A funny and interesting post by one of my favorite mommy writers over at a place called Wonderland describes the range of conflicting emotions the princess craze brings out in the parents of little girls. Some rail against the stereotypes of beauty and dependence, others find role models in the stories of the always kind-hearted and persevering - if unassertive - princesses.
I've been there, pushing the shopping cart behind a toddler click-clacking in her plastic Cinderella slippers, reading bedtime stories to the five-year-old in her Sleeping Beauty nightgown, biting my tongue at the places where I desperately wanted to proselytize about Snow White's unbelievable gullibility or Ariel's ridiculous sacrifice for a guy she barely knew. (You think he'd give up his legs for her?)
But my strongest objection was always editorial; those Disney princess books were among the most poorly written children's books we ever came across. There were sentences that made me cringe; entire passages in which every sentence seemed to begin with an adverb. Determinedly, we set out to find better alternatives. We found versions of Cinderella from every corner of the world, reflecting a wide range of cultural differences. We read the original The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, a strangely violent tale that doesn't resemble the Disney version in the least. And Petite Rouge, A Cajun Red Riding Hood is still one of our all-time favorites.
Anyway, my point is... don't sweat the princess years too much. They go by very quickly.
Save your strength for this:
(That's me in the background shrieking "Where did my little princess go?")
© 2007 P.M. Dunnigan/Suburban Kamikaze