Yvonne

I can’t say for certain how old I was, but I can tell you I looked unfortunate.

It was dimly lit and smelled like incense.

I pushed my pink plastic glasses higher up on the bridge of my nose (see: unfortunate) and stared high up into the temple.

It happened the same day that we visited another Japanese monument and my sister and I accidentally drank from a bucket and well that was meant for (and used for) hand washing.

It was less than awesome.

And then for a photo op, we started gonging a giant drum that turned out to be some kind of artifact that wasn’t supposed to be touched.

I have the photo. We look very pleased with ourselves.

Everyone around us looks horrified.

It’s kind of how we rocked it there.

So anyway, we banged the drum, drank the hand sweat, and moved on to the temple.

I had my prized possession stuffed in my backpack with her yarn hair flying all around my shoulders.

Her name was Yvonne.

For the record, that decision was not made by me. I was her adoptive mother, the lucky one who grabbed her from a store shelf and rescued her from the cabbage patch she had been born into. My dad told me I could name her anything I wanted, but I had the birth certificate. You can’t just change someone’s legacy like that. The transition would be hard enough, I reasoned.

Her bottom had the word “Xavier” written on it.

Which is, to this day, is a little unsettling.

Anyway.

I took my parenting role very seriously. She always smelled like baby powder and had three disposable diapers in a drawstring bag. It also housed her pacifier, her real liquid bottle, and a host of things to entertain her on long road trips.

I had a feeling she didn’t like to be left behind, so she never was.

When you’re a child born in a vegetable, I think it’s safe to say there could be abandonment issues.

“Xavier can’t find you anymore…you’re safe now…”

I braided her hair a lot at recess, which is unrelated to the fact that I had no friends.

I don’t want to say she was precocious, because I think all moms feel that way about their soft-fabric babies, but let’s just say she had a light in her green eyes that they didn’t all have.

Also, she never pooped. Which I wouldn’t say made the top of the “parenting-preparation” list, but it was a nice perk.

It wasn’t unusual (I say that with a healthy amount of sarcasm) that she was riding in my backpack the day of the temple incident.

I was preparing her for our new adventure, pointing out the scenery.

She was a stoic child, but I feel she was just taking life in at her own pace. No need to push my agenda before she had her plastic lunch.

This next part would almost be unbelievable if I didn’t have the video to back my story.

My dad was taping me and Yvonne standing in front of what I recall to be a very large Buddha statue. Like, 50 feet tall. Or close. Whatever. It was big enough to knock me off my parenting game. Keep that in mind before you judge me on this next part. There were dozens of candles lit on an altar behind me. This is about to be pertinent information.

I turned and started talking to the camera about the giant statue, and I’m doing my best child-reporter imitation while I describe what we’re seeing. At one point you see a woman come over to me and she’s trying to tell me something. In retrospect, she was a little panicked. I bow to her and do a fake smile to the camera. She continues.

And at this point I realize she is pointing to Yvonne and I try to whip around and look at her, but my razor-sharp instincts didn’t register a problem until I smelled smoke.

Oh, don’t act like you’ve never accidentally caught your kid’s hair on fire. Your smugness repulses me.

“Yvonne!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!” Glasses slipping, Buddha out of focus, and the camera jumping to the ground as I yank her out and, you know, extinguish her.

Oh, beloved. I can hear you crying out to the garden of cabbage, and I am filled with shame. Who will believe this was an accident? Will you ever trust me again?

It’s safe to say I wasn’t myself for a little while after my mishap. Who could have known candles and yarn made such a poor team?

Not I, friend. Not I.

There was no official questioning, and I think all parties involved agreed that my history with her belied any ill-intention. On her part, she seemed unmoved.

Charred, but not shaken.

My brave little soldier.

In the event that you’re wondering, Yvonne went on to a ripe old age, the big sister to a sibling group that made the Duggars look like underachievers.

What can I say?

I’ve never been a perfect mother.

:)

 


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  • Carie Davis

    Thank you! That brought a MUCH needed smile to my face today!

  • Carie Davis

    Thank you! That brought a MUCH needed smile to my face today!

  • http://ashleywb.blogspot.com AshleyB

    I had one of Yvonne’s Cabbage Patch cousins, Annette. Also the name chosen not by me, but by the one whose name was written on her bottom. Annette had an unfortunate incident that involved her hair and the escalator at Maison Blanche. I finally convinced my mom to send her off to Babyland General for reconstructive surgery. :-)
    Thanks for the laughs. And the memories.

  • Amy Wise

    Yarn hair and candles in a Japanese temple…Oh, I can just picture the whole thing. Thank you for sharing stories that showcase the less-than-perfect side of someone so many of us put on a pedestal of extremely good Christian parenting.

  • Kim

    Oh, this is hilarious! I laughed out loud until thoughts of my own sweet, coveted Helen entered my brain. Helen with her blond yarn, perpetually baby powdered loops. Placed lovingly for adoption by her leafy mother because, I can only assume, she wanted Helen to have the the kind of care she, lacking limbs and opposable thumbs, could not give her. I can’t be sure of the location of her birth. Foreign adoption? Domestic adoption? I will never know. But what they say is true: A (fabric) child is a (fabric) child and once they put her in your arms she is yours and you just love them. Thanks for the giggle, I needed it today.

  • Kim

    Oh, this is hilarious! I laughed out loud until thoughts of my own sweet, coveted Helen entered my brain. Helen with her blond yarn, perpetually baby powdered loops. Placed lovingly for adoption by her leafy mother because, I can only assume, she wanted Helen to have the the kind of care she, lacking limbs and opposable thumbs, could not give her. I can’t be sure of the location of her birth. Foreign adoption? Domestic adoption? I will never know. But what they say is true: A (fabric) child is a (fabric) child and once they put her in your arms she is yours and you just love them. Thanks for the giggle, I needed it today.

  • Bethany

    My child is also one of Yvonne’s cousins, but her name is Shelley. Sadly, Shelley still bears the mark of my aunt Ruthie’s shoe print where she stepped on her. I wouldn’t/still won’t (at age nearly-31) let my mom wash Shelley because I’m nostalgic about that footprint.

  • SouthernGalThoughts

    Oh.my.goodness. Ha! And this after my daughter called and told me how she was a horrible mama because she went to the bathroom and didn’t strap her 7 week old in the bouncy seat. Who knew she would roll forward and out of the thing? She wasn’t hurt, just face down on the carpet and mad when mama rescued her. I reassured her it wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last time something like that happened in her motherhood venture.

  • http://www.everydaypresent.com/ Kara M

    My name is Kara and I WAS that cabbage patch kid! My hair was the one caught on fire. My mom let me carry a candle down the aisle of my cousin’s wedding. During pictures, the bride says “Is something burning?” OH, just MY hair!!

  • Kasey

    Greatness!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheilannpat Sheila A Harris

    Oh dear, I can’t even imagine how you must have felt. Well, I do, because I’m a momma to 4 and I am far from perfect. The list of ‘momma guilt’ could bury us if we didn’t have a sense of humor. Thanks for sharing. IN God’s love, sheila

  • Diana Trautwein

    Oh, how I love this. Delightful. But…I have NEVER caught any of my children’s hair on fire. My own, however? Oh yeah, been there. Done that.

  • Stacy

    Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. . .I imagine your Yvonne did not look any worse in your eyes!!! Thanks for the good afternoon chuckle!

  • Thayer Bentley

    OH my that is a total trip!
    I remember riding my bike with my beloved Abigal Sandy CP doll under my arm. Then there was a speed bump. Hmm, where did she go- under the wheel of the bike! She had skid marks on her cheek and everything!!!
    I have not thought about that in years! Thanks for the laugh today!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Jes_Officer Jessie Officer

    Oh, Grace… it pardons and we keep chugging along… ready to need it again tomorrow :) Love the story and the smiles!

  • Sharon O

    Funny… oh and I do remember those cabbage patch dolls and standing in line for hours for just the right one. What parents end up doing for their children. Cute story.

  • Casey

    Ohh my word… the tears from laughter…. Angie Smith you slay me…:)

  • The AM Mama

    Love this post!!! My cabbage patch child was (gasp..) a BOY, his name was Kevin Leslie. I never caught his short curly brown loops on fire (perhaps the advantage of that short boy hairdo), but I did learn an unfortunate lesson about the paint-removing qualities of nail polish remover one day while trying to wash my little boy’s face. Ahh… his beloved tan faded into a sickly pallor on one side of his face only. Wonder if my mom held onto that doll? I have a 2 yr old girl who is LIGHT YEARS better at nurturing her dolls than I ever was. She’d probably fix him right up!!

  • Coby

    My laughter and snorting are keeping my supposed-to-be-napping son awake! I’m fondly remembering my own cabbage patch kids – two boys and two girls, two black and two white (since I’m bi-racial and my parents wanted to keep things balanced ;-) ) None of them ever caught on fire, though. ;-) But now I have 3 little boys who like to “nurture” my old dolls in the most boyish sort of way – you know, taking them for rides on dump trucks, swinging them up into the air…by their pigtails…good times.

  • Janice M

    Angie, You made me laugh out loud today! I never had a cabbage patch doll (which gives away my age) but I do remember buying one for my son when he was a baby. Yes I was one of those crazy parents :) We have pictures of my son and the cabbage patch doll laying side by side. Thank you for making my day!!

  • Jennifer P

    I think I had a CPK named Yvonne too. She had red hair, in braided pig tails.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.knapp.94 Lindsay Knapp

    Oh dear, I had the same glasses and continue to question my parents as to why I was allowed to pick them and wear them. I also had an “adopted” child from the patch. My first new one (not purchased at a garage sale) was left behind while I engaged in a fun game in the school yard. A mean boy decided to throw my dear precious in the dumpster, on garbage day. I never saw her again and never felt the same about those babies abandoned in the cabbage patch!

  • Jill

    Dying. Can’t stop laughing.

  • http://www.faithfullyyours1989.blogspot.com/ Faith

    Thanks so much for the much needed laugh!! When I was 10, there was a cute boy who I had the biggest crush on that loved the smell of burnt hair. I made the mistake of letting him light a little section of my hair on fire right before we walked down the church aisle as acolytes. Mistake as in, he asked and lit my hair at the same time! Thankfully I was able to extinguish it quickly while he stood there and laughed at me. I’m not sure what other people thought when they saw a white haired girl with a charred black chunk of hair going down the aisle! Thankfully, it did grow back!! Oh the things we do for love! :)
    Hugs!!
    Faith P.

  • Katy

    Snort. So funny. I had a small clan of those kids too. A couple were premies.

  • http://www.minivansarehot.com/ Kelli

    That is the best “I set my Cabbage Patch Doll n fire in a Buddhist temple” story I have ever read…

  • Amber

    I totally needed this today. Thank you.

  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com/ dukeslee

    Gut-splittingly funny! You are a delight, Angie.

  • Kara

    My Cabbage Patch, Jackie, went everywhere with me. Once I left her at an apartment complex where my dad was leading a Bible study for kids. He drove back (probably a good half hour drive) to find her. A janitor helped him look for her, and they found her stuffed in the top of a closet. But she didn’t seem to mind.

  • Melody

    So uh, when will you share the video with us??

  • Jennifer Ward

    :) This made me laugh out loud, literally! I had many Cabbage Patch Dolls. And we moved several times while I was so intent on being their perfect mother. I didn’t dare pack them in boxes to travel to the next home…they wouldn’t be able to breathe! So on to the airplane they went with me… the longest move was from Washington state to Singapore. An 11-year-old with at least 8 dolls on an airplane. I’m sure people thought I was way cool, too.

  • Amanda K

    Thanks Angie for the laugh! It was much needed. You are wonderful!

  • Susanne

    I love this post. It brings back so many memories!

  • Melissa

    Thank you for this! Loved it! I read it thinking fondly of my cabbage patch doll, Olivette Cassandra. My mom pierced her ears for me, at my request,and I thought that was awesome lol! Olivette is now in my daughter’s possesion and she didn’t find the earrings nearly as awesome as I did ;)

  • tracey

    My first cabby was “Dorcus Marceil”, a very unfortunate birth certificate name. I think you lucked out with “Yvonne”!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeJayne Debbie Gordon

    I needed this tonight… thank you for making me smile x

  • D. Arizona.

    I’ve felt led to leave this, but have lacked the courage… and then, you posted this entry about Yvonne.

    http://myreallifebyyvonne.blogspot.com/

    With Love and Respect,
    -A Sunday.

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  • Kyla

    Hahaha this is classic! I think we’ve all been there:) thanks for the laugh!

  • CC

    I laughed out loud so many times. I needed that! :) You are such a wonderful story teller :)