When my daughter comes home from school, the first thing out of her mouth is, “Mom, did you feed the baby?” I smile and nod. “I remembered, honey.”

My daughter adores babies. She always snuggles the baby, feeds it, wraps it in a blanket and strolls it around the house.

Before taking a shower, she fills the sink with water and gives the baby a bath. And I blow-dry her damp cloth bottom and dress her in a clean paper towel diaper.  Yes, the “baby” I’m referring to is a doll. Which makes my daughter a Baby Doll Mama. And me? A 41-year-old Baby Doll Grandma. It’s been a lot of fun, and I can’t stop smiling as I take in every last drop of my youngest child’s sweet imagination.

She likes to include the family in her baby doll world too. Even our Golden Retriever has learned to respect the baby (by playing nice and not chewing on it). I have to say, she has a pretty amazing system. She does homework while the baby sits in a mini playpen. She goes on play dates and practices while the baby naps. I “take care of her” (a-hem) during the day. On a typical week night, you’ll hear her ask, “Dad, can you please wrap the baby in a tortilla blanket again?”

“Mom, can you please read her a story?”

“Mom, can you please watch the baby while I go to the bathroom?”

It’s all I can do to not tear up because it’s so precious.

But I can’t lie, I do have my days. Maybe I can’t hold her when I’m cooking dinner? Or heading out? And when we’re in a hurry, don’t worry about getting HER ready! Just get dressed for crying out loud! The other day, when I picked up my daughter from school, she found the baby in the back seat, as hot as Austin in August. “Mommy, did you leave baby in the car?”

“No, she was just running errands with me honey,” I fib, frantically wiping my saliva on her plastic face to cool her down.

Don’t even get me started on the two American Girl dolls that are the baby’s big sisters.

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