Monday, August 13, 2012

New Dolls and Insecurities

Things have been pretty calm around here since Tiana left.  We've gotten back into our regular routines:  sitting on the shelves, sticking to Beast'sbelle's room until her daughters are in bed or outside, and trying to entertain ourselves during the long, hot hours of daylight.  I'm really looking forward to next week when the two older girls will be in school and we'll have a little more freedom!

One change that I forgot to mention earlier is that Robby and I no longer have our room.  It took up a lot of space that Beast'sbelle needed for other things, so she asked us if we'd mind giving it up.  We didn't.  I mean, I'll admit, I miss having a nice, comfy bed to sleep on instead of a hard shelf.  But other than that, it's no big loss.  Robby and I felt uncomfortable with the favoritism, even though our friends never held it against us, and we missed the simplicity of all being together.  So now our spot is on the dresser in front of Beast'sbelle's white bookshelf.  Rapunzel and Eugene are there too, but Ben and Isabella are on a different shelf (Beast'sbelle is still determined to get them together!).  

I guess the only other change that's happened really brings me to the point of this post.  Beast'sbelle has picked up a few more dolls this summer, both Belle and Rapunzel dolls.  Some are still in their boxes, and some are loose.  Rapunzel (the best friend) ;) and I have yet to meet them, but even from a distance it's easy to tell they're quite spectacular.

I have to admit, I feel a bit insecure surrounded by so many beautiful, brand-new Belle dolls.  I keep worrying that Beast'sbelle will one day decide that I'm too worn out and that she needs a replacement.  She definitely enjoys her mint condition dolls.  What if I get too "used" to be in her collection anymore?

These troubled thoughts loomed in my mind two nights ago as I headed over to the bookshelf next to Beast'belle's bed.  The bottom shelf serves as a nightstand for Beast'sbelle and a vanity/dressing room for us.  Beast'sbelle has a round, stand-alone mirror that works just right for us if we sit on her alarm clock.  On the end of the shelf is a large framed picture from Beast'sbelle's wedding (which I can't share here so that Beast'sbelle's anonymity remains in tact).  Whenever we want to change our clothes, we stand behind it and use it as a privacy screen.  Isabella and I are usually the only ones to change, though.  Rapunzel doesn't have any spare clothes (and she loves her original dress anyway), and the boys don't have any extra outfits either.  

As I was sitting in front of the mirror, freshening up, I noticed something rather alarming about my hair.  Now, I've never thought of myself as a vain doll, but I suppose we all end up learning things about ourselves that we never knew.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I was very disturbed by my discovery...enough that it almost reduced me to tears.

Later that evening, after I'd changed and taken my place beside Robby, I decided to redo my hair.  It had been in the same style for a couple of weeks, and my bobby pins were beginning to hurt my head.  Robby was watching me, as he usually did.  I'll never understand the fascination he finds in watching my every move. :}

"You're so beautiful," he said suddenly and simply, as if it were an indisputable fact.

I turned and looked at him.  My usual response would have been to laugh it off or say "whatever", or something along that line.  Tonight, I didn't say anything, but I stopped fussing with my hair and looked away again.

"What is it?" he asked with concern.

I shook my head.  I was too embarrassed to answer.  

Then I felt his hand on my arm.  "Belle," his gentle voice prodded, "what's wrong?"

I looked into his beautiful blue eyes for just a moment before I looked away.  I could feel blush creeping across my face.  "It's nothing," I hedged.

He knew me better than that, but he didn't say anything else.  I knew he was still waiting for an explanation, though.  

Finally, I couldn't stand the silence.  "I just wish you wouldn't call me beautiful," I admitted.

He gave me an amused look.  "Why not?"

"Because I'm not!" I insisted.  "I'm just me, and there are so many dolls in this room who are more beautiful than I makes me feel silly to have you hold me up as this ideal of perfection.  Being beautiful is a trivial accomplishment anyway."

Robby chuckled.  "I don't love you because you're beautiful, Belle.  I see it as an added bonus.  Besides, to me you are the most beautiful doll in the room."

"Even with this?" I said heatedly.  I lifted up my hair on one side so he could get a good view:

"Um...what do you mean?" he asked in confusion.

I turned and stared at him in disbelief.  "You didn't see it?  I have almost an entire row of missing hair plugs!!  I'm missing a few on the other side, too."

He had nothing to say, but his mouth was twitching suspiciously, as if he was trying to keep from laughing.  

"It's not funny," I gritted.

The twitching stopped and he attempted to put on a sympathetic face.  "It's just a little missing hair, Honey.  I wouldn't have even noticed if you hadn't told me."

"It's not 'just a little missing hair', Robby!" I argued.  "This is how it all starts!  Before you know it, I'll be bald and then where will I be?  I've never seen Beast'sbelle rewig a doll our size.  I don't know if she even knows how!  What if she decides I'm not good enough anymore?  What if she sells me?  What if I never see you again?"  And with that, I burst into tears and flung myself into his arms.

He was quiet and just let me cry for a bit.  It was a wise move on his part.  We'd been through this before.  In fact, when we're not in the middle of a situation like this, he's laughed and called them my "sporadic freak-out moments".  I'm normally a pretty even-keeled doll (at least from my perspective!), but there are some days when something will just hit me a certain way and I either rant or burst into tears.  Once Robby teased that he wished I could figure out when these moments would happen and warn him in advance so that he could be prepared.  At the time, it was kind of hilarious...I was far enough removed from the moment to see the humor.  If he ever tried it in the middle of a meltdown, though, he might not survive.  

"Beast'sbelle isn't going to sell you, Belle.  You're too special to her," he soothed after I'd calmed down a bit.  "And even if she tried," he teased, "I wouldn't let her."

I lifted my tear-stained face from his shoulder, missing the joke.  "You can't promise that," I whimpered.  "We've never been able to have any say in what Beast'sbelle does.  How could you do anything to stop her if she decided she was done with me?"

"Belle, calm down," he said softly, running his hand through my thinning hair.  "I was just trying to make you smile.  Beast'sbelle takes good care of us.  She's not going to sell you just because you don't look like a brand-new doll."

I sniffed and wiped my eyes.  "How can you be sure?"

"Because I know her," he answered confidently.  "You need to give her more credit." 

"And what about you?" I persisted.  "What if I go bald?  Would you still love me?"

He smiled and shook his head.  "What sort of question is that?  Of course I'd still love you!  I didn't marry you for your hair, you know."  Then he grinned.  "Besides, I think you'd look pretty cute bald."

I socked him on the shoulder and he laughed.

"Now come over here and sit by me," he ordered jokingly, turning to take his seat again.

I watched as he carefully eased himself back into a sitting position.  He'd gotten so much better at getting around that I kept forgetting about his hip.  And suddenly, I felt like a shallow dolt.  Here I was, complaining about missing hair and asking if he'd still love me, when I'd agreed to marry him in spite of his crippled leg.  The last thing I wanted to do was make him think that I regretted my decision.  And if I was this worked up about my hair, would he think I had a problem with his leg?  I didn't, but I wasn't sure if he would come to that conclusion as well.

I sat down next to my husband and put my head on his shoulder.  "How's your hip today?" 

He shrugged.  "A bit stiff, but I'll survive."

I smiled.  He hated drawing attention to himself.  His leg would probably fall off before he ever complained about it.  

"I'm sorry about the whole hair thing," I said slowly.

I felt a smile form on his lips next to my head.  "Don't worry about it, Belle."

"It's just..." I began, then stopped.  What was the big deal?  It was just hair.  I still had a lot of it left.  My thoughts slowly gathered.  "I guess I'm more vain than I thought," I finally concluded sadly.  "I mean, by nature, we're expected to find our worth in our 'condition', mint or otherwise.  Humans value us by how we look and what sort of shape we're in."

"Or for sentimental attachment," Robby interjected.

"Maybe," I agreed skeptically, "but our main value as dolls comes from how we look.  When you don't have that's a sad, scary thing."  

Robby sat up straight and lifted my chin so that I was looking right into his eyes.  "You're so much more than your appearance, Belle.  You're smart, funny, caring, creative, and that's what makes you even more beautiful than you already are."  He paused.  "I can't promise that Beast'sbelle won't ever get rid of you.  But I can promise to keep the vows we made last May."  He tenderly stroked my cheek with his hand.  "When I said I'd love you in brokenness and mint condition, till landfill and dumpster do us part, I meant it.  Nothing like some silly hair loss is going to change my mind."  He lowered his eyes.  "And it means so much to me that you started out your married life with an already broken doll..."

I put my arms around him.  "Don't say that," I shushed him.  "I don't regret it for one moment."  And of course, I started crying, because that's apparently what I do when anything is remotely emotional! :}  I pulled back and kissed him.  Then I laughed through my tears.  "And besides," I concluded, "how can I regret marrying someone who loves me even when I'm cranky and emotional about my hair?"

He laughed too, and then we kissed again...and about that time, Eugene and Rapunzel came back from their nightly walk and teased us about our PDA (public display of affection, if anyone needs the translation). ;)  

We all settled down comfortably for the evening.  The four of us had decided that since we had so many great books available at our backs, we'd start reading every night.  We'd been working on The Chronicles of Narnia and had just finished "The Magician's Nephew" last week.  Now we were on to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".  Eugene pulled the book off of the shelf, Rapunzel got Emmaline and Abigail all situated next to Pascal, and I snuggled up next to Robby, with my head on his shoulder once again.  Then we all listened to Eugene's strong, dramatic voice as he read aloud, and I reveled in the joy of reading, the enjoyment of friends, and the comfort and security of being loved unconditionally.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goodbye, Tiana!

Okay, famous last words...I didn't get this post done before the weekend.  Sorry!  I guess I shouldn't make promises unless I know for sure that I can keep them. :}

So let's see, where were we?  Oh yes, Tiana and Naveen.  Now that you've had the quick version of the story, it's time to go back and give you all of the juicy details. ;)

Tiana and Computer Naveen exchanged emails for weeks.  The more they chatted, the more Tiana was convinced that he was the Naveen she'd been waiting for.  They even emailed each other pictures.  Here's the one that Naveen sent:

It was hard to tell from the pic if he had the same lopsided face mold that Tiana remembered, but she was still sure that it had to be him.  

"No one else but my Naveen would know what this Naveen knows.  It's gotta be him," she insisted over and over again.

I was happy for this, but I was still concerned about the fact that Beast'sbelle had ordered a Naveen from the Disney Store.  So at my first opportunity, I asked her about it.  

It turns out that Beast'sbelle's Naveen was sent back to the store.  After Beast'sbelle heard Tiana's story, she was determined to reunite her with the right Naveen (I knew she would...Beast'sbelle is a hopeless romantic!). ;)  So when the Naveen she ordered came, she quizzed him and realized he was not Tiana's Naveen.  She apologized but told him that she'd have to send him back.  To her surprise, he was actually relieved.  It turns out he had his own special Tiana that he'd been separated from, and while he wasn't looking forward to the long trip back, he was hoping that he'd be able to find her again.  

I was so glad to hear that at least this part of the situation was taken care of.  But I still wondered how we could get them together.  When I asked Beast'sbelle about it, she just smiled mysteriously and said, "I have an idea."  But she wouldn't say any more about it.

About a week later, Beast'sbelle pulled Rapunzel and I aside.  "Naveen is going to be here this afternoon," she announced.  She didn't get any farther.  Rapunzel and I instantly attacked her with all sorts of questions.  "Later," she promised.  "Right now, I need your help.  You need to make sure that no one is in front of the white bookshelf at 1 PM...but Tiana needs to be there, of course.  I want their reunion to be something special.  Tell Tiana she needs to stay there because we have a surprise for her."  

Rapunzel and I assured her that we'd spread the word.  My mind was spinning with all kinds of unanswered questions.  How had Beast'sbelle pulled it off?  Would Tiana guess?  Were we sure he was really the right guy? What would happen next?

Trying to shove all of these thoughts aside, I focused on telling all of the dolls to steer clear of the white book shelf at 1 PM.  Tiana was a little confused by our request, but played along.  She's pretty easy-going.  

At 1 PM precisely, Tiana was waiting alone by the white book shelf.  Well...almost alone.  Rapunzel and I couldn't resist peeking around Emma and Charlie's wardrobe to see what happened.  ;)

The door opened, and Beast'sbelle came in, grinning from ear to ear and hiding something behind her back.  I recognized that look.  It was the same smile she'd worn when she'd brought Robby in to meet me on that day so long ago.  There was nothing she loved better than pairing her dolls up.  At least in this case, Tiana would (hopefully) be happy with the result. :}

Beast'sbelle brought her hands out from behind her back, and there he was.  She gently set Naveen down on the dresser in front of the white book shelf, winked at Tiana, gave Rapunzel and I a teasing stern look, and left the room.

Naveen and Tiana just stood there for a moment, staring at each other.  Naveen seemed nervous, but he had a big smile on his face.  I couldn't see Tiana's face, but I'm sure she was in shock.

Then he started talking.  "Tiana, I..."

That was all it took.

"It's you!" she whispered, her voice choked with tears.  Without another word, she ran over to him and they embraced, holding onto each other as if they'd never let go.

Rapunzel and I were wiping our eyes and sniffling together from our hiding spot.  It was just like watching a movie, but it was even better because it was our friend who was in the middle of it. 

As they pulled away from each other, Rapunzel and I slipped away, deciding to give them some privacy.  Well, as much privacy as you can have in a room filled with dolls, that is. ;)

They talked for a long time.  After a while, they left the room, most likely to take a walk somewhere.  Rapunzel, Isabella and I were dying to know details, but we knew we'd have to wait until we caught Tiana alone, which would be no easy task. 

Our chance finally came later that evening, when Naveen was visiting with Robby, Eugene, and Ben.  We all cornered Tiana and begged her to share as much as she was willing to.  

"It was just wonderful, the whole day..." Tiana began dreamily, her soft Southern drawl caressing each word.  "We talked about everything that happened to us since we've been apart, shared our dreams, told each other how much we'd missed each other.  I don't's hard to describe everything in detail."

"So the big question is...will he be living here with us now?" Isabella questioned, her lovely French accent even thicker than usual in her excitement.

Tiana's face fell.  "  That's the only drawback."

We all gasped.  "Why ever not?" Isabella asked, almost indignantly.

"He was purchased by a little girl who loves him dearly," Tiana explained patiently.  "He told me it would break her heart if he left her home."

"But what about your heart?" Rapunzel asked gently.

Tiana looked down at her hands.  "Well," she said again.  I could tell she was hesitant to share this next bit of information.  "that's the other part you're not going to like so much.  He's..." she paused.  "He's invited me to go to his human's house with him."

We were all very quiet at this news.  Tiana seemed to mistake it for anger. 

"I know it's sudden, and I hate to leave all of you, but after today I realized that I don't want to be without Naveen.  He said he wants to marry me and live together for the rest of our lives."

"He wants to marry you?" I asked happily.  "You didn't share that part of your day with us."  

Tiana blushed.  "I was going to.  And he hasn't really asked yet...not officially, that is.  It just came up in the course of our conversation."

'So, when are you going?"  asked Rapunzel.

"Tomorrow," Tiana said softly.  "Naveen could only get away for a day.  His human girl misses him, and she's very anxious to meet me.  Apparently she's been wanting a Tiana for a while, but Naveen begged her to wait until he could find me."

"That was nice of her to wait, especially for such a little human," Isabella offered, trying to sound cheerful.

Tiana's eyes filled with tears.  "I'm going to miss all of you so much!" she blurted out.  

We all started crying then, and shared a four-way hug.  After a while, Tiana laughed through her tears.  "I really am happy about this, I promise!"

Our laughter drowned out our tears, and we decided to try to forget our sadness and just be happy for our friend for the rest of the time we had her with us.

All too soon, it was the next morning and time for Naveen and Tiana to say goodbye.  We all gathered in front of the white shelf to send them off.

It showed just how much impact Tiana had in the short time she'd been with us.  I mean, even Ben came to say goodbye.  I think I might even have noticed a tear or two escape from him.  That's huge, as you all know by now. ;)  I think she made him cookies once, so that could have been part of it.  But if I know her, it was more than the cookies.  It was the way she genuinely cared about all of us.

Tiana was simply radiant as she stood next to Naveen.  He looked like the happiest doll in the universe with her by his side.  I was so thankful that my friend would finally be reunited with the doll she'd waited for.

It was hard to feel sad when Tiana was so happy, but I have to admit I still felt a twinge of grief as I watched her go.  I'd grown to love Tiana like a sister, and I would miss her terribly.  We all would.  

Beast'sbelle took some pictures of them before they left, and she said she'd print one out for us to remember Tiana by.  I knew we didn't need a picture to remember such a wonderful friend, but it was nice to have the reminder anyway.

It's been a week now since Tiana's been gone.  We heard that she made it safely to her new home, and she and Naveen are already discussing a small, private wedding ceremony with Tiana's new human.  I'm sure it will be lovely.  Meanwhile, we're still working on adjusting to life without our friend over here.  

More to come later, dear readers.  I'm sorry for leaving you in suspense for so long. ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Quite Embarrassed

I am so sorry for my lack of posts recently.  The summer is flying by, and our days are full of trying to keep out of Beast'sbelle's daughter's way and yet still keep up some sort of regular routine.  The Olympics have really messed things up, too.  Belle'sbeast has been watching the recorded Olympics on the computer as soon as he gets home from work, which was my best blogging time.

I can't give you as much detail as I'd like to, but I can give you basics on Tiana.  The short version of her tale is that she's no longer with us.  It's difficult because she was such a great friend and we all really miss her.  But the good news is that she and Naveen are together!!  And yes, computer Naveen turned out to be the real deal!!  I just don't have time to fill you in on all the details now, but I promise to update you properly before the weekend is done. :)

Thanks for being so patient with me.  I'll try to be better at getting my regular posts up.  I'll also be sure to update you on everyone else:  Ben, Isabella, Robby, Eugene, Rapunzel, their girls, and the newbies (we have several now, and that's been a rather interesting adjustment!).

Until then. :)