The first time I saw a Daddy Doll was a few years ago, long before my husband was deployed. The wife of a deployed soldier stopped us in the mall to show us the doll. My first thought was "that's strange and sort of creepy." Silly me.
A few months ago, we went to visit a good a friend and met her new significant other - a big bald guy. "Daddy!" said Linnea. Oh dear.
Fortunately, Eric is a sweet guy and loved getting love and attention from a toddler.
So we came home, and I ordered our Daddy Dolls. They get so much love; why didn't I do this earlier?
Excuse the chocolate cookie on Linnea's face. Here is Daddy Doll kissing Duplo Dora.
And some sweet hugs.
The hard part was getting a good picture of my husband. He kept sending pictures with no feet. Daddy Dolls must have feet.
Daddy dolls come in two sizes: small (12 inches $21.85) and large (17 inches $27.95). Ours are small. The doll can be personalized with a message such as "Daddy loves Linnea". There is a choice of eight fabrics for the back. We chose fabric to match Daddy's uniform. There is also an option of using two different images (for instance Grandma and Grandpa) on front and back for an additional fee. The doll washes beautifully (good because anything that gets this much toddler love needs to be washed fairly often).
Finally, there is a small pocket in the back of one-sided dolls for keeping a special note or treasure or for tucking in the optional voice recorder. We sent the recorders to Daddy who recorded a message for each little girl. When Arielle is scared or upset, Daddy's voice comforts her; she believes that Daddy Doll keeps her safe at night. Linnea loves to squeeze the toes and hear the message over and over, and she showers Daddy Doll with love and kisses.
The website also offers separation tips from other parents and other products to make separations easier: photo Taggie-style blankets, dog tags for children, photo pillows and teddy bears with photo t-shirts. These products are suitable not just for children of deployed soldiers, but for any child who has a loved one who either travels often or is far away.
I wanted to bring this toy up, not only for those children whose Daddy is deployed or travels often, but also because of Operation Hug-A-Hero. Operation Hug-A-Hero is a special fund to provide dolls to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty or who can't afford Hug-A-Hero dolls. When I have my very scared for my husband moments, I am glad that we had the opportunity to make the Daddy Dolls with the special messages for our girls and that the girls will always have their dolls to treasure. To donate, click here.
A few other suggestions for children facing deployment:
-We made a photo album for each girl full of pictures of her spending time with Daddy.
- Since Linnea was still very small when Daddy started being away for training, I also took photographs to Staples and had them laminated so they would withstand lots of baby love.
-Military commissaries sometimes sell camouflage Hershey's Kisses. We get a "Daddy Kiss" each night that Daddy is away. Then we look for a star and wish for him to come home soon.