A little girl in California was just given the most special Christmas gift — a gift her mom was so excited about that she couldn't even wait until Christmas to give it to her.
Katie Crenshaw, who runs a parenting blog called Typical Katie, wrote in a now viral Facebook post that she commissioned a special doll for her daughter Charlie, who was born with a birthmark on her face.
"As Charlie's mom, I have always been outspoken about her facial defect (infantile hemangioma), and advocated for acceptance and awareness," Crenshaw wrote. But she said that up until recently Charlie wasn't even aware that there was anything different about her, probably because she was too young to notice. Now that her daughter is "a little older (and doll-obsessed)," Crenshaw tells Refinery29 that she wanted Charlie to have a friend who looks like her. That's where Little Plain Jane dolls came in.
Crenshaw contacted the shop, which is run by doll maker Kayla Baker, and asked her to make one that looks like Charlie — birthmark included.
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"Not only did she agree to make a custom doll for Charlie, she offered it as a gift, no strings attached," Crenshaw wrote.
Baker asked for a photo of Charlie as well as information about how she likes to wear her hair, what her favorite clothes are, and what type of shoes she wears.
"When she finished, I could not believe how detailed the doll's birthmark was, and how much it looked exactly like Charlie!" Crenshaw wrote. She couldn't even wait until Christmas day to give her daughter the doll, and Charlie's reaction made the early gift worth it.
"When I gave the doll to Charlie, her eyes lit up — she immediately touched her cheek and smiled," Crenshaw wrote. She hasn't put the doll down since, and named her Princess Cheek.
It's not the first special doll Baker has made. She tells Refinery29 that she first made a birthmark doll in May when a mom reached out and asked her to create a doll that looked like her daughter. Since then, she has made 20 more.
As Charlie's reaction to her doll shows, it's important for kids to have toys that look like them — whether that means Black children being able to play with Black dolls, children who have disabilities seeing themselves in a stuffed animal that looks like them, or kids with vitiligo seeing a representation of their skin in their toys.
"I think the world can sometimes be a hard place for children who are different or don't look the same as their friends," Baker says. "I hope having a little doll friend to match will give them confidence, make them feel loved, and let them know they are beautiful just the way they are."
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