Kaia and her doll Abbi

For Christmas last year, Chris’s cousin Rob and his wife Abbi gifted Kaia her first doll: a brown-skinned cotton doll with a removable yellow dress with flowers, plus matching yellow shoes and pigtails also tied in yellow. Back then, I was touched by the doll: Kaia had a near-replica dress that I’d purchased for her in Kochi last summer in a mustard yellow color that could make the doll a mini-me to Kaia. We asked Chris’s parents to bring back the doll this visit so that Kaia could be reunited with her and “build a relationship” with her first and new doll Abbi. While Kaia has enjoyed getting acquainted with Abbi the last few days, she was not necessarily amused by the matching outfits of this morning.

For school today, I dressed Kaia in the mustard yellow dress. She marveled over her “new dress” and seemed to enjoy it once I zipped her up. But when I presented Abbi to her and told her that she was matching with Abbi with the same dresses, Kaia was immediately dismayed and started whining. “Take off Abbi dress! TAKE OFF ABBI DRESS!” Kaia demanded, whining nonstop. She tried to remove the dress on her own, but other than undoing the velcro in the back, she was unable to. So I helped her remove Abbi’s dress, and she proceeded to run around holding Abbi naked, just in her white underwear.

When Chris came back from his morning swim, I told him how Kaia didn’t want the two of them to match. He proceeded to put the dress back on Abbi, which Kaia seemed nonchalant about… until I announced that I wanted to take a photo of Kaia and Abbi together in their matching dresses. Kaia got very upset and started crying, yelling, “I don’t wanna take picture with her! I DON’T WANNA!”

I snapped some photos of Kaia and Abbi, anyway, and eventually Chris whisked Kaia off to school (not with Abbi, but with Peter Rabbit to comfort her). I later shared the picture privately on my Instagram Stories and tagged the actual Abbi. Abbi responded and said, “That’s not how I thought things would go in my head. Nothing ever works with kids!”

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