We welcomed a new little friend into our household recently... her name is Lottie!
She was a special gift for Lily after she achieved a major milestone (stopping thumb-sucking at last after a significant regression - hooray, hooray, hooray).
Our journey to little Lottie was a winding one. Lily had started asking for 'a Barbie' after seeing several of her little friends had them. But... I just couldn't bring myself to buy her one. Now please don't get me wrong, I don't think Barbie and her ilk (Moxie, etc) are the devil incarnate or anything!! I grew up with Barbie dolls and certainly don't consider myself scarred for life or anything ;) And yet... knowing my daughter, I just felt myself pause at the thought of consciously purchasing a Barbie for her. Maybe it will happen one day, but she just seemed too young and I just didn't feel comfortable about it.
I love to see my little girl's imagination run free as she plays, creates, and processes through her dolls and toys. I appreciated the idea of a very special doll for her but.... I kinda wanted her to live out this creative world through a little girl doll who looked a bit more like her. You know - with a real child's body. Or at least a real woman's body!!! One of the things I am conscious of with my kids is letting them truly embrace their childhood, and just be free to be kids. As much as possible, to be free of the body image issues and the early sexualisation and adult-ification of childhood that seems to run more and more rampant in our society these days. She is growing up in her own sweet time, no need to rush the process!
And so began my internet search for 'a Barbie alternative', thinking surely there would be a plethora of them after all the Barbie controversy over the years. I was pretty surprised to find the pickings were slim to almost non-existent. Really???! C'mon, people! I knew I could not be the only parent looking for an alternative.
And then I finally stumbled across Lottie. Lovely little Lottie!
Lottie dolls are a range of dolls from the UK. They are little girl dolls designed especially to look like....little girls. No makeup, no jewellery, no insanely disproportionate body shape. And even flat feet so she can stand up for herself! Ok, yes, there are the long lush locks and the big googly eyes but... in comparison to market offerings... it was leaps and bounds ahead. Kids can still change outfits and brush hair (and take it in the bath - a serious requirement according to Lily!) - but with a doll that looks a lot more true to a child/life. I was thrilled!! But now I had to see if it met the standard of my discerning five year old.... after all, this was a special gift and I didn't want to purchase something that I loved but didn't win her heart. I pulled up the website with the range of dolls and with trepidation, let her survey the offerings.... would it passed muster??
"Oooooh' she breathed. 'I can really choose one??!!'
Yup, Lottie passed the test! Phew ;)
|A spare outfit for parties ;)|
Every girl knows that swapping outfits every half hour is the best part of having a doll, right?!
There are a range of Lottie dolls with different hair colour and fun, kid-friendly outfits. Of course, my little dancer chose the ballerina-esque outfit... with a backup outfit very similar to the dressy outfits she owns. The tag on the box says 'Lottie has a 'childlike' body developed by a range British academics; she doesn't wear makeup, jewellery or high heels. Best of all, she can stand on her own two feet - an invaluable life skill for all girls, big and small' . Here, here! (Much more info and research on the Lottie website listed below). The doll range 'themes' focus on activities that a child can do (from soccer to swimming to butterfly catching!) and helps present a healthier view on body image and an active lifestyle. I really appreciate that they have a range of dolls and outfits that includes the sparkly fun stuff that many girls enjoy but does not limit the range to those 'hyper girly' options. Just like the colour pink - nothing wrong with the colour itself, but it gets tiresome when it's the only option for girls to choose from - it's so limiting and self-perpetuating! Argh! Likewise with Lottie, there is pink and sparkles but there is also soccer and hiking themes! And - all of them are child appropriate. At last.
When the time came at last to open up the Lottie doll box (Lottie was kept on a shelf until Lily's no-thumbsucking goal had been reached), Lily was sooooo excited. Thrilled. Swept away. 'She looks just like me!!!' she squealed with joy, and I was very happy to admit it was true, 'Except I don't have a fringe. Maybe I should get one!' (Uh oh, hide the scissors, lol!!). Yes, a girl like her, through which she can dream, imagine, create and adventure.
I think the grin on her face says it all really!
|Her first moments with Lottie. As soon as Lily opened up the box, she raced to|
dress in her own ballet outfit so they could be matching :)
|Putting those teeny little ballet slippers back on!|
|Introducing Lottie to Mrs Scratch :)|
|Twinkle toes times two.|
|Soaring high into the sky...|
|My own little lady, feet firmly planted on the ground.|
|a Lottie love|
|And.... rockstar Lottie?!|
|Girls don't have to be sweet and delicate. Ha! Belting out her tune with gusto.|
|Giddy with excitement, going a little cookoo ;)|
|Lottie, standing on her own two feet!|
I am thankful for how Lottie encourages girls to enjoy their childhood in all its facets. I think we found a good fit for our family values with this sweet little doll. Childhood is a magical phase that passes quick enough without encouraging them too soon into adult worlds and concepts. With Lottie, I feel like Lily can happily linger in her girlhood a little longer.
And now, I am enjoying watching Lily and Lottie and their many adventures unfold (it's both hilarious and sweet). The dawning of a very special friendship indeed :)
P.S. I probably don't really need to say it on this teeny tiny blog, but this isn't a sponsored or affiliate post or anything! Just happy to have found a doll that we love and wanted to share it around so if anyone else out there is searching for a Barbie alternative, they can get a review!
PPS The Lottie Australia website is here. You can buy it online at lots of places, I found the best online price for the doll Lily wanted here (very affordable, I thought), and apparently you can buy them in store at David Jones, Toys 'R Us and hopefully many other stores will start stocking them! Available also in the UK and US and I'm sure other countries... have a Google and see. Get on the Lottie train, I say! She rocks :)