Pageant parents aside, we’ve all been there. Well, some of us. If you’re anything like me, you had these grandiose ideas of rearing little girls and never (ever!) buying them princess dolls, dresses, accessories … basically all of the everything-princess that is available in multiple formats, in all stores, and at the flick of a fingertip on any online store. Amazon Prime? Words cannot describe how much I truly love this service. Am I ashamed? Only a smidgen. But it’s made my life infinitely easier and shopping way more cost effective and timely. Why, just this morning I made my first few holiday purchases and I got my theme shopping out of the way to make way for my favorite part: the handmade.
Anyone care to take a guess at the themed items I procured at fantastic prices that are sold out in the stores the day they get delivered? Yup. Frozen. Like 75-80% of all other toddler/little kid parents out there, regardless of their little one’s gender. (That’s an official stat and we all know it.) Long gone are the days (for me) of fighting the onslaught of the almighty princess. Somewhere along the way I’ve discovered a few things about my fear of embracing multiple fairytale forms of monarchy.
The largest being of course, that it’s my issue. Not my daughters.
I grew up during a different time, in a very different type of home where these things didn’t get discussed. Not until I was much older and my innocent young mind sponged up all images of princess perfection did I place them on myself. Like so many of us Gen X’ers did growing up. I’m not the only one in this camp, softly fluctuating back and forth between princess dread and princess magic.
I have the power to alter the landscape in how my little girl’s sponge-like mind takes in the imagery she is bombarded with and it’s not just about princesses. Am I going to cut her off from all of it? There’s always some scandal waiting for us to pounce on and cry, “SHAME!” (The latest being Kim K baring it all, greased up and proud.) But pop stars (male and female alike) cascading out of screens, billboards, and shiny pages like jacked-up, sex-crazed, narcissistic, oh-so-controversial and edgy human machines of havoc? There are worse things than princesses.
We’re starting now and as much as she’d probably adore princess everything (from the decor in her room, to the clothes she wears and dresses up in and the toys she plays with) it’s not happening. But what’s also not happening is complete avoidance either. Not anymore. I see the way her eyes light up. I watch how she role plays and uses her imagination and gleefully lets magic take reign over her days. I’m learning how to roll with it and on occasion say “yes” to the princess. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my daughter’s beguiling and innocent (still) obsession is to take myself less seriously, yet always be tuned in. Along with these other lessons …
1. Not all tiaras are created equal.
She in fact hates tiaras and is insistent that all princesses are fairy princess and should wear wings, NOT tiaras and thus will only dress up as a princess if wings AND highly pouffy tutus are involved.
2. Princesses have boogers like the rest of us.
Three-year-old princess wannabes can, “still pick deer noses, because dat’s how da boogies get out. But don’t eat dem. That’s gwoss. Prince boys (like Wyndham!) does dat.”
3. Princesses don’t discriminate.
Princesses hang with Batman and read books and play with blocks and miniature kitchen paraphernalia like nobody’s business. Princesses don’t discriminate. As of yet they haven’t taken center stage as lovie of choice for bedtime … so small victories. She still prefers her handmade dolly or bunny.
4. She only has as much as I am willing to buy her.
I’m acutely aware that she’s only as aware of what’s available as I let her be. So the Anna and Elsa wrapped ukulele that was a part of today’s slight drainage from our bank account? All my fault. As is the huge grin that will spread across her little elfin face, from ear to ear. I will indeed take credit for that. I shall continue to as she and her brother strum together, play jam band together and put on their concerts for us, as they do. (Trust me, I refrained from the add-ons of a Frozen-themed, amped mic and stand.)
5. It’s up to me to teach her symbolism vs. reality.
Being a princess for now, is all about the dress-up and imaginary play, it’s all about the magic. Right now she doesn’t care that their eyes are wider almond shapes than my SIGMA 10-20 mmm lens, nor does she compare them to her own. Right now she doesn’t examine the waistlines thin as a tent pole and hips ample enough to birth a small coven. She doesn’t examine any of that in those ways yet, I think. I’ve learned that it’s largely up to me, in the face of all such mediocrity to keep reeling in the magic and talking about the symbolism vs. the reality. When she’s ready.
Are you a former princess hater/convert? Join the club, don’t be ashamed! Be proud, be aware, and most importantly … revel in the magic while you still can. Before it all goes to pot by way of the big, bad, scary media machine. Oh and college, ugh … don’t even get me started on those unnerving stats. Suddenly, princesses seem like the silver lining of it all.
What about you? Has princess culture bamboozled it’s way into your home and hearts? Tell me all about it. Your deep, dark secrets are safe with me.