They're "ACTION FIGURES," the champ chided emphatically. "NOT DOLLS!"
He was correcting me. I had used the offensive four-letter word after stepping on one of his smaller “action figures,” and, hopping around the living room floor, used the name in vain while openly wishing the dog would chew them all to plastic bits.
While he had no trouble ignoring the latter part of the rant, “Doll,” however, could not stand.
"Then pick up your ACTION FIGURES and put them away before someone (and I meant the someone who works the stove and reads books at bedtime) gets maimed."
He just harrumphed and headed toward his toys with sloth-like speed.
Not that I would call it a “boy thing.”
Honestly, I don't see that much difference between the way the boy plays and the way the girl does. They both sing songs as they move toys around in their imaginary worlds. They both shriek and act like their fingernails are being ripped out one-by-one whenever the other touches their stuff.
It's normal … ish.
The key difference seems to be in terminology.
In Boyland, dolls, as we've already learned, are "action figures."
Doll houses are "secret lairs."
Doll clothes are disguises.
His dudes surf, they rescue damsels in moderate distress, and, at times, are known to be the villains, dangling the damsels (once gallantly rescued) over precarious places … like the dog's water bowl or the downstairs loo.
But that's another story. One that involves Battles Royale with a sister.
You know, the usual.
Word wars not withstanding, it didn't really seem out of the ordinary when The Champ asked me to make him an “action figure” like the “rag doll” I made for his sister.
Only his doll had to be a boy doll.
With boy doll parts.
He beamed up at me as I stood there blinking.
"That means he wants his doll to have a penis," Ittybit translated.
I knew that. I was just stunned into silence.
What can of worms would this open? I can just imagine the look on his grandmother's face.
What would we call it?
Of course, Ittybit was laughing at me. Over-thinking as usual.
"It's not that difficult," she said as she brushed past me and sat at the sewing machine. She took a scrap of fabric, folded it twice and ran it under the presser foot like a professional. A few passes of the machine and she was done.
She turned her handiwork inside out and presented it to me.
I had to admit, it looked like … well … a private part.
She showed it to her brother, who was delighted.
"Are you going to put it on my doll," he asked, unable to contain his excitement. “Can you do it now? “I'm going to name him CHRIS!”
"Not before I have clothes ready. Chris has to be appropriately dressed in public places. Just like you can't go to school nude, he can't take off his clothes unless he's taking a bath or getting ready for bed.”
"Okay, okay, okay … How long is that going to take?"
"Have patience. This is delicate work. I don't want to rush it and make a mistake."
"Please hurry! Chris REALLY needs to go to the baffroom, and I don't want him to have an accident."
Turns out, making a doll anatomically correct is a simple operation. Just a few stitches.
A more difficult task is convincing the Champ that boxers are better than briefs … at least they are easier to sew.
And most difficult of all? The look on grandma's face when The Champ introduced Chris at the family reunion and gave her a sneak peek.
But that's another story.