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I'm thinking of buying a Waldorfy-type doll for each of my twins for Xmas this year and am wondering if people generally get a doll that resembles your child (hair, eye, skin color), or does it matter?

What are your thoughts on this?

Also, what is a good size for a three year old? I saw some 18 inch ones that were nice and in my (lower) price range, but that seemed kind of long . . .
 

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I got my dd a smaller sized doll and she didn't take to it. I'm thinking I should have gone for a size more similar to the dolls I played with when I was little (though they were plastic.)
When I pick a doll I don't worry about it looking like my child- I just try to pick one that I think she will like. (She's super into pink...so a pink dress etc.)
Have you seen the new Sarah's Silk dolls that come in a silk purse? (Their heads stick out of the purse.) You can buy different outfits for them too-like a mermaid suit, or a pretty dress. They are a smaller doll and I don't think they would replace a regular doll, but they are cute!
 

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My dd received a Hearthsong brand Waldorf style 16" doll similar to the Magic Cabin "Playmate". (I think it was the same designer-Sara Macdonald) She was just five at the time and this was the only doll that she ever bonded and played with. The doll did resemble her (she is Asian) and that was a big draw. When you grow up as a small minority in a large population, I think it matters more.
 

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Gosh, that's such a tough question. I'll tell you, from my own experience, I think my children bonded to dolls like they do people, not because they resemble themselves. My mother gave my daughter a very dark skinned, black haired doll (not Waldorf), trying to get one that she thought was a better resemblance than most (not easy then since there weren't many Native American dolls in stores that didn't come dressed in feathers, braids and buckskins). My daughter Did Not Like that doll, at all. I think my daughter sensed this doll was "supposed" to look like her, and my daughter viewed that doll as some kind of dangerous imposter. She had a lot of anxiety and distrust of that doll, and it stayed in the closet. My children have tended to bond with dolls that maybe don't necessarily look like them much, just like the friends they've bonded with.

And I remember watching a little fair-haired child bond instantly with a Waldorf doll for sale at a vendor's booth during a Waldorf conference last spring. That little girl wanted the doll so desperately, it was like the doll was her long lost soul mate, and the doll was pure black skinned, black eyed, and black haired. I was so sad for her, because I don't think her father bought it for her...he asked the seller for a price, but didn't seem prepared to spend $60 or whatever it was for a spur-of-the-moment purchase like that.

But there were jillions of dolls and toys and books etc for sale at this show, and this little girl wasn't going, "I-wanna-I-wanna" in the middle of all that "stuff". This one particular doll among all the rest said to her, "you found me!"

Linda
 

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Linda- I agree!
Your story really touched my heart. I think kids shoud be encouraged to pick out their own doll, IF they want one.
 

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Oh- your story about the little girl and the doll touched my heart too!
I think it depends on the child, as to whether or not they'd like their doll to look like them.
My 2 year old DS has a little boy waldorf doll I made to look like him: and he really loves it and identifies with it, and the doll will be found propped up doing things that he likes to do.
My 5 year old dd on the other hand, has nothing to do with the waldorf doll which resembles her (straight blond hair, blue eyes) and instead her favorite is a little baby boy doll with green eyes and dark brown curly hair. She carries him everywhere, and he is very real to her.
As for size, my son is nearly 3 and his dolly is 13 inches which seems perfect. My 5 year old has a 16 inch one- but she prefers her 14 inch.
 

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For my dd's second Christmas, I gave her a 13" Waldorf doll I had made in a dollworkshop given by Joy of Joy's Waldorf dolls. The doll has blonde hair and brown eyes like my dd and she instantly bonded with it. She quit playing with it for awhile at 4 or 5 but then took it up again at 7 and now takes it everywhere and sleeps with it everynight. She has expressed interest in having another doll and would like to have one with red hair and green eyes.

I made a larger size doll for my ds that looked like him and while he was pleased to have it, he never bonded to it like he did to his dragons and lizard stuffed animals.

I think perhaps when a child is younger that the first doll (2 or 3 yrs. old) might be better if it looks like the child. For older children, I think asking them which dolls they like better would be a good idea.

If you can make the doll, that is the best yet. My dd loves her doll I made her more than any other doll because she knows I made the doll. Joy still does classes, you might want to see if she is doing one in your area.
 

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I went out of my way to try and make a "boy doll" for ds when he was 3; short blonde hair, blue eyes, etc. Well instantly he named it and said it was a girl, and it has been Baby Lutie ever since; so I saw that he didn't identify with it so much as see it as a separate little person. Now DD has completely connected to the same doll and it looks absolutely nothing like here. I'm making her own for xmas and can't help but want to make it look like her though.
 

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I was considering the same thing recently, as I was having a custom doll made for my DS. I think the sheer nature of the custom process (and I imagine it is the same if you are making the doll yourself) is that you have to randomly decide things such as hair and eye colour without seeing dolls first and have something that just speaks to you about a certain finished one. So it's kind of natural to then maybe choose things that resemble your child, since you kind of think they look just perfect.
So, for me, I think my doll resembling my DS was more about me, than him. I guess it does kind of go along with the Waldorf idea of the relationship of the child with a doll, but I'm sure kids can actually see past hair colour etc in that regard.
 

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Slightly OT, but I had a friend who wrote and illustrated a children's book. A few years later she had a son. One day she showed me the book and as I leafed through it I noticed something weird: "The child in the book looks a lot like your little boy. How did you do that when he wasn't born yet?" She explained that she had used her own body as a model, trying to figure out how an arm should be drawn in various positions, for example. It was still strange!

Deborah
 

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I haven't made that many dolls, but the few I made changed while I was making them. I started making a girl doll once that became a boy because it started to look like a boy to me. The same thing with puppets, which I did make quite a few of, and I'd change my mind about the hair and whether or not to put a beard on.

I agree that it's good if your children see you making the toys, but some stages I think can be a little gruesome for some younger children. Needling the eyes, for example. One of my children thought of some of his toys as real live feeling creatures when he was very small, and I didn't let him watch when I sewed dismembered body parts together, or stitched the facial features.

Linda
 

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Linda I know what you mean about needling the eyes and sewing on body parts appearing gruesome!
My 5 year old daughter loves to watch me make waldorf dolls, and she says that they do not become "alive" until the last stitch is in, and the thread cut.
 

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I really appreciate this thread because I am thinking of a Waldorf doll for my ds for Christmas...but I hesitate because my dd does not play with her's.
I had one made for her for her birthday and she played with it for a time but only when I would purposely set it out and redress it in a different way...What she likes the best actually are these ceramic nativity figures that my mom got her at a yard sale for $1
She also has an American Girl Doll, Kirsten that was *my* doll as a little girl and she loves it. I felt a bit of the Waldorf guilt allowing her to play with the plastic doll when she had this beautiful organic cloth one....but you all made me feel better with this thread. I would love for ds to pick out a doll instead of having one made for him online but I am not sure how I would do that. He does have a heavy baby from Joy's Waldorf Dolls which he loves...but he also likes his sister's American Girl Doll Kit, because he can take the shoes on and off. If anyone has any thoughts for me as I sort through what to do for his doll, let me know! Thanks!
 
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