For the last two years, my almost-5-year-old daughter has gone through life thinking that she is a Real Princess, waiting for that magical day when a prince discovers her and is so overtaken by her beauty that he gives her the Kiss of True Love and spirits her off to her rightful home, which is (naturally) a gigantic, jewel-encrusted castle.
Here are but a few gems that my flaxen-haired little royal has uttered:
“Mommy, how is a Real Prince going to fall in love with me when I is only a child?” (spoken, of course, with the woe begotten melodrama of Cinderella right before she races off to the garden, flings herself on a stone bench and weeps her despairing little heart out)
“Mommy, I’m going to sleep in my wedding dress. That way, if a prince comes and throws rocks at my window, I can marry him right away.”
“Mommy, where can I find a prince who is only 4 years old like me? I need a young prince.”
“When I go to Disney Land, I’m going to ask Sleeping Beauty to see if her prince has any prince friends who will want to marry a little girl.”
“When I get married, I’m going to change my name, too. But only a little bit. I’m going to change it to Princess Maddux Phillips.”
So, you see what I’m working with here. A kid who wanted to be Pippi Longstocking or run away with a traveling Shakespearean troupe, I could deal with. I mean, I was expecting my kid to want to build a time machine or a moon rocket or even be a Russian double agent. These are all things I can work with. But what do you tell a kid who thinks that she’s going to become a princess at the age of 16?
When my stepdaughter was Maddi’s age and Maddi was a wee thing, we pronounced the occasional “Princess Day” — where we’d dress in our finest frippery and go do girlie things — to get some baby-free quality time. Of course, baby-free time is harder to come by when you have lots and LOTS of babies, so it took a few years before we were able to swing a Princess Day for Mads. But last Thursday was the day!
I asked her weeks ahead of time what she’d like to do. A tea party? Get our nails done? Make some personalized kiddie jewelry?
Apparently, what Princess Maddux wanted to do on her royal day was to crawl through tunnels and climb rope ladders at EnergyPlex. (Who knew?) And so it was decreed.
We spent the better part of two hours getting red-faced and plastered with perspiration in a human Habitrail with what seemed like 500 rotten 8-year-old boys (none of whom were princes) azithromycin online. Then we hit the mall — sweaty hair and clothes notwithstanding — for a trip to Claire’s for some princess loot and a kids’ hot chocolate at Starbucks.
I have to admit I was quite relieved that while Maddux has invested quite heavily in the princess-industrial complex’s gender myths and manufactured expectations, she can still enjoy some good tomboy fun. All is not lost!
At the end of the day, as I tucked her in, she flung herself on her bed with the characteristic princessy sigh and proclaimed, “Today was the best day ever, Mommy!”
And then she asked me for a story about her and Jack Skellington and an evil vampire, in which Jack tricks the vampire into going to the sun right before he bites Maddi’s neck, and she marries Jack Skellington, and he turns into a handsome prince.
Yep, that’s my girl.
The future Princess Maddux Phillips