:06 am

Happy Belated Birthday!! The fabulouusss doll would agree that being fashionably late is all tithe rage this year…or 100 years ago.

They are so creepy. Your captions as always are hysterical!! Happy New Year!

Melinda January 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, not because you paid me to, but because you are just too darn hysterical! I think I had a doll related nightmare last night…I may need counseling.

meg December 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hoping you had a wonderful birthday Greg, and wishing you and yours a Happy New Year.

JoAnne December 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm

when we were really young, my dad bought my brother and me some authentic marionettes. they completely freaked us out, so we kept them in the closet. We would refuse to go to sleep if the closet door was even slightly ajar. I hated those damn things. 🙂

danielle December 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Happy belated birthday! My first time here but you are hilarious. I am the odd ball, I love creepy things and so do my kids. I would love to see these dolls. Great post, off to read some more.

Kari December 31, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Hey, you and I have the same birthday; we’re practically twins! Except for the bit about not having the same parents. And possibly not being born the same year.

With my birthday being so close to Christmas, I never really expect much fanfare. I never had birthday parties as a kid because who’s going to send their kid to a birthday party over winter break? The one year I went out to party on my birthday (age 21 of course), I ended up blacking out for 30 minutes, vomiting on a friend, and was hungover for 2 days. [The one and only time I have consumed alcohol].

This year my family took me out to lunch, and that night my husband went to a basketball game with my dad while I stayed home, had tiramisu for dinner, and played karaoke revolution on my Wii, then went to bed early. It was excellent; a million times better than my 21st.

Henrietta January 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm

My whole family just had an awesome laugh fest over your post – these dolls sure are freaky man! Happy belated Birthday!

Alison January 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I’m with your 3 year old. That would freak me out too! Ahhh.

Happy Belated Birthday!

Mom January 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I’m not certain which is worse…dolls from hell or head lice from trying on hats and clothes at the kiddy museum in Binghamton. I pick the dolls. Atleast it provides a lot of laughter as opposed to washing everything, and I do mean everything, in the house. If I remember correctly, Heather had quite a time with the buggers. Greg, you had me in stitches. Happy birthday, Son. You were sooooo the best Christmas present ever!

Love to all,

MommyK January 2, 2012 at 12:46 am

Happy Late Birthday!!!
I remember when i was a little girl [about 7] our old neighbor gave us a doll like the second to last one, but it was about 2 feet tall. i hated that thing and would hide it when ever i could. My favorite spots were the dryer, oven, and fridge. my mom was even given the creeps and we ended up giving it to goodwill.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All January 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I would not have been stoked to receive any of those dolls, not now and now even back when I was young and liked dolls.
And the one that freaked her out? It looks like it could be the doll that inspired the tortured doll from Toy Story, don’t you think?
The most arrogant doll on the planet looks like the HR person at my last job. Coincidence that noone liked her? I wonder…

Victoria White January 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

Those dolls are so freaky! They are determined to steal as many souls as possible.

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