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.


  1. Nice Dora... albeit a chickenpoxed one... but fine as long as the owner likes it... my DD is fond of Dora, and rushes back from her school as it gets telecast at 11:00 AM here and her school winds up at 11 AM too, thank god that school is the very next building!

    She even dressed up as Dora in a fancy dress event at her play school!

  2. Love the look on his face in the last photo! Mama-made is better than mattel-made and we all know it.

  3. Absolutely awesome post and an amazing "dora" I love homemade anyday - diseased and all. Funny funny funny! Thanks

  4. love this in every possible way. and that is part of our job as moms, give them something to talk about later. lol like the "My mom made a pink sweater set and even though I was a boy, she wanted to test the sz of it, so then had to take a picture of me in it." lol or the "my mom made me a swim suit and I loved it, but my brothers made fun of it endlessly" Or my fav-- my little brother got a pr of handmade shorts when he was about 8 and I was 12 or so, (I made them without a pattern!) only to discover I had not given him enough space in the crotch region. Like NO space. they were dubbed the "unwearable wedgie shorts" lol ahh sweet memories.

  5. aaah that is so sweet , he love love loves chicken pox Dora - Bueno :-)

  6. as the mother of a college aged boy-I have to bet that chicken pox dora would be insanely popular--boys that age have very interesting sense of humor.

  7. There was a point in time, about when my daughter was 4 to 5, when she was head-over-heels in love with Diego. She always been one to talk in her sleep, and during this phase she was known to profess her love to Diego while she was sleeping. So adorable to hear her little voice saying, "I love you, Diego." while she was asleep.

    Hoping you look back on this time with a smile on your face. :)

    PS I deeply dislike Diego. And always have.

  8. My daughter loves Dora, but so far hasn't requested any merchandise. When she was a tot, I made her an Iggle Piggle (from In The Night Garden - if you have no idea, google it!). This was before ITNG merch was available in Australia. Anyway, I'd never made any soft toys except for a sock monkey, so I was pretty impressed with myself! It was also an upcycling project before I even knew what upcycling was. I made it from an old baby grosuit from the opshop (thrift store), a pair of red knickers and red felt scraps.

    Check out the result here if you're interested http://www.flickr.com/photos/30493650@N00/5138179258/

    I didn't think I'd make any more soft toys (the kids already have heaps, and they don't really DO anything), but having seen your Train Boy and how much love he gets, I might just have to make one...

  9. I love chickenpox Dora! And it's adorable that your son loves her. I got the courage to start sewing because I wanted to make the black apple doll for my girl. Did it by hand, she loved it. I think it is great that we can make stuff especially for our kids.