I'd like to introduce you to someone special to my son, Birdie.
Meet Chicken Pox Dora:
Now you may notice that Chicken Pox Dora bears a few similarities to a certain famous explorer. Her given name, her pink shirt and orange shorts, and a funky little bob hairstyle to name a few. Well, let me tell you upfront, the resemblance is entirely intentional.
But, you say, if this handmade Dora is supposed to resemble that mass produced, endlessly reproduced licensed image, she is really a bad copy. Totally sucks. No shoes, no perpetually gaping mouth, no football head. Ah, ha! I'm glad you noticed. This Not-Quite-Dora Dora is also intended.
I made Chicken Pox Dora purposefully Dora-esque, with hopefully enough character of her own to outlive the current Dora the Explorer craze Birdie is going through. My boy is completely smitten with Dora. He has had no use for television up until a month or two ago when he fell head over heels in love with her. The sheer intensity of his Dora love is adorably creepy. I'm caught between wanting to help him acquire the articles of what he loves, by borrowing Dora books and videos from our public library, and wanting to snuff out his desire for what is very obviously a rival of mine for his affection. The less jealous side of me seems to be winning lately, seeing the creation of this monstrosity:
It would be so easy to buy Birdie one of the six dollar beanie baby Doras he picks up for a hug when he sees them in the shop (Bean bag Swipers also get hugs - he knows Swiper just needs a bit of love and understanding). But, in addition to being cheap, I've also got an gianormous stash of fabric and polystuffing and I aim to use it whenever possible. Plus there is this whole desire to, if I can, be the one to make the dolls and toys that my children love and carry with them throughout their childhood. And when my kid happens to love something that I find personally irritating and ethically suspect, I still want to foster that feeling of love within them without selling my soul.
My Dora is not The Dora. At least in my mind. My Dora's shape is all wrong. She lacks adornment and baggage. She has barrel of monkey feet (my bad, doll pattern still in development). She appears to have a contagious disease due to an inability to approximate an acceptable flesh tone in a solid (Smootch and I think this is hilarious - she is so my girl). Her mouth is mercifully shut tight. And then there is the fact that my Dora was made very late at night with a sewing machine badly in need of a tune up propped awkwardly on a kitchen counter. This is, in my house, what happens when something is made with love.
I was a little nervous about Birdie meeting my Dora. Would he reject her outright (Smootch would of never stood for the inconsistencies as a toddler) or maybe accept her as a Dora stand-in for play and cuddles. Well, the morning after her creation, Birdie found her even before I could introduce the two and he had her tucked firmly under his arm where she has been for five days now.
Birdie loves chicken pox Dora.
This is Birdie and his friend M watching you-know-who (a rare moment when they are sitting still - most of the time when Birdie watches Dora he is shouting at the screen while ol' football head eggs him on with, 'Louder! Louder!'). Under M's arm is Train Boy. Train Boy has now gone home with M, where he finds himself the focus of a battle between M and her brother J. To makes some peace, they will both we getting their very own badly sidekicks of their own soon.
I am, honestly, totally blown away by how much these children adore this odd little dolls.
While I am gratified that Birdie loves his mama-made Dora, even though she is an intentionally poor knock off, I can't help but worry that this Dora-esque character may one day be the source of great embarrassment to him. I picture Birdie in college having a few beers with his buddies while swapping crazy childhood stories and taking the competition with, 'My-mom-is-so-nuts she not only made all my clothes but even once made me a Dora the Explorer doll with hooked feet and the chicken pox!'
And all his friends will laugh and say, 'Dude! That's sick!' and pour him another beer in sympathy.
Because, really,what kind of mom sews a fake Dora anyway?
I mean, besides one that loves her boy so very much that the force of the feeling may be causing fuzzy thinking and misdirected labours. Whatever. He likes her, that's all I care about.