The Toddler Queen has discovered her inner (more outer really) royalty. She always thought she was special but now it all makes sense to her. Yes ye of little people my daughter has learned the existence of Princesses. *#!@!. Sorry.
I had been dreading this day for a long time, along with the love of pink and all things girly.
I was hoping somehow she would skip that part and jump straight into plaid, eye liner and loud rebellious music before slamming the door in my face. I was prepared for that. Heck I am wearing plaid right now. Her father and I are more than willing to school her in, well the school of rock. But these tricky little creatures will find a way to obsess over that one thing that gets to you, regardless of what it is. They simply have been programmed to since birth.
Anyone who knows me will realize I was never a ‘girly girl’ as a child. I occasionally played with Barbies and My Little Pony because well that’s what the other girls would do (secretly pleased when my brothers would pull Barbie’s head off). Oh but I hated PINK. I preferred jeans and t-shirts over dresses (had no fashion sense). I was not what you would consider a tom boy either. Arts and crafts and reading were my thing but I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty by digging in the mud in the name of adventure. I discovered make up and self-grooming VERY late but that was okay. All things that defined ‘girl’ culture was not something I identified with as a child. So when I birthed a daughter I was conscious of the fact that I did not want to immediately expose her to this girl world until she herself showed a preference for it. So I had her nursery painted teal (with a few pink accents here and there). Her wardrobe for the first year was predominantly neutral and probably leaned towards ‘boy’ colours. I.e reds and blues. Heck she even looked like a boy until her hair started to grow out. But I wasn’t anti girl by any means. I did get her ears pierced at 11 months and still do enjoy adorning her in cutesy dresses (the aww factor is difficult to fight).
In both mine and my husband’s view, balance was key as far as we had any control. However as any parent will understand, you lose that control much earlier on than expected. We lost parental preference just before she turned 3. At first our daughter gave us hope that she might just skip the girly phase or at least start it later. She displays a strong aversion to human dolls (freaks her and us out!), treats her ‘little baby’ doll like a stray (usually found abandoned in a corner) and has a love for pirates! Arrgh. Sure she identifies with the girl pirate (Izzy) and admires the boy pirate (Jake) and enjoys going on adventures to fight Captain Hook. Yes, hubby and I were most pleased, especially when she requested a pirate themed birthday party (the post on that is overdue- soon I promise!). But something happened as soon as she touched the 3 year mark. Probably our own fault. We took her to watch Disney’s Frozen. All the kids in school were talking about it and I didn’t want my daughter to be left out. Also we figured she was old enough to watch the entire movie and understand it. Plus point being from all that I had read it was a story about sister solidarity and not typical boy saves girl. If she was going to watch any princess movie that was the one she should start with. She was hooked and every day since we listen to her song and dance rendition of Let It Go. It is quite adorable. Her next request was to watch Rapunzel. So we watched Disney’s Tangled. She had her ‘Princess’ epiphany then. Something about Rapunzel and her long magical hair and that tower with of course the vagabond turned hero who saves her, clicked with her. It even topped Frozen on her list. So when we went to the Disney store she immediately wanted a Rapunzel dress. The rest is history. Princesses, watch out the Toddler Queen is here to stay (for now).
I admit I was getting a little anxious about this onslaught of princess fervor, but then I came across this article and it helped me put my unwarranted concerns into perspective. What is my problem with pink, princesses and everything girly? If my aim is for her to have a balanced childhood exposed to both ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ oriented play things, without thinking one is superior than the other than why make an issue of just the pink thing? By purposely avoiding it I am hereby saying it is something to look down on; insulting it in the process. Just because someone (male or female) likes something overtly feminine doesn’t make them inferior in any way, nor does liking something masculine make them any superior. Perhaps because our generation is supposed to be ‘leaning in’ fighting to be a part of the ‘boys club’ we inadvertently play down the things which come naturally to many girls. It is a confusing time trying to process all these labels that try to define us, from the time of the Traditionalists to the Millennial’s. Parenting is stressful as it is with the onslaught of trending ‘how to raise your kids’ article, telling us what to do and what not to do that really at the end of the day you have to know when to stop and say enough. After a tiring day filled with tantrums I really don’t have the energy to fight for some ideology that perhaps made up my childhood but doesn’t necessarily play a role in my daughters. Who is this fight for? I already won mine. I exercised my choice as a youth and now so can my child. If she chooses Pirates over Princesses one day and Princesses over Pirates the next, then good for her. We all rooted for Reese Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde didn’t we? 😉
The modern day princess has come a long way. She is not prissy and petulant but independent and fights dragons. I would like to think of my daughter as just that. So go ahead reclaim your inner princess my love, after all that is what your name means 😉
(Left) Hairband by unknown (Karachi)
Tinkerbell Tutu by Disney Store
(Right) Rapunzel dress by Disney Store
Rapunzel hair by Disney Store
For an excellent collection of modern day princess books check out:
A Mighty Girl’s Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess