Ever since my daughter was born, I’ve tried to be really restrained and not buy every single cute thing in the store. It's hard though, it really is because if ever there was a product junkie, it would be me without a doubt. With so many adorable toys and dolls out there it takes restraint not to buy them all, but I firmly believed that overwhelming her with too many toys wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. I decided to wait til she was walking to introduce her to her first real doll and I was so excited about it. I knew for a fact I wanted a soft doll because she is still a young toddler and a soft cuddly doll would be more practical for her to play with and easier for me to clean. Not to mention the fact that as a child I always preferred soft rag dolls to hard plastic dolls.
My first thought was to invest in a Bla Bla doll. I use the word invest because they are a bit expensive. They aren’t outrageously priced but spending $44-$56 on a soft cloth/knit doll is definitely expensive in my book.
As you can see from the photos above each doll comes in two size options; the large 18 inch doll or the smaller 12 inch doll. There are many options of animals, people and even mythical creatures like a mermaid and fairy.
I had heard such wonderful things about these dolls and a part of me really liked the whimsical animal character dolls. On the other hand I couldn't help but agree with other moms that some of the bla bla dolls have creepy faces! While I was debating whether it was worth it to even spend that much on knit doll, I discovered that they have regular sales on specific dolls promoted from their twitter page. I decided to stalk their twitter account until they have a sale on a doll I like.
In the mean I shifted my attention to my next favorite brand of rag dolls: Lotta and friends by HABA dolls.
I knew HABA had a good reputation for making great wooden toys but I only recently found out that they make soft toys as well. I fell in love with their rag dolls because they embodied everything I was looking for; a high quality, soft doll with a friendly face and lots of fun accessories.
My initial favorite in this range was the Elise doll shown in the photo below.
The Elise doll really appealed to the tomboy in me because she doesn't look like your typical super girly doll. Her freckles, red hair, brown eyes, satchel and cute overalls make her a fun spunky character. I was all set to buy this doll when I came across the Souri doll also by HABA.
Souri is an african HABA doll and is slightly taller than the other dolls in the range. Most of them are 12 inches tall, but Souri is 15 inches. I didn't love the look of the Souri doll online. Frankly my first thought was that she didn't really look authentic and if at all she looked more like an African grandma than a girl. She didn't seem as fun or as playful as the other dolls in the range. There was something about the combination of the headscarf, beaded necklace, dress and slippers that just made her seem elderly. I decided to stick to my original choice; the Elise doll.
However I kept coming back to this doll, I read glowing reviews about how Souri looked so much better in person and was so much fun to play with. After thinking about it some more I decided to go ahead and order the Souri doll and decide how felt when I saw it in person.
When the box finally arrived, I was actually really glad I chose this doll, firstly because it is very well made and looks much better in person than in the online photos.
I discovered once I took her out of the box that she was soft and cuddly but still firm enough that she could be propped into a seating position. The hair is made of chenille and is especially soft. After an initial stare down my daughter fell in love with her.
Its amazing to watch her interact with Souri, she repeatedly takes off her sandals and tries to put them on her own feet, and she does the same with the necklace and scarf. This poor doll gets hugged, kissed and dragged around the floor of every room in our home over and over again.
All the accessories and clothing are easy to remove and underneath them all, she has on a T-shirt and stripped leggings.
Overall I'm glad I gave this doll a chance and I'm happy with the quality of it. So many rag dolls out there are way too limp, soft and flimsy and fall apart easily but this doll is a sturdier breed that appears to be armed to endure all the abuse of being owned by a toddler.