Adriana has two baby dolls. One is about ten-inches long, and has a plastic (but phthalate free!) head and limbs and a soft body. The other is completely soft, with a stitched on face. When I bought that doll at Christmastime, I thought it would be a nice toy for Adriana to snuggle with, since it was so soft. But the first baby is by far the favorite. She does like the second baby--its shirt and diaper are easily removed, so it is good for really playing mommy. But Adriana is nearly as content to mime a diaper and outfit change with the doll she calls Little Baby. I think soft face that so enamored me is actually what turns Adriana off. She has definitely shown a preference for dolls that look more like real babies; at the little school we go to, she shuns the Cabbage Patch Kids and dolls that look like older children in favor of the dolls with baby faces. Plus, its smaller size makes it perfect for cradling in her arms to pretend to nurse, or to have tied to her with the scarf that she likes to pretend is her own little Moby wrap. And so it has become Adriana's constant companion.
I did try to encourage a "lovey" at one point, maybe about a year ago, offering Adriana a stuffed monkey that a friend had given me in college. Adriana does adore the monkey, and he has been a favorite at times. But she has never been attached to him the way she is attached to Little Baby. The doll comes to the grocery store and the farmers' market, to the doctor's office and to friends' houses. It has played hide-and-seek in Dolores Park and listened to stories at the Red Rock story hour. When we get into bed at night or naptime, Adriana makes sure she has Little Baby, and she holds the doll to her chest for milk as she rolls towards me to nurse. In the night when she wakes up, she sits up and finds Little Baby again before settling back down to sleep. It's sweet to peek in at her and see her sound asleep with her doll clutched tightly in her arms.
I do live in a bit of fear of losing Little Baby. When we're out and about with the doll, I constantly check to make sure Adriana still has it in her arms or that it is peeking out of the pocket on the diaper bag. It has become a family joke to place the blame for missing items on the cat, and Adriana accepts this for a lot of things, but I think if Little Baby were to disappear, there would be trouble.