Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The magic of the Worry Dolls!

We all worry.

I worry about mindless stuff like “What will I cook for dinner tonight, should we have pasta or BBQ steak? “Should I cut my hair, how short should I go?” Or other more significant things like “How can I keep Dempsey safe? or “What’s going to happen in the future…where will we be a year from now?”

After my sister died I made a promise to myself I would try not to worry about the little things….not to sweat the small stuff!  I do make a conscious effort most of the time, but hey, I’m only human right?

Thursday night Peter was away so I tucked Dempsey into bed, kissed her sweet cheeks, turned off her light, then poured myself a delicious glass of Merlot.  Remote in my hand I was ready for a night in with the TIVO.  I’d just got comfy when I heard Demps yelling, "Mooommmmmyyyy!"

I climbed the stairs and entered her room only to see her sitting up in bed, surrounded by her Webkinz with tears rolling down her face.  I sat on the edge of her bed, wrapping my arms around her.

“What’s wrong Precious?” 

Her tears kept filling her eyes then dropping like big raindrops onto her cheeks...…she was genuinely sad.

“Mommy , I can’t get to sleep because my worries are keeping me awake and I can’t stop thinking about them.”

She told me she worries all the time, that something will happen to her…or me and how a boy at school upset her, calling her an idiot.  I tried not to laugh, and told her not to think about them, to try and think happy thoughts.

“But I can’t sleep Mommy because all these worries worry me!”

We’d read a book the night before called “Silly Billy,” about a boy who worries about practically everything….a bit like all of us. :)   Anyway, in the book his mom buys him Guatemalan Worry Dolls.  They are tiny dolls that are decorated in bright festive clothes, standing about half an inch tall.  The legend says at night, you tell them your troubles and hide them under your pillow and in the morning all your worries are gone.  (If only!)

So I tried to reassure her that we all get upset sometimes by things in life.....that its important to try not to let these things bother us.

“But I can’t stop thinking about them all Mommy!  Maybe if I had some of those Worry Dolls I would be OK.”

I stroked her hair and told her....“When I was a little girl, Nannie would tell me that if you can’t change something, there’s no use worrying about it.”

I also told her about one of my favorite books, by Katie Byron where she states, "If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark"….no matter how hard you try you’ll never make this happen.  This applies to worries too.  I think of these things when I start to obsess over something that I have no control over.

Our chat finished with Dempsey smiling, her tears finally just a dry streak down her face as she snuffed her runny nose on her pillow and gave me an extra tight hug.  Her smile surfaced after I promised to see if I could find her some Guatemalan Worry Dolls…..and I did, on Amazon for only $4.99.

I ordered them online then snuck back upstairs, listening at the door as she read a book out loud to her Webkinz.

"Guess what Precious....Mommy found some Worry Dolls."  Her face lit up with an ear to ear grin. 

Needless to say, everyday since, she’s been religiously checking the letterbox for her package of dolls!  Well yesterday they finally arrived.  Dempsey couldn’t wait to get home from school and rip open the bag.

They came with a tiny box and a small letter of instructions.

Dempsey happily went to bed last night, thrilled that she could tell the dolls her 'worries' from the day……I wished I was a fly on the wall! :)

We all have things that we worry about, that we can’t change.  If we can’t do anything about these problems they become wasted energy, they steal your focus and weaken your spirit.

Worry is an extension of fear and it takes a lot to stop obsessing and devote your time to what is really important…..the things you can change, like attitude and gratitude.

I also ask myself “Will this matter anymore in a few months, or a year?”  And I keep reminding myself of my Mom and Katie Byron’s words constantly……..

And as for the legendary worry dolls…….well this morning I watched Dempsey skip through the school gate….she even did a little twirl on her way in.

Not a worry in the world! :)

Maybe tonight I’ll tiptoe into Dempsey’s darkened room, reach under her pillow and steal the dolls.  I'll whisper my worries to these tiny wooden toy scraps........and let them work their magic! :)

Wishing you Sunshine if your cup is blue and a worry free week! :) x



  1. Love this! I'm going to forward this post to a friend whose 4-year-old daughter is experiencing a lot of nighttime anxiety.

  2. Dear Michelle,

    Thank you!

    Each night I've been checking under Dempsey's pillow and sure enough the dolls are in a different spot each night with her telling them her troubles...amazingly, they seem to be working. :)

    I've had quite a few friends send me a similar comment to yours and ask where they can get the dolls.....I hope they work for your friends little four year old!
    Diana x

  3. Awesome blog, Dee!!!! :)

  4. Thank you Matey!!! :)

    I'm glad you liked it. I appreciate your encourgement. d xxx

  5. I've never known about Guatemalan worry dolls until I found this blog. I'm so grateful for posting, Diana! My daughter also worries about little things that she can't even control. I taught her many things to curb the worrying habit. Since she likes dolls, I made sure I bought her new doll clothes for 18 inch dolls every month. Recently, she's collecting nice doll clothes. For 18 inch doll to be lovely, doll clothing in sheer colors must be used to dress the doll. It's also fun to add doll accessories.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Dempsey, Diana! It's a good read. :)

  6. Dear Chris,

    Thanks for leaving this comment. I'm glad you found out about the worry dolls. Dempsey still uses hers and they seem to be still working.

    I hope they work for your daughter, you can buy them on Amazon. We even took ours to Australia over the Xmas break! :)

    Good luck with solving your daughters worries!
    Diana x