Unfortunate Christmas incidents – the doggy v dolly ‘face-off’

Let’s go back to 1971 momentarily.

I am an average 4 year old British girl, lover of all things pink, dolly-fashion-guru, and slightly shy, but since today is Christmas I am the happiest girl in the world.
My main Christmas ‘box’ is a corker – Barbara the doll, all magnificent with her silver hair and blue dress, and boy do I LOVE her. High-Five Santa (in truth we didn’t have High-Fives in the UK in 1971. Heck, we didn’t even have McDonalds).

Fast forward a few days. We have returned home from school to find my mother acting in a very suspicious manner. She looks nervy and is wringing her hands. Instinctively I know that I am to be the recipient of some awful news. Someone has surely died. Please let it not be Folly, the pet dog. No, here she is, looking awfully pleased with herself and in perfect health.

ME: Has someone died Mummy?
MUM: Ummmm, nnooo. But in a way, yes.
ME: Who is it?
MUM: I’m very sorry darling, but it’s Barbara.
ME (already gasping for air): W-w-w-what happened to her?
MUM: Follyateherfaceoff

She said it very quickly just like that, all one word, as if she were removing a sticking plaster and trying to do it quickly so that it would hurt less.

The trauma of this moment has remained with me for 40 years. I had not realised this until I began writing, and I am now finding great solace in recalling the moment for you as a kind of crowd therapy.

My initial instinct to pray that Folly had not been the one who had died quickly did a swift about-turn, but thankfully our ill-feelings were eventually set aside when Sonia came into my life. She was a buxom auburn-haired replacement for Barbara, who was entirely done-for. There is not a plastic surgeon in Hollywood who could have sorted that face out.

Parenting is a journey full of testing moments. Childhood is a journey that can teach you how to be a good parent. I wonder what things our children will remember when we have made the transition from one to the other?

I’d love to hear about your ‘Unfortunate Incidents’ (Christmas or otherwise). Please share them here in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Oh, and keep a weather eye on the family mutt this Christmas…….

11 responses to “Unfortunate Christmas incidents – the doggy v dolly ‘face-off’

  1. Though I didn’t get a dog until I was 13 so I never experienced this same trauma I often came home to an angry mother. He ate everything. Except dog food. His favorites were the glue on very old books and chewing on our old wooden windowsills. Once he even tried mouse poison.

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  3. I had a similar incident when I was about 7, only it was my little sister, not the dog, who was the cause of my pain. For my birthday, I had received a very nice doll, my first with “real hair”. It was a beautiful auburn wig, long & full & beautiful. I spent many hours brushing & styling her hair, I loved her & her hair dearly. One day, I came home to find my beautiful friend BALD! I went screaming to Mom asking what happened. She said my 3-yr-old sister had pulled her hair off. I was furious & ready to pull my sister;s hair off, but Mom turned it back on me, saying it was my fault because I had left her where my sister could get her. There was really no place I could put things to keep them safe as there were 7 of us living in a tiny 2-bedroom house, all 5 of us kids in one bedroom. We all shared one tiny closet & one dresser, so nothing was private, but it was still my fault according to my mom! That made it even worse! I tormented my sister for years after that, every chance I got, to get back at her. My dad did save the day for me when he got home from work. He glued the wig back on, but it was never the same & I was afraid to brush it much for fear it would come off again. Now that we’re both in our 60s, we’re very close & I haven’t reminder her of this for many years! Got to go call my sis!

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