Today, while she was playing make-believe in the space between the open bathroom door and linen closet (Anna’s castle, of course) a spark I’d tried to ignite many times finally began to catch fire in her rapidly growing little brain.
Many times I’ve told her, “You’re brave. You’re strong. You can take care of things for yourself.” I’ve never outright told her, “You don’t need a man,” because frankly, I need my man. I want her to value her father, grandfathers and uncles. But I worry about the long-term effects of her princess obsession, and whether or not she’ll be hesitant to participate in sports or apply herself in class because she’s afraid of what some boy will think.
We’ve allowed her to watch princess movies, and have some princess toys, all the while engaging in a continual dialog about inner beauty, values and self-sufficiency. After she shouted from the balcony of the castle in our local kids’ museum, “I’m just waiting for a prince to save me!,” I began to worry we’d taken the wrong course of action. We should have just banned it all from the beginning.
But today, something magical happened. A tiny light began to appear at the end of the pink princess tunnel. She raced into the kitchen and excitedly informed me that she had just gotten out of the dungeon (in the castle behind the bathroom door). “Honey, why didn’t you tell me you were in the dungeon?,” I asked her. “I would have come to help you.” (Because what mom doesn’t want their daughter to think she’s a superhero?)
She gave me a quizzical look and declared, “Mom, I can rescue myself!” :-)