Sunday, July 12, 2009

Et tu, tutu?

Last Monday found me at Target, my child standing in the cart and urging us onward like some baby General Lafayette, if said general were searching for tutus.


Who was this kid? One day she's begging to go outside and eat dirt, and the next she's listing off the names of Disney's princess clique and demanding their wardrobe. What was confusing is that we don't own a single princess movie, but after spending a week with her cousin in Maine where I think the word princess was said about 8,476 times, I knew she was a goner. Add that to her parents' day out program where she learns terms like "Whoopsie!" when she whips off her diaper and drops it on the floor, it seemed the inevitable Disneyfication had begun. And honestly, why fight it? Her mama wears mascara to the farmers market and considers 4 inch heels practical, so I figure I'm the biggest hypocrite in the world for trying to deny what's in her blood.

Still. My skin crawled when we entered the pepto Barbie aisle, and I quickly searched for the least offensive concoction of frills and tulle. I found a blue fairy dress - with wings! This was a big plus as Harlow wanted to fly as well as rule a kingdom, so I proudly showed her my find. She gestured for me to hand it to her, and she narrowed her eyes, her fingers moving straight to a small plastic brooch affixed to the bodice. Inside was the picture of a comely brunette.

"Who's that?" she asked.

I had no idea.


She stared at me, and I KNEW that she knew I was BS'ing her, but it somehow it passed muster. We came home, and I helped Harlow wiggle into her brunette kid sister of Tinkerbell dress, handed her Majesty the paper crown her father scotch taped together for her, and we stood on the front porch, holding hands.

She turned to me and pointed to the sky.

"Fly!" she demanded.

Ok, I said, spreading my arms wide and doing my best seagull.

She stared at me, those huge blue eyes narrowing in frustration. She stamped her foot. (She was getting this princess thing down cold. )

"No!" she insisted. "FLY!"

She reached up on her tippy toes and hopped, looking like a baby bird about to make the leap from the nest. I felt a sudden pain in my chest. How to tell her what I knew would break her heart?

"Honey, we can't fly. We're not made that way. But we can pretend!" Again, I spread my arms wide and flapped like crazy lady dancing to ragtime on her front porch.

She burst into tears.

I wondered if Amelia Earhart took to running around the family lawn with a pair of pipe cleaner wings, determined to prove everybody wrong. I wondered how much it hurt her parents to tell her what they knew to be true.

I gathered up my little sobbing princess and carried her inside, wishing that one day she might prove me wrong.


Beverly said...

oh, she will....she will....being a mom is great, eh?

natalie said...

This is beautiful, heartbreaking, hilarious and awesome. You've got a fantastic little girl, there.

Joe said...