“It’s important for children to see themselves reflected in their toys.”
It is 11:48 p.m. on a Tuesday night, and this quote from psychologist Dr. Amber A. Hewitt is drumming through my brain as I close out another unsuccessful hour of searching for a doll for my daughter.
I try searching for books next.
“Protagonists… with… glasses,” I mutter and press enter. Many examples flood my screen. Unfortunately, only a handful are suitable for small children.
Mirabel from Encanto.
Arthur the aardvark.
Dolls with glasses? There are Mirabel dolls. I could also purchase an American Girl doll with glasses.
The issue is that my daughter is only 15 months old. While there are many books and toys out there for tweens and teens with glasses, I am having the most difficult time finding anything for a baby with glasses.
An American Girl doll is too big, heavy, and expensive for a 15-month-old. Harry Potter? Sure, when she’s twelve, she will probably love having this feature in common with the bespectacled boy wizard. But right now, that doesn’t suit my purpose.
My daughter’s glasses are purple and sparkly and take up almost her entire face. Her eyes are magnified behind the lenses. It is hard for people to see anything beyond them when they look at her. When we are out in public, people always comment on her glasses and not her.
“Oh, look at those glasses on that baby!”
“A baby in glasses! How cute!”
“Love the glasses!”
“How did you know she needed glasses?”
She does look adorable in her glasses. But while I know comments like that are well-intentioned, I can’t help but feel some sadness in my mama heart.
While out and about with my son and my older daughter, when they were babies, people would comment on them.
“Look at his big, blue eyes! Just like his dad’s!”
“She has adorable dimples. What a great smile!”
Ever since my youngest started wearing her glasses, no one comments on her anymore.
Is this a big deal? No. Will it change the trajectory of her life? Probably not.
But that didn’t stop me from my late-night Google searches trying to find my daughter a doll that looks like her. For some reason that I couldn’t fully explain to my husband or to myself, I had to do this for her. I had to get her a doll with brown hair and glasses, just like her. Since she was so young, I needed a doll with a safe, soft body. I found plenty of dolls with different hair colors and skin tones, but I couldn’t find one with glasses. Anywhere.
I ended up having to MacGyver the whole thing. I purchased a soft-bodied, brunette doll without glasses and used my Cricut to fashion a pair of purple glasses for it. To my delight, my daughter loved it. She would often point to the doll’s glasses with a grin. When she started to talk more, “glasses” became one of her first words (“Gasses!”).
When we are at the grocery store or a park, people still just talk about her frames. I worry that she might lose her glasses when she starts preschool and have to spend the day wandering around in a blur of colors and indistinct shapes, unable to see the letters on the board or the craft she’s supposed to finish. In elementary school, I’m anxious that other kids might call her “four-eyes” or similar hurtful comments.
But mothers worry. That’s what we do. I keep reminding myself that as long as she has me in her corner, metaphorically fighting her battles (or when she’s older, supporting her as she fights her own battles), then everything will be ok.
I watch my daughter as she toddles around, clutching her soft-bodied doll with the mommy-made glasses. While no one else in our family wears glasses on a daily basis, I’m hopeful that she sees herself reflected in her doll’s face. For right now, that’s enough.