Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Princess and the Pee Pee

Em and her beloved Savtah (Grandma)

I don’t remember ever going through a “princess stage,” as a young girl. I remember a distinct “Madonna” stage, circa 1984, when I was about nine years old. I can’t even begin to imagine what my teachers must have thought of my wearing lace gloves and pleather pants to school. I also remember a “Preppy” stage -  it was ALL ABOUT the izod shirts and pink jeans and friendship pins and feathered hair (which I failed miserably at achieving). And as much as I’d like to forget, I still remember my (much later in life) “Grunge” phase, which I now believe made me look like a reclusive woodsman, sans the crazy bushy beard. But mostly I remember going through the “I will wear whatever my older sister has handed down to me,” stage.

But dressing like a princess? I can guess that as a young child, dressing up like Cinderella (post-fairy-godmother-makeover) never really appealed to me. I couldn’t climb trees or play ball very easily in a tutu and tiara, after all. Function over fashion was my motto.

Which is maybe partly why Emmy’s very passionate “princess stage” is driving me coo-coo crazy. She insists on wearing a tutu to school, paired with just the right leggings and just the right pink (has to be pink!!!) frilly shirt. This morning she had a mini-tantrum about her purple pants that had been JUST FINE BY HER two weeks ago. I thought I had convinced her that her pretty, flouncy shirt was long enough to qualify as a dress, but when we got to school the first thing she said to her teacher was, “I’m not wearing a princess skirt,” in a woe-is-me voice, while giving me the evil eye.

She’s two and a half years old! If we are having these kinds of issues when she’s just a toddler, I can only IMAGINE what our arguments over clothing will be like when she’s, say, 14 years old. This is gonna be FUN, folks!

The thing is, I WANT Emmy to develop her own sense of style. I WANT her to take pleasure and to feel confident in the clothes she wears, even now, at such a young age. I want her to be her most authentic self. So why do I take such issue when her whole authentic self wants to dress like a Disney character?

I mean, if my daughter was going through a robot phase, and wanted to dress like a robot every day, would I protest? I honestly would probably think it was super cute, and would likely be fine with making sure her silver shirts and pants were always washed and available for her to wear.

I guess, in my head, wanting to look like a princess seems so PREDICTABLE, and so unimaginative.  And I equate wanting to look like a princess with wanting to ACT like a princess (pampered, not wanting to break a nail, etc.), which I really don’t want to condone as a parent.

But does dressing like a princess automatically make a little girl ACT like a princess? Probably not. In Emmy’s case, it mostly inspires her to want to do twirly dances until she gets dizzy.

So should I just chill out and check my princess prejudices at the door, and support my daughter’s obsession with looking like royalty? Should I rejoice in Em’s ability to express her uniqueness (even though it’s not so unique), and stop trying to convince her that jeans are super fun to wear? I know there has to be some sort of middle ground here, where I don’t force her to wear overalls, but also don’t have to let her wear a tutu ALL THE TIME (she even wants to wear them to bed).

Have you dealt with this or similar drama? Any words of wisdom to share?

Ah, yes, before I forget, I have to also talk about Pee Pee. Em is doing amazingly well at potty training! She seems to be taking the job very seriously, and seems to be getting excited about becoming a “big girl” – she even mentioned not needing her “massy” (pacifier) for bedtime last night. Of course, that sentiment lasted about two minutes, but it is still great progress… I couldn’t be prouder of my.. ahem.. princess! 


  1. Let Emmy be Emmy, You spent your childhood pretzeling into what Arielle demanded you to be. Emmy has a sense of herself - her strongest desires today will be gone tomorrow. You have a strong understanding of what is good and what is bad. You correct Emmy gently,, guide her, don't push. It's trying to mold a child into something she isn't., is the problem. It's unsettling when a child appears to be counter to what your vision is. She has to feel you love her no mqtter what. Be gentle with yourself -you are loved.


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