Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Doll Hospital

Poor Belle. She was in a terrible car accident today and
suffered decapitation. Luckily, a skilled surgeon was at hand.
I'm not terribly sentimental. Usually, when something is broken, I'm all for throwing it out, de-cluttering, making more room for living. No need to keep broken toys around. However, I do have a soft spot for broken dolls.

When I was a kid I read the book, The Doll Hospital about a sick little girl who made her own doll hospital, patching up broken babies and teddy bears for all the kids in the neighborhood. I don't really remember what the rest of the book was about, but it was a good book and parts of it have stuck with me.

My Aunt Melinda used to patch up my broken Barbie dolls, and now it's my job to put the dolls my kids inadvertently break back together. Today it was poor Belle who lost her head, probably the most common Barbie injury. 

I don't know if you've ever taken a Barbie doll apart, but basically there is a hard plastic bead that holds Barbie's head onto her neck. The head is made of rubber, so it has some give and rarely breaks. The neck, however, is rigid and will crack. That's how Belle was injured.

The pink thing barely sticking out of her head is the piece that
holds her head on.

There's little you can do to fix the plastic, but if it's not torn
up too bad, you can often pop the connector back in and
put the head back on. That was my plan.

The hardest part about fixing a decapitated doll is removing the little bead from her head. This little bugger is designed NOT to come out, so it's a challenge to say the least. I started with tweezers, and after they started bending I moved up to needle nosed pliers.
Nurse, skip the scalpel and sutures, I want the
 needle-nose pliers.

Harder than it looks to extract this little piece.

I got it mostly out by myself, but it seems that Disney has even higher standards than Mattel when making these little pieces, so I had to have the husband help in the end. Normally, these little beads are shaped kinda like a snowman with a tight belt-- round on the top and bottom, and skinny in the middle. This one had a secondary spear-shape on the top half to make good and darn sure that Belle's head didn't pop off. It would have worked swimmingly if it weren't for the crack to the neck. 

Once I finally got this piece out, I jammed it back into her neck and added some nail glue, the only glue I had that I figured would work on plastic. Because there was still a chunk missing from her neck, I taped it tightly with medical tape (after all, this was a medical problem).

I popped the piece back into her neck. I do believe that
this is the most difficult doll surgery I've performed to date.

It was almost as hard to get her head back on as it was to take it off the little pink connector. But I managed it without the husband's help this time. Once I got her put back together, I threw together a little hospital gown and made her an ID bracelet, after all she will need to take it easy for a while to recover.

She looks a little more comfortable now. This
was one of my favorite parts of The Doll Hospital--
the little girl in the book would make casts
and use band-aids and patch her patients up
just like they were real.

I would have put her in bed, if my kids hadn't torn up the Barbie bed this morning. Ah, well. It was made out of cardboard, so what can one expect? Time to throw it away and make a new one, perhaps. 

1 comment:

  1. This reminded me of a few things. One was when my own dolls went to the Doll Hospt. My mom took them.
    The other was how many casualties happened due to my sons antics with his sisters Barbie Dolls...I'll not go into it...let's just say it could have filled a small ward.

    I'm glad you're off earning a living...but am sad to not see all your helpful hints and ideas in your blog.

    I found a book yesterday, not sure if you've ever heard of it but in making doll houses and using everyday stuff this sure is amazing. It's called :Lookalikes, Jr. by Joan Steiner It's a kids book ...

    Hope to see you back after the exhaustiion of a workday and everything else is second nature.