'Little Baby,' big problem
Enjoy an entertaining story of how separation anxiety was eased by a man in Brown.
By Jerry Ross, a UPS healthcare communications manager on 3/25/2013
Her name is Little Baby, and she's one of the least attractive child's dolls ever seen. Her hairless head is too big, her skin is too pink and one eye spends more time closed than open, giving her the appearance of perpetual paranoia. But despite imperfections, she means the entire world to our Kate.
Little Baby originally was one of a pair of nearly identical (but identically unattractive) doll sisters gifted to Kate when she was 2 or 3 years old by a relative with a twisted sense of humor. One doll was large, one small. All these years later, we don't recall what happened to Big Baby, but we believe she was quietly "recycled."
Somehow Little Baby became Kate's most comforting toy. The little girl and her plastic pal were for a time inseparable and, at bedtime, still remain so. Inquiries into the nature of the relationship inevitably produce much the same response: "Well, I know that she's really just a doll, but she's just like a real person to me."
If Kate takes a trip, so too does Little Baby. What's more, this pair is well-traveled. A journey across the Atlantic to see family is more or less an annual event, and Daddy's biggest fear is that, amid the tumult of traveling, Little Baby might remain on a plane, and end up forever abandoned deep in a European landfill.
Over the years, which incidentally have not been kind to Little Baby, "If lost" contact information has been Sharpied on her body. She also has had a hole drilled through her upper arm through which, when traveling, a stout nylon cord passes. It's connected to a parent's belt loop, so that when the family leaves an aircraft, so too will Little Baby. We hope she's loss-proof.
Of course, much the same thing was assumed about the Titanic, so that's not to say that separation could never happen. And it finally did. When Kate arrived at her grandmother's house for a weekend stay, it was discovered that Little Baby had somehow remained at home, several hundred miles away, reclining on Kate's bed with her fearsome head resting comfortably on the pillow – with one eye open, of course.
There were no tears as the challenge was discussed by phone, but they probably weren't far away.
"But how will I be able to sleep without Little Baby?"
"Well, Nana has a dog, Kate … what about that?"
"But a dog's not a person; it doesn't even look like a person."
"I think a dog looks more like a real person than Little Baby does."
"Can I come home please?"
Now that was a problem. Mommy and Daddy had been focused all week on a child-free Saturday night involving Beef Wellington, Bordeaux and plenty of bonhomie at Café Alsace, including a taxi ride home.
"We'll have Little Baby with you tomorrow morning, OK? Just hang in there."
"Are you bringing her here?"
"She'll be there, don't worry."
Time: Fifteen minutes later.
Location: The UPS Store® located conveniently opposite our local pub.
Purchases: Little Baby-sized box, UPS Next Day Air® with Saturday Delivery.
Event: Little Baby shipped.
Time: Fifteen minutes later.
Location: Our local pub located conveniently opposite The UPS Store.
Purchases: Two adult beverages.
Event: Phone rings.
"Daddy, how exactly is Little Baby going to get here tomorrow?"
"The UPS driver is going to bring her."
"WHAT? You gave Little Baby to the UPS man? Did you tell him to clip her to his belt loop?"
"Is she going on an airplane?"
"Whose belt loop will she be on in the plane?"
"The First Officer's."
"Where does he sit?"
"The pointy end."
"Will the UPS driver have her clipped to his belt loop, too?"
"Well, only until he's right around the corner, and then he'll have to package her up again. That's the rules."
The next day, several hundred miles away, I was told that an unwitting UPS driver rolled up to Nana's home mid-morning, and a 6-year-old ran to meet him, closely followed by the homeowner.
"LITTLE BABY'S HEEEEEERE!" Kate squealed.
"So I guess you're Kate Ross?" asked the driver.
"Yes! Did you keep Little Baby on your belt loop like Daddy said you would?"
The driver, nonplussed, looked at Nana, who had stationed herself behind the recipient of the package.
"Yes," mouthed Nana silently to the driver, nodding her head. "Say yes!" she mouthed. He did. And as Kate ran into the house to unwrap Little Baby, Nana told the UPS driver, "It's a long story; I'll explain next time."
That evening, one kid slept tight, two parents enjoyed their night and one UPS driver probably wondered exactly what he'd done right.