Recently, my three-year-old, Nuala, has become increasingly fascinated with “mommy’s canes.” Although not used every day, my daughter understands it’s a tool I utilize to help me navigate the world around us. She’s at the age where she wants to imitate everything I do. She has a matching apron when she helps me bake in our kitchen. She has a miniature vacuum she pulls out when I clean the house. And when it’s time to give her sister sister a bottle, my little Nuala is right next to me, pretending to give her favorite dinosaur a bottle. She wants to be like her mommy and it’s totally adorable! When you’re the mother of two daughters, dolls and the occasional action figure are an inevitable part of your household. You name it, and we’ve probably got it, from Disney Princesses to Little People. The accessories that accompany these toys range from hair brushes to side-kick pets. But none of them had what my Nuala wanted… a cane like her mommy’s.
Where to Find Canes for Dolls
Enter ETSY and a little shop called “Cute As A Daisy.”
I stumbled across this online store thanks to a post from WonderBaby.org providing the information.
I easily found the listing for Blind Training Cane/ Low Vision Cane. The canes come in two options: red training ball tip or a standard black tip. They were recommended for 18” dolls, similar to American Girl.
These canes are crafted from plastic, ribbon and sculpey. A ribbon sits atop each cane, easily allowing it to go around any doll’s wrist. The tips are all hand molded, giving them a weighted feel, perfectly imitating the sensation of how an actual white cane feels in the palm of it’s owner.
Each cane is $10 a piece plus shipping.
I, personally, ordered one of each type – the red ball and black tip. They were delivered within a week and I was absolutely shocked by how beautiful, well-made and realistic they are! I immediately sent an email to “Cute As A Daisy” expressing how grateful I was to have found this wonderful item for my own sighted daughters. I heard back from the shop’s owner, Paula, and we connected via phone.
Pictured: Two styles of canes: Red ball (training) and Black tip.
Paula lives in Missouri. A mom of three; her two sons and one daughter are her entire world. Paula’s cane creations were specifically inspired by her little girl, who has a rare genetic disorder called Stickler Syndrome.
Paula was unaware her daughter had the disorder until a family vacation about two years ago. It was on that trip that her then 6-year-old little girl suffered a mysteriously unexplained double retinal detachment. She was forced to undergo an emergency procedure that left her face down for “six” weeks.
Speaking to Paula, my heart just broke for her, both as a mother and as someone who recently suffered my own retina issues. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to convince a 6-year-old to stay face down for that length of time.
When her daughter reached 30 eye procedures, Paula stopped counting. Since then, her little girl has been diagnosed with Glaucoma and been declared legally blind. Despite these challenges, she remains in a gifted and talented program at her school where she receives Orientation & Mobility training and Braille.
After undergoing her own series of tests, Paula discovered she too has Stickler Syndrome. She now joins her daughter in the fight against this disease. Paula has sought treatment at the renowned Duke Eye Center. She currently experiences visual floaters, but they have not stopped her from continuing her love of crafting or remaining a dedicated, loving parent.
And that’s where I like to think this story really connects – our meeting through ETSY is really about each of us being “parents.”
Pictured: Anna & Elsa dolls each holding “Cute As A Daisy” handmade canes.
Paula’s goal was the make something she could give to her daughter to use with her dolls to help ease her transition into blindness.
My goal in purchasing these items was to give my sighted daughters something that represents their mommy as they learn through imaginative play.
Two moms of daughters, trying to teach acceptance and promote awareness – for blindness and Stickler Syndrome.
Toy companies are learning that they have to consider the disabled community when manufacturing their products. But they are moving at a snail’s pace.
Barbie can be an astronaut. A scientist. A veterinarian. A mommy. Why not blind?
American Girl Dolls span almost every historic genre – but last time I checked Helen Keller wasn’t among the options presented to little girls.
And while my family is a huge fan of Build-A-Bear stores, it seems you can build a bear, but you’d be hard pressed to find a cane to create a visually impaired teddy.
Paula is onto something here. If the disabled community truly wants “acceptance”, then it needs to be “acceptable” for all children to have the option of playing with toys that represent the true diversity in our world.
Hopefully, the day will come when I can walk into a store and buy a blind doll right off the shelf – maybe she will even come with a laptop accessory for her blog!
Until then, I look to shops like “Cute As A Daisy” and people like Paula whose creativity helps parents like me offer meaningful play options for their own children’s development.
Pictured: Spiney, Nuala’s Build-A-Bear Dinosaur, with red-ball cane from Paula’s shop.
Author’s Note: This is “NOT” a sponsored post. Blindmotherhood.com is providing their own personal opinion in relation to this product and it’s use. For more information about “Cute As A Daisy” or to learn more about Stickler Syndrome, click on the links within this article or click on the information below:
Etsy – Cute As A Daisy
For information about Stickler Syndrome and the family markers/symptoms please check the websites below: