MANHATTAN, KS—Though she has been known to tolerate full-sized items on occasion, local woman Barbara Elsinger, 41, can only derive pleasure from, take an interest in, and exhibit affection toward miniaturized versions of things, sources reported Tuesday.
A veterinary assistant who specializes in the care of toy poodles, miniature schnauzers, and dwarf hamsters, Elsinger—or Barb, as she prefers to be called—is reportedly unable to resist the charm of any object, animal, or food item rendered at a reduced scale.
"I have literally seen her squeal with joy at the sight of a cocktail weenie," said husband Bernard Elsinger, who met his wife seven years ago at his nephew's peewee-league baseball game. "I don't know what it is about smaller-than-normal stuff that she is so drawn to, but nothing makes my wife happier than experiencing something at one-quarter its usual size."
Elsinger's fascination with tiny things began when she received her first dollhouse at the age of 5. Before long she was learning the piccolo, competing in ping-pong tournaments, and asking Santa's elves for a Shetland pony each Christmas.
By age 18, she was attending a small liberal arts college, where her love for M&M; Easter candies and pocket packs of facial tissue continued to grow. After graduation, she worked for a short time as a contributing editor at Reader's Digest, but soon realized her career path lay elsewhere.
She started working part time at the animal hospital in 1991.
"Oh, look at his tiny little ears!" Elsinger was overheard to exclaim when a four-week-old kitten was brought to her clinic earlier this week. "Aww, and his little coat and boots! Isn't that adorable? Hold on, I need to get a picture of this."
Reached for comment, Elsinger's mother, Danielle Millari, confirmed her daughter's passion for all things diminutive.
"As a girl, she used to wake up every morning and beg us to make her a short stack of silver-dollar pancakes," Millari said. "And I still remember the time I had to pull her, kicking and screaming, off the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney. When we got home, she spent hours crying in her tree house until we lured her down with fun-sized candy bars."
According to sources close to Elsinger, some of her other favorite things include dioramas, petits fours, charm bracelets, those tiny soaps people leave out when they have guests, the iPod Nano, clutch purses, button noses, and individual serving-sized packets of anything.
In spite of her enthusiasm for items of limited proportion, Elsinger has complained to friends that such pleasures are "small potatoes" compared to the one thing still missing from her life. There's a tiny hole in her heart that can only be filled by a miniature version of herself: a baby. Though the 41-year-old has spent years gushing over the adorable little fingers and toes of her friends' toddlers, Elsinger and her husband have thus far been unable to conceive a child of their own—a fertility problem doctors have attributed to her abnormally large uterus.