The Friday before Christmas Maya came home with a little holiday gift (I'm not sure whether it was from her teachers or from the Santa that came to visit the school). The bag contained a little finger puppet (a dragon, which she called an alligator and adored) and a book.
She went bananas over it. At first I thought it was because of the masks (masks are fun, and we would hold our fingers over our eyes as "masks" as we read) . . . but soon I realized no, it wasn't the mask, it was the princesses.
Princesses! (please imagine me saying princesses! the exact same way Seinfeld says Newman!)
Prior to this book, Maya had never encountered a princess. We don't really watch tv, we didn't have any princessy books, and the thought of dress up gowns or shoes were laughable given her motor issues. Here Maya, let's put on layers of poofy dress and plastic kitten heels and run around!
I was cool with the lack of princesses because, on principle, I don't like them. They're too thin and too perfect and too appearance oriented and too girly. I've never been girly. I love the fact that Maya's favorite things include alligators and dinosaurs, that she doesn't mind dirt. I didn't want to introduce princesses as a standard of what makes girls good-beauty and dresses and pretty hair (and often, some codependency, it seems).
But damned if she didn't flip her little lid over the princess book. She would grab my index finger and put my finger on a princess and wait, her code for "Name this, Mommy." And I would say "Belle, Tiana, Ariel" etc . . . and sure enough, now she knows their names. She's in love with them. (And secretly, I kind of liked that she was into them. It's very "typical little girl," and I like that if other girls had princess backpacks or whatever Maya would recognize them and share that interest.)
I didn't embrace the princess trend the way I embraced the alligators . . . I didn't want to discourage it, but I didn't want to overly encourage it, either. We visited the "princess store" (Disney Store) but didn't buy any princess action figures or gear.
Then we inherited a bag of hand-me-downs filled with princess stuff. A chair, a coat, a hat, cups, etc. Maya was in heaven . . . and I started to cross over to the dark side.
You may have noticed the princess chair in this picture on the Facebook page:
. . . as it turns out, it's much easier to get her to sit in one spot (for a snack, or a book) if I can say "Go sit in the princess chair."
Then there's the coat. When I first saw it I laughed, "Oh my. She might have to join the Ice Capades if she wears that jacket." Dave thought she looked like one of the Pink Ladies from Grease. I thought maybe we would just wear it around the house.
so happy that she wouldn't stand still enough for a picture
. . . but, as it turns out, she's happy to put on the princess coat and head out the door. (Whereas putting on her normal coat sometimes involves some serious wrestling maneuvers.)
And then there's the princess hat . . .
. . . aka "the only hat to have ever remained on her head for more than five consectutive minutes."
What can I do? She's going to love them anyway. I'm feeling very if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em.
Well, mostly join 'em. I didn't buy her princess bedding because I knew she would love jungle animal bedding just as much. We still only have the one princess book. And I'm going to talk a lot about how the princesses are kind and share and use manners and sit still for their haircuts and . . . wait, what now?
Yes, when Maya was unenthused about getting a haircut today I may have leaned over into her stroller and whispered, "Don't you want to go get your haircut like a princess?!"
I mean, I may as well make it work to my advantage, right?
Princess Maya, post-haircut
(PS-We also streamed a princess movie last night. She was over the moon excited (clip below) but lost interest after about 2 minutes. I think that's a happy compromise.)