My Doll Has a Belly Button

Emmy, the Doll With a Belly Button (Photo: Vivienne Yeo)

BIRTHDAYS are always fun because you are the star of the show. The spotlight is on you and the presents have a way of crawling up to you to give you a peek-a-boo. Sometimes, birthdays get a sad twist though, especially when your mother can’t be there with the presents and the candles.

That was exactly what happened last year on 27 July 2016, my ninth birthday. Mommy wasn’t there at all. She was far far away in Melbourne, for work, and all of us were at home. Poor me, poor Despicable Me! And to think that she was there for the birthdays of my elder sister and my kid brother!

But wait! Before the tears come, and before I make Mommy feel bad, I have a confession to make. She gave me the world’s best present, even though it was one and a half months late. This is where Emmy comes into the picture. 

Emmy is the first and only doll I’ve ever had in my entire life. She didn’t come from Toys “R” Us or the hoity-toity Hamley’s, but right from the lap of Mommy, who sewed and stitched her into being for a good five months. When Emmy showed up in my arms in an emerald green drawstring bag, I was thrilled to bits when I pulled her out.

“Oh, so pretty!” I cried. But the next moment, when I pulled out her purple bonnet, I learned, to my horror, that my doll was bald. Imagine, a bald doll! I decided to call her Emily right there and then. Somehow, I always associate a bald girl with an Emily. Don’t ask me why. So my darling doll got called that before it got shortened to Emmy, or sometimes Emma.

Emmy may have been bald, but she has a pretty dress—a yellow-checkered one with matching knickers that are laced at its hem, the same lace you find in the puffed sleeves. Mommy had also stitched in two beautiful details, which make Emmy quite quite alluring. She has a belly button, and not only that, she has a butt crack.

The only problem was her hair, or rather, the lack of it. But with Mommy, anything is possible. Emmy’s hair grew day by day, slowly but steadily. Some nights I could sleep with her, some nights I couldn’t. Those were the nights she had pins and pokey things in her scalp. After a good eight months, Emmy finally grew a thick head of dark brown hair. No more pins, no more pokey things.

I remember that day: 24 April 2017. It wasn’t just any other day, it felt like a second birthday.

(448 words)


Edith Lee, Primary Four
May 2017

For more essays by Edith, visit Edith Writes.

This is a special feature essay celebrating Mother’s Day.

You may also enjoy these Mother’s Day specials:

The Mother of All Cakes
Fried Rice à la Mommy
The Best Things In Life Are Free


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