Whenever I go about trying to explain my childhood- I don’t ever want to describe it as anything other than perfectly normal. No, I wasn’t into fairies or princesses or imagining my dream wedding to prince charming; I liked climbing trees and belching, catching frogs and stomping in mud puddles- and I have to thank my mother for that. We are all flawed individuals, and she was not the perfect mother- but she allowed me the freedom to be whomever I wanted, and play with whatever I wanted to, and never pushed “girly” stuff on me just because it was what I was “supposed” to play with. Sure, I loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but not for the dresses- I loved the library. I thought Aladdin was pretty kick ass (and I might even admit to having a crush on him; yes, an animated character)- but I was more interested in the flying carpet, the pet tiger, and WISHES.
I can’t imagine who I would be today if I’d been forced to have tea parties and play with dolls instead of having that freedom to express myself.
Of course, I wanted to allow that same freedom to my children so they would have the same opportunity to REALLY find who they are instead of being pigeonholed into something just because it is meant for their gender. I could be stifling the next great decorator, or designer, or inventor. You really just never know.
I was SO excited when Parker asked to meet the princesses at Disney World last year– not because I would be living out my childhood fantasy of being a Disney Princess- but because it seemed like there was just so little for boys to do there compared to girls. Sure, there are plenty of characters- but the only ones who can TRULY interact are the ones without giant plush heads, and when it comes to male-oriented ones? Slim to none. That’s a really special experience that it seemed like boys would simply have to miss out on because, let’s be honest, what little boys REALLY want to go out of their way to meet princesses?
I’d like to take credit for how open he is- and maybe I can for part of it- but the boy is so little that he doesn’t care about what is “for” girls or boys- he just knows that he likes things and wants to do them, and who am I to tell him no? So you want a fingernail painted? Sure, why the hell not? Why should only girls get to be colorful?
Why not meet princesses? Why should it just be a girl thing? And who knows if he’d EVER want to do it again- it could have been a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’d said no to because it was “for girls”- and because I said yes, it opened up an entire new world of Disney to him, and to his brother. All the Disney princess movies, which to me, seemed like things they wouldn’t be interested in before- became movies they ASKED to watch, and instantly loved.
All that time I thought I wouldn’t get to share things I loved in my childhood because I had boys and boys wouldn’t be interested in “girly” things, even though I wasn’t even all that girly- and all that time I’d been wrong. I just had to give them the chance.
Upon returning to Disney World last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew how special the last trip was when Parker, out of nowhere, planted a kiss on Rapunzel- but I didn’t want to FORCE him to meet princesses again just because I wanted to ramble on and on about how sweet it is. Just like I don’t want to force my children INTO gender stereotypes, I don’t want to force them OUT of them either- if that makes any sense.
The kid has an intense love of characters (well, minus a few he refused to get within 5 feet of)- but never do his eyes light up the way they do when he meets a Princess who talks directly to him.
Maybe in a year or two, he won’t remember any of these very special moments…
… and of course I hope that it shows him it doesn’t matter what people say- we can do whatever the hell we want, even if we are the ONLY boys in line (or girls) and the other people are giving us strange looks- but no matter what, the moment I will remember for the rest of my life, even if he doesn’t- is the moment he begged to meet Cinderella, and she asked him to dance
I absolutely still believe that Disney truly does contain magic; and I believe that princesses are NOT just for girls.
@anninabyrne He mentioned something about penis trampolines. I don't even know.
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@SassyPsychDoc "It seemed like a good idea at the time"
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10yo: What is calculus? Me: It's you + me = us Husband: get out. #oldpeoplejokes
Bravery AND confidence pic.twitter.com/voqjVXWgZx