Several birthdays ago, Dee received one of those Hanna Montana barbie-like dolls. She was probably at the zenith of her Hanna love. She wore Hanna to school and to bed. She watched Hanna. She wondered “what would Hanna do”.
To be clear, she understood that Hanna was a fictional character and could distinguish her from Miley Cyrus, who she has never shown the slightest interest in. Dee just loved the idea of an “ordinary” girl with a secret identity that just happened to be completely outside the realm of what could possibly be considered normal. And she’s a sucker for slap-stick.
But, as is the fate of most dolls in our house, Hanna was rarely – if ever – played with. After her initial new novelty wore off, she was sentenced to life in the box of forgotten dolls.
Until this last Saturday.
Dee’s new BFF, Pai, was invited to sleep-over. Like most of Dee’s friends, past and present, she is enamoured of the dollhouse that Rob (aka Santa Claus) crafted for her several Christmas’s ago. It is a house of beauty, and it’s massive. Dee and her friends are only just able to see over it and it takes up a good deal of bedroom floor real estate.
In addition to the doll mansion, Dee’s amassed quite the impressive collection of Barbies and paraphernalia. The latter in no small part is thanks to Edie and Mick, who bequeathed her their late 80’s/early 90’s accessories of which many would be completely new and novel to Dee’s friends. Naturally, they all want to play Barbies, and it’s about the only time Dee herself will sit and play with her collection for literally hours on end. Dee is a cardboard box, scissors and Scotch tape kind of kid. Barbies don’t make her top ten list of ways to pass time. Unless her friends want to play.
At some point in the late afternoon, Hanna Montana was discovered and one of them noted that she seemed evil and perhaps even – alive with evil.
Thus came plan A. To catch Evil Hanna in the act of animation. And to this end, Steve Jobs came to the rescue.
Both girls are nearly as welded to their iPods as the average teen’s eyeballs and thumbs are ensnared by their smart phones. Hanna was left on the lower bunk caught in the cross-hairs of two lens with video rolling. If she moved, they would know.
But, both iPods mysteriously stopped filming after 12 seconds.
“There is no way that could have happened,” Dee told me later.
And Hanna, again quite mysteriously but certainly with sinister intent, flipped from her back to her tummy.
“She moved,” Pai said solemnly.
“She did,” was Dee’s saucer eyed concurrence.
Plan B was clearly needed, and this involved “caging” a now trussed up with ribbons Hanna in a mesh pop-up hamper. Surveillance was once again employed, and the girls went about their merry way.
Fast-forward to bed-time and despite the wicked Hanna’s lack of obvious escape attempts, neither girl felt able to sleep in security as long as the malevolent hunk of plastic molded by underpaid Chinese was in the room.
A defcon level plan C was hatched on the fly and Rob and I, who were showering off the day’s asphalt roofing material, heard the patter and scurry of feet down the basement stairs. Mood killer that it was, I dried off, donned robe and went to assess.
I found the two of them in Dee’s play area and Pai was attempting to tie a cloth belt from an old swimsuit of mine around the play dishwasher while Dee perched on the mini-trampoline, clutching the stuffed bison she picked up in Yellowstone last summer holiday. A thin cloth ribbon tied around her wrist was looped around Pai’s waist.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
They both looked at me as though it should be plainly obvious to all but the most mentally defective.
“We can’t sleep with Hanna in the room,” Dee said. “So we are caging her down here.”
“I see,” I said, “and you are tied together why?”
“Stuffies will protect you from evil,” Dee explained. “So I am holding Bice and Pai is protected as long as she is tied to me.”
Which is what best friends do, selflessly risk corruption by unspeakably evil Mattel products while you have their backs.
“It won’t tie,” Pai piped up.
“Let me help,” I said.
Which is what Moms do, we humor children who have needlessly hyped themselves up to irrational levels of imaginary fear.
After Hanna was secured, I ushered the children back up to Dee’s bedroom and told them I’d check back when I came back up to bed for the night.
By this time, Rob was out of the shower and upstairs and I updated him of the latest in Hanna control to which he rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“At least we have proof that they actually have imaginations,” he sighed as if that were the only lemonade that could be squeezed out of this mushroom cloud of escalating terror.
Before bed, I peeked in Dee’s room again to find both girls in the top bunk, ringed in by every stuffie Dee owned.
And, of course, I had to ask.
“Stuffies can be used as a force field,” Dee said.
“This way,” Pai continued, “if Hanna gets loose, she can’t get to us.”
“Good thinking. But if Hanna gets loose, tomorrow we are going to have Dad chop her up with the hatchet and burn her in the fire pit,” and with that I wished them pleasant non-Hanna dreams and went to bed.
I was reading when Rob slipped into the room, closing the door behind him and grinning like an evil Hanna Montana doll.
“What’s funny?” I asked.
“You should have seen the looks on their faces when I asked them why Hanna Montana was sitting in the hallway.”
“Way to give them nightmares, Baby,” I told him. “I told them if the doll got loose in the night, you’d chop it up tomorrow.”
“What did they say to that?”
“Pai asked if she could chop the head off.”
The next morning found Hanna still secure and the girls decided that more permanent measures for her ultimate containment were in order. Armed with stuffies, they retrieved evil incarnate from the dishwasher and with only YouTube vids as their guide, they constructed a cage out of old pizza boxes and a drink carrier from A&W. An hour and a half, water-colours, and tape later, the Hanna was neutralized for good.
“We taped her arms and legs together and then taped her to the bottom of the cage,” Dee said. “She narrowed her eyes at us, but she can’t get out.”
Last night, Dee slept soundly, even though Hanna-bot was under the bed.
“I have Bice and as long as he is touching me I have a thin force field around me for protection.”
And so, once again, the power of little girls, stuffies and arts/crafts has vanquished the sinister forces of the world. Rest easy.