Since Charlie Crenshaw was born, the now 2-year-old has had a capillary hemangioma, a strawberry birthmark, on the right side of her face.
Although she’s only just started to become aware of it, her mother, Katie Crenshaw, wanted to make sure her little girl was aware that just because she may not look the same as others, it doesn’t mean she’s any different. Being different is normal.
Charlie has lived with her birthmark since birth.
In 2016, Katie, who runs a blog called Typical Katie, went viral for a post where she defended her daughter’s birthmark. She recounted instances where friends, family, and strangers would pity her daughter.
“We see past the color of her face. Charlie is Charlie and it’s part of who she is,” she wrote.
While friends and family may have questioned her birthmark, her immediate family knew it was just a part of who she is.
“I would like to normalize ‘differences’ in appearances,” Katie told HuffPost after her blog post went viral. “People tend to immediately pity people who look different and I would like to change that conversation.”
Since then Katie has worked hard to make sure her daughter doesn’t feel different. In a post she shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page she said Charlie has been “blissfully unaware,” until recently.
Her mother works hard to make sure her daughter doesn’t feel different.
She thinks she’s fancy now because she goes to school. 😂😂 Also you can tell we don’t wear shoes in our house because they said She refuses to wear her shoes at school and every time I have picked her up she was barefoot. Haha! Side note- do you wear shoes in your house? I feel like it’s a huge NO but it seems to be a debate. 🤔 — (See my stories for Charlie last year in this dress and this year. 😭😭) — #uniteinmotherhood #momtogs #momazine #letthembelittle #habitandhome #candidchildhood #honestmotherhood #momblogger #dailyparenting #momdotme #ohheymama #littleandbrave #letthekids #ourchildrenphoto #childofig #eternalmotherhood #documentyourdays #writeyouonmyheart #vscomoms #napablogger #californiablogger
“The reason we wanted to do it is to start normalizing [the birthmark] for her as early as possible now that she’s just starting to be conscious of herself,” Katie told PEOPLE. “So that she always understands that some people have differences and it’s just normal.”
She contacted a doll-maker and commissioned her to make a doll that looked just like Charlie, birthmark and all.
Katie planned to get her daughter a special gift for Christmas.
Originally the doll was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but when it arrived Katie couldn’t keep it from Charlie.
When Charlie saw the doll her eyes lit up—a doll that looked like her!
Charlie fell in love with the doll.
According to Katie, Charlie rarely puts the doll, which she has named Princess Cheek, down.
Katie was a bit surprised by her daughter’s reaction.
“Most two-year-olds have super low attention spans for toys, but you could tell immediately that she was highly impressed,” Katie told PEOPLE. “I didn’t even expect her to be as aware of how special it was because she’s two. But it’s really amazing to see how she connected it for herself immediately without me having to say anything.”