(Part of my memory exercise...)
When we packed up to leave Carlton, Sydney, I had three dolls. Dannygirl was too hard to cuddle. Flopsy was a baby doll with a cloth body and Topsy was as black as liquorice. I had bitten most of Topsy's fingers off. It was the slight resistance followed by the delicious yielding between my teeth that made me do it then, almost before i knew it, there'd be a slight extra give and the finger would be in my mouth and Topsy would be regarding me with horror. I knew that no number of loving lullabies sung to her, no amount of endearments offered when I tucked her up in my bed or the little basinette she shared with Flopsy, could make up for the loss of a finger. I tried to stop. I'd think, this time I'll just hold her finger between my teeth, that's all. I won't bite down. I promise I won't bite down. That would work sometimes but when I packed Topsy into the box to be taken to Brisbane, she was down to three fingers and two thumbs.
Flopsy wasn't entrusted to a box and a removal van. She came with me, beautifully dressed for the journey, in her own little carry basket. Flopsy rested her head comfortably in the crook of my arm, just as I knew a real baby would. She had weird hair that I had once brushed - it was thicker than any baby's hair, thicker than my hair, and brushing it had just made it stick out at odder angles from her head. I kept it hidden under a little knitted bonnet. She always had her arms up, as though something had caught her by surprise. Even when she slept - and as soon as you laid her down, her eyelids with their long lashes covered her blue eyes - her arms were still thrown up as though dream after dream caused her to startle silently.