A new baby and a new doll
While we were living in the old house on the plot, my Mom gave birth to a new baby sister. The new baby was called Hayley and she was dreadful.
It started badly, with my Dad looking after Catherine and I while my Mom was in hospital. This was not a happy experience, particularly when it came to food. My Dad seized this opportunity to make one of his favourite meals, namely, fried bacon covered in melted cheese. I wouldn’t eat it. This was not how Mom made bacon and I didn’t like the look of the gooey cheese. Naturally, Catherine followed my bad example and wouldn’t eat hers either. Dad was not pleased at all.
When Mom came home with the new baby our home erupted into turmoil. Hayley never stopped crying. It went on and on and on. Poor Mom was completely exhausted as Hayley also wouldn’t sleep. She had her days and nights confused apparently but it didn’t seem to translate in her sleeping much during the day either. Luckily, I had my lovely new First Love doll to console myself with. I had been given this new doll for Christmas just before we moved away from our old house and to the house on the plot. I have no words to describe my happiness on receiving this doll. I was also given a toy bath on a stand to go with the doll. My Mom had made a whole lot of beautiful clothes for me from scrapes of material that she had in her work basket. She had also knitted a lovely little pink ballet cardigan for the doll. I called my new doll Charlotte.
I shadowed my Mom as she cared for baby, Hayley. When Mom bathed Hayley, I bathed Charlotte. I learned to change a baby’s nappy. In those days it was old fashioned towelling nappies that had to be followed to the correct shape and pinned onto the baby with a safety pin. I also learned how to feed and wind a baby. My Dad didn’t cope well with all the crying so he moved out of my parent’s bedroom. I moved in and slept in the big bed with my Mom. Hayley slept in a carrycot next to the bed. Charlotte slept in the big bed with me.
My Mom told us proudly that Hayley was the prettiest baby in the hospital nursery when she was born. Hayley had very big eyes in her tiny little face. She also had a mop of very dark curly hair. This dark hair fell out after a few weeks and Hayley’s hair grew back as fine, blonde wisps, just like the rest of us girls when we were babies. At the same time that her hair fell out, Hayley developed a rash of red spots. This led to the Catherine and me giving her the nickname of Spots and me thinking she was a very plain baby.
One evening, my Mom had fed Hayley and put her to sleep in her carrycot. She had then crawled into bed and dropped off to sleep through sheer exhaustion. Hayley started to move around and moan. I didn’t want her to wake up our poor tired Mom. I picked Hayley up and walked around the room, cuddling her in my arms, singing softly to her. Hayley continued to wriggle and moan softly for a while and then she dropped off back to sleep. I was able to get her safely back into her carrycot without waking her up and my Mom got a bit of much needed rest. I never had such success with getting Hayley to sleep again but I was able to help out in other ways.
Hayley eventually grew out of her colic and endless crying, although I still think of her as Hayley Waily when I reflect on our young days. She became very bonny with her beautiful blue eyes and cloud of curly white hair. I was quite proud of her and she became one of my living dolls in later years.
As for the First Love doll, I did keep her for a few more years until she was eventually given away during one of our subsequent moves. My three younger sisters, Catherine, Hayley and Laura were never as interested in dolls as I was so she was not passed down.
BTW, the baby in the picture was quite a challenge to make. Shaping the arms and legs took ages and so did the head and face which I had to redo. On Saturday morning, the baby was dry and completed so I left her on a plate in the kitchen so that my parents could admire her. My Dad walked in, peered short-sightedly at the baby and said “Why have you made a cave man?”
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series