When you have little kids, you are omnipotent. You have God-like powers in their eyes. It's wonderful to be the centre of their lives and to have them trust that you can do anything, absolutely anything. Unfortunately, you can't always do it. Some things that are broken cannot be fixed. Three years ago, when we had to have Bogie, one of our beloved cats, put down due to a malignant tumour, I couldn't fix that for Leah, and it broke my heart. A year and a half ago, when my marriage crumbled, I couldn't fix that for the girls either, and it hurt. Because you want to be able to fix everything for your children, you want them to be happy, and whole, and content.
So, when something comes along that you *can* fix, and make right, like broken Nativity scene shepherds, you grab the chance to be there for your kids. Like when your four-year-old comes running crying into the kitchen when you're fixing dinner, and says, "Mommy, Eric's head came off!"
Eric is a boy Barbie. Not a Ken, mind you -- Kens were always kind of 50s-looking boring guys. I don't know what this one's actual given name was, but Rae named him Eric (probably because Leah named her boy Barbie Derek). Eric is buff. He's a blond surfer dude wearing a white tee shirt and surfer trunks. Rae was crying. "I was just trying to make him bend, and his head came off."
"Don't worry, I can fix that", I said, remembering the ease with which I had re-attached girl Barbies' heads in the past. You merely had to push and twist the little mushroom-shaped protruberance at the end of the neck back into the hole on the body. Simple, no?
Well, no, actually. It seems that with the boy Barbies, there is a hard disc that comes out of the mushroom-shaped protruberance, which is (and this is the important part) *larger* than the hole in the body. The disk slots into a groove in the inside of the neck-hole and allows Eric's head to turn. How Rae managed to get the head out of there, I'll never know. The front of the body and the back of the body are two separate parts that are joined together somehow. (At the factory, they must put the head on one half of the body before attaching the second half.) After a bunch of futile pushing and twisting, I realized that to get Eric's head back on, I would have to pry the two parts of the body apart a little in order to get the disc back into the slot. Steak knives didn't work. Thin pieces of plastic didn't work. Eric and his head went up on the shelf for a couple of days while I thought about it.
Then, while getting some tools to put together an IKEA tv table I had bought, I found the needle-nose pliers. Aha! Maybe if I put the pliers into the neck hole and then opened them up, it would force the two sides of the body apart enough to pop the head back in. The trick was to push hard enough to separate the two halves without breaking them apart entirely. It was a tense 15 minutes, but I'm happy to report that Eric has made a full recovery.
Rae was happy to have Eric back in one piece, but wasn't very effusive with her thanks and was quite matter-of-fact about the whole thing, which put me off for a minute -- until I realized that it was because all along she expected that I could do it -- I'm her Mommy and I can do anything. It's a hard rep to live up to, but it feels good when you can pull it off.