I was sort of half watching the Today Show this morning while I checked my email and paid bills, when I saw a really…strange interview. Matt Lauer was interviewing women on the show who collect dolls. Not just dolls, baby dolls. Real baby dolls – as in, they look like actual living infants. They’re called “reborn babies” and they’re going to give me NIGHTMARES.

I like dolls in general. I plan to buy them for my (potential) daughter. My own baby dolls were dragged around by their hair, dressed in ridiculous outfits and married to one another on a regular basis. Even the fancy porcelain dolls my grandmother tried to convince me to “collect” were subjected to my beauty school of dull scissors and crayon makeup.

But I am creeped out by dolls people treat as real children. The doll owners had real baby carriers and car seats. One of them admited to talking to her doll like it was a baby. The creator (who charges $1000+ EACH) said she knows women use her dolls to fill the void of not having real children. Some women put in heart-beat simulators and little motors that make the chest rise and fall like it’s breathing. The dolls look amazingly lifelike, which I find scary instead of cute, like those stuffed animals made of real animal fur. A plastic baby doesn’t love you. It doesn’t grow or learn or laugh or speak. On the other hand, it doesn’t eat or poop or cry either, so I can see the advantages.

The thing is, the woman who makes them and the two collectors being interviewed didn’t seem to be unhinged. They were funny and well spoken. One of the women has a 2 year old daughter – an actual child – and she hopes one day they can collect together. Even the woman who admitted to talking to her dolls made it seem just a little quirky rather than crazy. But how do you explain your “baby” to someone on the bus? What a lovely child, what’s her name?  Thanks, it’s Emily. She’s so quiet and well behaved! Is she sleeping? No she’s made of plastic. ……..?????? In a few cases, the police have been called to rescue “infants” from parked cars only to discover the babies were dolls. I think that right there is the line, and I am staying firmly on the normal side.

You can read the article here and see a video of the interview here.

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