Everyday lives of the Meabon Household

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Tidal Wave of the Princesses

It started with a tiny little ripple.  The waves were so small that you might not see them unless you looked hard enough.  That was back in March - Easter weekend to be exact.  Potty training had recommenced and was in full swing.  I had created a sticker chart to map out the Squirrel's progress and pasted it right in front of the potty seat so she could see her success every time she went.  I stopped in Target to grab stickers for the chart.  The dollar bins were full of sticker sheets - score!  I reached in and grabbed a huge assortment - smiley faces, hearts, Alice in Wonderland, dinosaurs, 101 Dalmatians, stars, Disney Princesses, farm animals, zoo animals.  A variety of assortment, right?  But did you catch it?  Oh, it was in there.  Sneaking in while I unsuspectingly purchased away.

The waves began to build momentum.  Not a huge amount of force but enough to feel if you were floating out on the ocean.  Enough to rock you up, down, up, down, up, down in the rhythmic movement of the waves.  Success on the potty!  Stickers each time.  The Squirrel would go to her cabinet, open it up, lay all of her stickers out and pick out just the perfect one to celebrate her success.  She began with the stars and smiley faces.  Soon the dinosaurs took over - that was no surprise.  Then it became a slow mix of each different type of sticker.  But they were there all along, smiling at her with those seductive eyes, those sparkles and shiny teeth.  Cinderella was the first to be selected.  She was placed on the sticker chart at random, not much thought put into it.  But she was there, smiling out at The Squirrel through every potty attempt.  Just tempting her, waiting for her moment to strike.  

A few successes later and Tiana was selected.  Joining forces with Cinderella and adding to the waves as they built momentum.  You could now see them if you were flying over head in a plane, their white frothy foam showing the speed and force they were gaining.  Sleeping Beauty - she was next, pink dress, coy glance over her shoulder.  She knew what she was doing as those little hands placed her, this time, with care in just the right spot.  And then they came in rapid succession, all other stickers being forgotten.

"Which sticker are you going to pick this time?" I'd innocently ask.

"A princess sticker!" she proclaim, proud of her potty success.  Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine...they were flying up with such speed, I didn't know what was happening.  And then, they lulled her in - those dazzling colorful dresses and cascading curls.  The questions started as we sat and waited for the tinkle to come each time.

"What's her name Mommy?  The one in the blue?  Tell me Mommy, tell me about the princesses."

What choice did I have?  How could I turn my back on that curious little mind?  So I'd tell her their names and a tiny little tidbit I knew.

"Oh, that red head.  Her name is Ariel and she swims in the sea.  Don't you want to be a strong swimmer this summer?  We'll go to the pool" I'd add, as if I could redirect her little mind away from the princess and to something productive and useful.

The waves are now full strength, a surfer's paradise, building momentum with each interaction.  Woosh, woosh, woosh!  We had a bump in the potty training road.  Harper stopped tinkling.  I mean it.  She STOPPED tinkling.  Like, altogether decided she wasn't going to do it anymore.  Oh, she had to go.  You could see those little toes curling, her eyes watering, her legs dancing as she held it in but for 24 hours, not a single drop, not a single accident, not even in her sleep.  She held that tinkle with all her might.  What was I to do?  I begged, I pleaded, I tried reasoning with her.  And then, I caved.  Bribery - a mother's best friend and worst enemy.  Dinosaurs - no.  A new twirly dress - no.  A fun new cup and plate - no.  Ugh, do I go there?  Don't do it.....don't do it......don't do it......a Cinderella doll -she took pause, her eyes lit up.
"A Cinda-wewwa doll?" she asked.  Oh crap.  It was out of my mouth....and she was interested.

"Yes Harper.  A Cinderella doll.  If you'll just tinkle on the potty, Mommy will buy you a Cinderella doll."

And the tidal wave of flashing tiaras, sparkly princess dresses, shiny hair, glitter, songs and magic wands came crashing down over me, my child, my house and my being, engulfing me....we are now a Disney Princess house.  NOOOOOO!!!!!  But when you see delight and excitement in the eyes of that sweet little face, how can you turn away?  And no, I didn't stop with just the doll.  The Squirrel now owns a full on Cinderella dress to match her Cinderella doll....which she puts on the minute she wakes up, along with her clickety-clackety high heels and tiara.  The heels and tiara were already in her dress up box but had been previously ignored until now.  Now she is completely aware of them.  Cinderella sleeps in bed with her, joins us for meals at the dinner table, is best buds with T-Rex.  She is everywhere.

I was recently asked what I had against Disney Princesses.  I know, I know.  I'm a total hypocrite.  Your talking to the girl that was a princess EVERY YEAR for Halloween for 5 years, refusing to be anything but a beautiful princess.  But after I passed those tender years of innocence, I have become somewhat of a feminist.  Now that I have a little girl of my own, I don't want her thinking she can only be successful with a Prince Charming in her life - that she must be saved by a man for her dreams to come true.  I don't want her thinking that beauty is the only way to success in this world. I want her to grow up valuing things like books, science, math, her brain - knowing that an education is going to be her ticket in this world, not skipping through a forest waiting for someone to save her.

Don't even get me started on Disney's unabashed flaunting of these characters on everything from diapers to fruit to bicycles just to make an extra dollar.  It gets under my skin that my child wants the super sugary cereal over the delicious healthy one just because it has Sleeping Beauty plastered all over it (not that she gets the super sugary cereal in case you were wondering).  And when did they make the Disney Princesses sexy?  Have you see them lately?  Cinderella's neckline has plunged, her bosom has expanded and she looks like she's had lip injections.  Why, oh why, are they making them look like Real Housewives?

But maybe I'm thinking a little too deep on this one.  I admit, it is pretty funny to watch her prance around in her gown and heels with T-Rex in a choke hold, placing a tiara on her little brother's head as she says, "I'm Cinderella and you're Belle." My battle now will be moderation.  Okay Disney Princesses, come on in but only in moderation.

4 comments:

Janet said...

You never know Harper may just become the first Cinderella the Paleontologist we have ever known!
I love the mix of fancy and all things dinosaur.
I love that precious little girl...
Love,
Honey

Kira Willingham said...

Ha ha! Not one mother, worth her salt, is above bribery to make the pee pee in the potty happen... I cannot tell you how much dinero I have contributed to the lightening McQueen Disney/Pixar gold mine. Worth.every.penny!!!

Karen said...

Do you have the book Princess Dinosaur? We read it the other night and I thought of Harper. So cute!

Erica V. Ellis said...

I'm a product of a Disney upbringing, back then the dresses & dolls weren't as prevalent as they are now, but to say I am apart of a Disney "family" is an understatement. I don't think fairytales are the worst thing a little girl can hope for...Belle reads...lots of books in fact ;)
ADORABLE post, by the way!