You gotta have friends. It’s the way we humans roll. Kids, especially, need somebody to talk to, a friend to snuggle up with when they're not feeling well, a friend to whisper secrets to in the dark...someone to just be there. Having a friend and confidante, whether it’s the family pet or a favourite doll, can help boost a child’s confidence when they need it most.
My daughter, Avery, is ten. She craves friendship. Sometimes she finds it, other times it’s elusive. Her speech and cognitive delays make it difficult to communicate with girls her age. Don’t get me wrong, her peers are warm and kind and inclusive, but it’s not always easy for them to connect. So sometimes, the park is lonely. But my girl is never alone. She always has Charlie.
Avery and Charlie (Charlsea) – her Maplelea doll — have been inseparable since they met last year. Charlie provides comfort and companionship on road trips, or when her room is dark and it’s storming outside — or whenever she needs a hand to hold.
Avery dresses Charlie up and brings her along to appointments. Charlie just sits quietly and observes at speech therapy. She’s more of a listener than a talker, really.
She comes to Avery’s medical appointments, for moral support. At the hospital this summer, I heard Avery tell Charlie “I'll be okay. The doctor is very nice. You don't need to worry. And we get TimBits after.”
We met another girl about Avery’s age in the waiting room. She had her Maplelea doll Taryn with her. The girls chatted and introduced their dolls. Apparently my daughter isn’t the only one who enjoys having a buddy along to soothe her nerves. The nurse told me that lots of girls bring their dolls in with them. I think that’s the sweetest (and smartest) thing ever.
Scratch that—the actual sweetest thing is listening to Avery talk to Charlie in their room. They bunk together. Charlie quite possibly has nicer furniture than I do! A four poster bed and matching side table with a drawer for her treasures (and abundance of headbands). This doll has a wardrobe to die for and shoes for days.
I specifically ordered a pair of shoes with long laces so Avery could practice tying them up. Shoelaces and brushing Charlie’s hair (we bought the Maplelea doll hair brush) and doing braids and messy buns are fun ways to work on fine motor skills.
Maplelea dolls were created by a Canadian mom to align with the values she wanted to instill in her own daughter. She also aimed to provide an engaging and fun experience and encourage learning about Canada’s heritage, culture, and geography.
Maplelea has a huge range of accessories (over 250 sets!) all with a distinctive Canadian theme. The line includes 7 ‘Maplelea Girl’ character dolls, each from a different region of Canada, and a variety of Maplelea Friends (‘lookalike’) dolls, doll clothes, doll furniture and matching clothing (which Avery loves!) age appropriate for girls age 6 to 12+.
Maplelea dolls were created to be positive role models that encourage Canadian kids to lead healthy, active lives, and to be knowledgeable about our country's culture, heritage and geography. Each Maplelea Girl is a unique individual with her own preferences, interests and strengths, but all are bright, energetic, caring girls who are happy with just who they are. Sounds a lot like a little blonde girl I know.
Maplelea offers an expressly Canadian play experience, from the story journals to the accessories. For example, a hockey uniform, a ringette uniform, a wooden toboggan, traditional Inuit clothing, Ukrainian dance outfit, highland dance outfit, maple leaf sweater, mitt set, etc. Several Maplelea accessories are made in Canada, including the toboggan, much of the girl-size clothing, and Saila’s amauti & Pang hat (which are made by craftspeople in Nunavut).
In addition to everything above, each Maplelea doll (each from a different region of Canada) comes with a story journal and a huge range of accessories all with a distinctive Canadian theme. The journal includes pages of notes “handwritten by Charlie” with information about where she comes from (the west coast where I grew up!), her family, her pets, the food she likes, places she’s been.
As a former teacher, I appreciate the incredible amount of detail! Avery thinks it’s hilarious that one of Charlie’s pet chickens is named Fraser, my maiden name.
Why did the chicken named Fraser cross the street?
To get to the other side (because she forget where she parked. Again).
The second half of the journal contains blank duplicates for the doll’s person to fill in. Again...happy teacher heart over here.
Having somebody who shares in your interests is huge. And when you have a doll, they pretty much have no choice but to like what you like. Charlie and Avery have a ton in common.
They both enjoy fashion, heavy on the sparkle.
They both have small white scars—Avery on her knee from a fall and Charlie on her forehead from who knows what. Nobody’s talking. Fortunately, it didn’t require stitches and if you ask me, it totally ups her street cred.
And of course, they both have tattoos. Wait no, just Charlie. She’s tastefully inked on her neck.
Of course, now Avery of wants the same. Um, maybe let’s start with getting your ears pierced kiddo.
My daughter may read to Charlie, and dress her, and style her hair, and chat with her like she’s real, but she understands that "It's only for pretend, mum.” She knows Charlsea is a doll, but a doll she trusts and loves like she’s real. One night, before bed, as she was tucking Charlie in for the night, she told me, “She's my doll. But she's also my friend.” She’s right. And life is always better when you share it with friends.
So when the grandparents ask what Avery would like for Christmas, I’ll send them to the Maplelea website. Charlie has her eye on those sparkly silver high tops :)
Maplelea Girls is a line of premium dolls, story journals, furniture, accessories, and doll clothing made right here in Canada.
Your kids can choose a doll that comes with her own unique background or pick a Maplelea Friend and create a story all her own.
Browse the entire online catalogue from the comfort of your home or go see them in person at the new seasonal store in the Yorkdale Mall which is now open until March 2017.
Either way, your child is about to get a new best friend.