We have a little Snow White doll that my sister-in-law gave us, who plays "let me call you sweetheart" when you twist a key in her back. She started out new and pristine (see left), but she's been so well loved, especially by James, that her head, which originally bobbed slowly from side to side, now twists all the way around, and easily comes off, despite numerous supergluings. (Isabel, with furrowed brow, was frantically snapping her finger up and down this morning, and when I looked to see why, one of the doll's curls was stuck in a small snag in her fingernail, and the doll's head was bouncing up and down at her side quite cheerfully. Isabel had been carrying the head around by the hair this afternoon, like a little totem.) Her springily curled hair is permanently tangled, and wraps around her neck, and her shoe buttons have come undone. Her face is smudged below the nose, so you can't see her mouth anymore. It's the best thing that could happen to a doll--well, almost the best thing, like the Velveteen Rabbit.
James loves the music, but he can't yet twist the key. He signs "doll", and hands her to me when he wants the music. I said to him today, "say 'help me'", while signing the same. He dutifully signed "help me", and vocalized, "ekhem". I was so excited! He was happy, too. I like James' sounds.