My first impression upon learning about Mia? This is a doll I wish I had when I was growing up.
From a Parent's Perspective
As a hard of hearing mommy who wears a Cochlear Implant, this doll had a unique feature to it - Mia, aside from being fashion forward has a Cochlear Implant (!!!!!!!!! cue my jaw dropping!!!!!).
|My head shot of Mia. Isn't she gorgeous!?|
When the doll arrived, I was in awe with the detail. It's smaller than a typical life-sized doll (18 cm tall), perfect for my 1 year old's nimble hand - though intended for ages 3 and up. My 4 year old loved how she could pack it easily in her backpack to take for show and tell at preschool. Her exposure alone to several preschoolers who likely don't know what a cochlear implant is powerful already.
|My daughters love playing with Mia's hair and showing off her Cochlear Implant|
As a mother, I thought this would be a great educational tool for my two young daughters, who are aware that both mommy and daddy have a hearing loss. In fact, the day after we received Mia into our family, my 4 year old daughter said that I should trade my beige cochlear implant for a pink one. This is how the conversation went:
Me: why should I get a pink cochlear implant? Mine works fine.
Daughter: because pink is a way cooler colour. Daddy should get pink too!
Sigh. I just love how kids can see beyond the disability itself and see something that adults sometimes have a hard time seeing.
I should also note that both our girls have what we call "normal" hearing. They've had some exposure to the deaf and hard of hearing world - often having to face us whenever we need to speak to them. Even my 1 year old daughter will look at Mia and then look at me immediately, where I assume she is wondering if we have the same device!
With Mia, I'm also able to tell them that while mommy and daddy have a hearing loss, we also have lots of other interests too - like travel! (The girls have already been on more adventures than when I was their age.) One of the things that I told the girls about Mia is that she loves to go on wildlife adventures, much like the time when we went on our African safari for our honeymoon (Lions! Zebras! Monkeys!). In a way, we find that Mia is a recognizable extension of ourselves. The little camera that comes with Mia is a popular item, and we've had very interesting conversations about what animals Mia is photographing!
From a parenting perspective, I feel that having Mia as part of our family allows us to have candid conversations about hearing loss, and other disabilities that exist. It's really important for us to show that having any kind of disability shouldn't hold anyone from their dreams.
|Mia's Story is shown at the back of the box in which she comes in! (Photo from Lottie Dolls)|
From my Personal Perspective
Since I was born with a profound, bilateral hearing loss, I wish I had this kind of doll when growing up. It would have helped me to self-advocate earlier, such as when I was in elementary school, it was sometimes a little awkward to have kids asking me "what's that on your ear?" I will admit to feeling self conscious about my hearing loss for a good chunk of my preteen years (let's say, between age 9 to 12). It might have been easier for me to bring the doll rather than for them to look at my ears and poke my hearing assistive devices. Fortunately, I grew out of it.
As an adult, I am absolutely thrilled that companies like Lottie Dolls are considering greater diversity with their dolls. Whether it be from disabilities, fashion, race, etc. As a female, I feel that Mia's figure is much more reasonable than the standard Barbie dolls. It's also really neat to learn that many of their dolls, outfits, accessories and play-sets have come straight from the amazing and awe-inspiring imaginations of children. How cool is that?!
This is one gift that any child (or hard of hearing adult) would love to receive! She even holds the bragging rights of being a Special Gold Edition Doll, and International Design Awards Winner for 2017. Two thumbs up!
|A better close up of her cochlear implant (and no, I'm not going to get a Pink processor... yet!)|
I received the doll for review courtesy of Lottie Dolls; all opinions expressed remain my own.