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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Her Royal Wish

As a little giraffe, she insisted on being carried through most of the Boo Zoo, pulling off the hood to the costume each time I replaced it.

I borrowed a ladybug pullover and crafted the tutu myself, watching her run towards flickering jack o’ lanterns, glittered red tulle sparkling in the dusk.

Last year we fashioned a fairy costume from wings and tulle and glitter that found its way into our hair and clothes and fingernails for days.  I found a star shaped wand, but she insisted on the pumpkin.

This year, I hesitated. I asked what she wanted to be on Mondays and Tuesdays and Fridays, wavering between admiration for her staunch opinion and a churning mix of emotions about that opinion. Each time, she answered:

“A princess.”

And not just any princess.

“Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Belle or Tianna.”

A Disney Princess.

A princess drawn with shiny hair and wide eyes, a tiny waist and delicate features. A princess always paired with a heroic prince and a happily ever after.

What messages am I sending?  What is she hearing?

When she slides her small feet into my shoes, does she imagine a glass slipper? When I wield a blow dryer and a brush against my hair, does she picture the careful coif of a waltzing girl, waiting to be made a princess?

I offered to transform a black leotard and layers of tulle into a bee. “Cute! Maybe next year, after I am a princess.” I steered her towards an ice cream cone. “Mitt the Mouse is wearing that one.” I found a little pink fleece…something…maybe an elephant, before her glance aged ten years into the face of a teenager, complete with rolled eyes and an audible sigh.


Then the text came, from a well-meaning friend: Disney princesses on sale.

I let her try it on, knowing I was giving in. Airy white and blue tulle, painted with silver swirls of glitter, ribbon-adorned sleeves puffing from her shoulders, sparkles reflecting light into the mirror, sparkles framing a face of pure joy.

“Mommy! It’s perfect. The mice will love it!”

So relieved she didn’t mention a prince, I acquiesced, not only buying it but purchasing a size that leaves room for years of balls and tea parties and more lessons about appreciating the inner sparkles as well as the ones littering our closet floor.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED
the prompt:
For Tuesday, reach back to a costume that made an impression.

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  • At October 25, 2011 at 6:47 AM , Anonymous Alison@Mama Wants This said...

    She's already a perfect princess - without the costume :) Sweet, angelic and beautiful.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM , Anonymous vinobaby said...

    What is it with little girls and princesses?  The Disney princess world seems to pull them in no matter what parents try.  Let her inner sparkles shine--loved that last line.


  • At October 25, 2011 at 9:11 AM , Anonymous Evonne said...

    Such a sweet princess!

    Enjoy it because if she's anything like my daughter, in a few years she'll want to be a dark and twisty vampire or zombie.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 9:22 AM , Anonymous CDG said...

    We all worry about the messages we let our kids absorb, but here's the thing, sparkles and fairy tales are lovely and wonderful--of course she wants to be part of that. But her Mama is a smart, strong woman with a smart, strong partner and that's what she'll grow up learning. 

    The little bit  of tulle and glitter and waltzing? That's just icing.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM , Anonymous Alison@Mommy is a Power Ranger said...

    Aw, she looks so pretty as Cinderella.  My daughter was Belle the past 2 Halloweens and she couldn't have cared less (she's almost 3 now).  I guess I still love the Disney Princesses more than my kids do.  I love your post, especially the part about the inner sparkles.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    She looks so darling!

    I still want a princess dress. :) 

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM , Anonymous Nichole said...

    You're such a great mom for letting her explore who she is and what makes her happy. That is sometimes my biggest challenge as a mom.

    We sooo need to get our girls together. They (we) would have so much fun.

    She is so lovely, my friend. 

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    If you came to hang out, you could wear one of Abbey's.  It might not fit, but you would wear one anyway...not that I'm speaking from experience!

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:16 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Between 2 and 3 is when Abbey started to fall IN LOVE with them.  Probably next year, your daughter will be dying to be Belle!

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I hope so much this is true.  It's hard, because I don't want to emphasize the "pretty," but at the same time, I want her to love and appreciate that part of being a girl, too.  Balance, right?

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Ha, ha.  And then I will get worried about that, I'm sure.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's amazing how it sucks them in :)  She has so many inner sparkles, and I want her to be just as proud of them as she is her pretty, pretty princess dress!

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:19 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Alison!  Angelic makes me giggle, though; she has such feisty moments.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 1:38 PM , Anonymous Renee said...

    She's adorable! And really, it's just a dress. All that is her is in those eyes and that smile.
    (at least there's no sweaty plastic face covering mask. I had one of those once. Cinderella. Yuck)

  • At October 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    she's a perfect princess. PERFECT.
    I am all about feminism but Ang, wanting to be a Princess, right now, is what she should want to be.  You are the most amazing mom because I know that Abbey will never not know where her strength are. How she is more than a dress or a wand or waiting on a prince.

    She is YOUR Princess, look at any Disney girl (and I should know because I did a Senior Paper on them too..oh yes I did) and you see Strong, Strong Willed, Beautiful girls who save themselves MORE than any prince does.
    They have the "Fairytale" inside themselves all along. Plus they are PRETTY and floaty and sparkly...and that is how Abbey should feel right now.

    she looks gorgeous...(and a perfect match for Gio or Jacob!) xoxoxo

  • At October 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM , Anonymous Elaine A. said...

    I can understand these feelings.  But she looks so adorable and you know it's what she wanted so much that well, you just have to let her wear it, right?  

    She makes a beautiful princess, my friend. xo

  • At October 25, 2011 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

    I am glad you let her do this. They don't even get the whole fallacy of the princess thing at that age. They just want to be magical. Also? Sage got rid of all her dress up clothes already and never plays with any of the disney princess stuff she got. I am not sad about this at all!

  • At October 25, 2011 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    When my daughter (2nd one) was little she loved (and still does) Snow White. She was Natalie's absolute favorite and because of that I made her a Snow White costume. It was so much work! But she loved it and it was worth it... we still have the costume too!

  • At October 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM , Anonymous Nancy C said...

    Lovely, friend. Being the mother of sons, this is a battle I don't have to fight. 

    But I understand the struggle. And you capture it so perfectly in that last line. 

    The glitter works so well as a symbol. 

  • At October 25, 2011 at 9:55 PM , Anonymous mayger said...

    Their perspective is always so interesting.  We see the world through eyes that have been altered by life experiences.  Sometimes kids really are just about the talking mice and pumpkin carriage.  She is a cutie!~May

  • At October 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM , Anonymous Eatlivelaughshop said...

    It is fleeting.  My daughter wanted nothing but princess dresses for a few years and now laughs at how silly it is / was. I miss those sweet years of glitter and tulle and sparkles. Though I also think she is quite cute now wearing jeans and t-shirts and not caring what anyone thinks. 

  • At October 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM , Anonymous Brittany at Mommy Words said...

    You know I think it is fine.  It has taken me awhile but princesses are not all bad...they just don;t get to eat a lot right?  They are so super busy doing good and helping people and yes, preparing for balls that these days raise tons of money for charity or bring world leaders together.  I'm okay with that now.  All of the sparkles and gowns are just plain fun and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a beautiful princess.  She is absolutely precious and the mice will certainly adore her.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 11:00 PM , Anonymous Mama Track said...

    This is such a hard issue.I can totally understand how you struggle with it. I think a single princess costume will be okay, mom. I do.  But I understand your concerns.

  • At October 25, 2011 at 11:25 PM , Anonymous Juliecgardner said...

    I have always been mindful of messages - and yet. My little girl was Cinderella, Tinkerbell, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid.

    She wore them for Halloween and dress up for years. To pretend, to play, to dream. 

    I couldn't say no.

    And now she is 12 and (shockingly) unconcerned about fashion or her hair or her appearance. 

    Because even though she played pretend princess, in real life her role models were not mirror-obsessed, acquiescent, subservient "ladies" depending on men.

    You are giving her a real life of substance. So her fantasy life, her pretend and dress-up time will be just that: a fairy tale.


  • At October 25, 2011 at 11:42 PM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

    I can totally see the concern here. Though, I admit, being a mom to 3 boys, I wish I had a girl to do the princess thing with. ;)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    And I breathe out :)  I think I worry too much about the slippery slope.  Especially because I am currently sitting in my jammies, still, not a gown, so she is definitely being exposed to real women :)

    It was a little bit tough to make the decision, but I'm glad I gave in.  She is so happy, and it's just a dress :)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:09 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I have to try to remember that even without the dress, she would pretend to be a princess.  She walks on her "high heels" (tip toes in case you couldn't tell) all the time, and makes crowns and wands out of everything :)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you :)  Of course she also blends fairies and princesses together in her head, and she thinks they do magic, too.  Maybe they do...I've never know a princess ;)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    That was one of my main motivators in just letting her do it.  Next year I don't know what she'll want to be or the year after.  I think I would have eventually felt regret about it if I wouldn't have let her do it!

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You're right; I am looking at it with eyes that have seen so much more than hers.  She just sees little talking mice and a sparkly dress.  Who can argue with those things?

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I'm glad it is a good symbol, because I will never, ever get it out of everything.  Glitter costumes, glitter crafts, glitter just for fun :)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    They (we) would have a blast. 

    It is not easy for me.  She is stubborn, and I am stubborn, and there will be epic battles in years to come.  Possibly in days to come :(

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:20 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    In-laws?  Squeee!

    I'm absolutely cool with her wanting to be a magic, gorgeous princess, as long as she knows she can find that without a prince, until she is READY for a prince.

    Though now I want her to dream about the adorable Lil McSteamy or Lil McDreamy...

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:21 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Elaine!  I know in a couple of years, I will WISH this was my biggest concern :)

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You're right.  I need to remember not to transfer my issues with it onto her.  I don't even think she understands the "prince" part of it.  She's never seen the movies, and her favorite book talks about things like them riding horses and solving problems like that.

    I am sure that one day I will look back on this and love that she is so happy about it!

  • At October 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh, I LOVE that you made it and still have it.  I can barely make a curtain.  Never get rid of that.  She will cherish it beyond words one day.


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