All posts tagged: princess

What Came First: the Princess or the Girl?

It’s not just that my son loves Disney princesses. He loves the entire kit ‘n caboodle of what society would label (unfairly) “girly” stuff. Purple lollipops. (Not just any lollipop.) Sparkly tutus Barbie pink dream cars Cotton candy Fancy Nancy Glitter this Sequined that Pinkalicious Pink everything Purple everything It comes as a package. Walking down the street, he’s got a focused attention to detail that’s both annoying and astounding. He loves all dogs, but seeing a King Charles Spaniel is all the cuter. (And it’s TRUE! King Charles Spaniels are cuter…than labs or regular spaniels or golden doodles.) It’s a fascinating cliché. Listen, I don’t want to put anyone in boxes. And it drives me crazy when people make assumptions about any of my tastes (even if they’re right.) So I try to accept that a girl can be equally inspired by Lego’s as by Elena of Avalor. (Oh, you haven’t heard of Elena? You’re missing out on Disney’s cornering of the Latina market.) And I think boys could choose a red crayon just …

Screw Normal. Dresses are Fun.

So I wrote in another piece how I often want to say to my son, “Just be a normal boy!” (Disclaimer: I don’t actually say that to him.) And since I talk about this, frequently, with more people than the ½ dozen who read this blog, I’ve had a lot of conversations that checked/schooled/inspired/calmed me. A few that put me at ease and reminded me that my “issues” with my kid’s “issues” are really just my issues. Last year, when I visited a childhood friend in suburban Denver, I gave him a heads-up that my eldest son might want to wear a dress. So my friend gave his own three sons a heads-up: “Guys? So this little boy is coming and he might wear a dress. You guys know that’s ok, right?.” Their response? – “Duh, Dad.” (Followed by eye rolls.) I was not expecting from suburban Denver. Recently I reached out to in-laws with whom we spend a lot of time. Neither they nor their kids had ever acknowledged the fact that my older …

Just Be A Normal Boy!

My kid’s complete obsession with princesses has not been a phase. It’s grown exponentially since he was 2. Anything with girls and pink and sparkles grabs his attention…from Strawberry Shortcake (shoot me, now) to My Little Pony (trample me, now.) Is this a genetic thing for kids (boys and girls)? An as-yet-undiscovered “pink frills” gene? And my kid’s passionate expression is impressively creative: blankies become boas, sweat pants are inverted around his head to become two braids cascading down his shoulders, skirts turn into a fierce blow-out. My son is Little Edie with a skirt-turned-turban on his damn head. Sometimes I want to shout “Just Be A Normal Boy!” (Don’t worry. I stop myself.) Instead, I vent to you, here; and the monstrosity of my intolerant thoughts becomes abundantly clear…for the entire internet, instead of just for my kid. I’m sure there’ll be no repercussions, whatsoever. But I realize my problem with his choices is my own latent self-loathing. The truth is: he’s doing what I wanted to do as a kid…twirl in beach towels-as-dresses. …

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

When I Grow Up…

With one month left in the school year, my son’s school creates a yearbook. (Yes, NYC schools seem to go year-round. Eat your heart out.) For this project, class parents needed to photograph each kid. My cohort concocted the adorable idea of photographing the kids with a prop suggesting what they want to be when they grow up. My first thought was: I’m pretty sure my kid has no notion of what he wants to be when he grows up. The next morning, I polled the class. At the first table, one kid said “Firefighter!” Three boys and one girl parroted him. At another table, one girl squawked at me. Literally. Another delivered a 15-second unintelligible monologue, from which I discerned “lion” and “zoo”. Another girl replied, “Nothing.” “But what kind of job would you like to have?” I clarified. “Nothing. Like my mom. She does nothing.” I suppressed a guffaw and continued. The next girl said, “Policeman.” I gave her a high-five. The next girl said, “Sleeping Beauty.” Oh, shit. My son heard that. …

The happy meal place (or: the time I took a side of parentheses with that)

First of all, if there was any question in your minds, let me shuffle-ball-change out of the closet loud and proud: I’m a food snob. I wholeheartedly embrace Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.” When I was the perfect parent (meaning: before kids), I knew fast food would never touch the lips of my precious snowflakes. Admittedly, it’s easy to avoid fast food living in New York City. You’re never in a car, the kids haven’t fallen asleep in the back, and all food is fast. But I understand that fast food drive-thrus are a godsend…in desperate situations… zombee armageddons, heavy thunderstorms and refugees. Oh, and when Daddy flirts with jail time during a road trip due to a desperate yearning for “friesandashake” and considers* leaving the kids asleep in the backseat cuz who’s gonna know and you’ll be really fast and besides the dog’s in there with them. But we all know (don’t we???) that McD’s is responsible, in part, for the destruction of now-infertile fields from Fargo to Fresno, the …

Now I’m Scared…

It’s not very often you (well, I) say, “My greatest fears have come to pass.” But now, I’m scared. My oldest son (he of the self-proclaimed Disney Princess “excession”) got unexpectedly melancholy, this afternoon, sat on my lap and (unprompted) said, “Some kids at my school say pink is a girl’s color.” All the pink drained out of my skin pigmentation. I was crestfallen. My worry-free cherub just exposed his first sign of social suffering. I quelled suddenly-savage defensiveness and did NOT bombard him with statements like: “Buddy, pink is the BEST boy’s color!” or “You wear your pink shirt and color your pink pictures and admire pink dresses all you WANT!” I needed so badly to cover him with hugs and kisses and protect him. As with so many other moments in his 4 ½-year-old life, it felt like the beginning of the end of his innocence. Desperately measuring my response so as not to make a pink mountain out of a pink molehill, I said, “Really? That’s kind of silly, isn’t it? That …

Dear Other Dude at the Playground…

Dear Other Dude at the Playground on Saturday – I couldn’t fight the need to write you about an incident between our kids.Remember me? I was the dad with the son wearing a pink dress. Before he burst onto the playground, and as I parked the car, he was positively vibrating. I asked, “Now…you’re sure you want to wear your dress?” He shouted in response, “Yes! Because I want to show everyone how beautiful I am in this beautiful dress!” It was a big deal for him; and for me. He hasn’t asked to wear a dress “out,” before. I didn’t fight it. Who cares, right? Or so we’d like to think. As you noticed, he couldn’t contain his excitement showing off the dress to the only two kids playing…your daughter and her friend. He skipped and twirled and chased them for ten minutes shouting, “Do you like my dress? I’m wearing a dress! Can I play with you? Will you play with me?” Remembering those ten minutes fills me with emotion…because his unencumbered joy …

Disney Drag

So my son’s been going through a strong princess phase for the last year. As he announced to me, one evening, “Daddy? I’m excessed with Disney princesses.” Truer words, son. Truer words. In his big love for all things Disney, he’s fascinated by the villains. And he’s predictably drawn to the villains who scare him. Many of the Disney movies we’ve borrowed from the library have ended up scaring him. He’s watched The Little Mermaid exactly once, because Ursula scares him. Ditto with Beauty and the Beast (which, btw, is objectively terrifying…beasts, wolves, murderous bands of villagers, Gaston’s chest hair). Despite these fears, my son loves to linger on the villain pictures in books and has lots of questions about their hair and capes and gowns. As I’ve become reacquainted with these villains for the first time since childhood, I see them with fresh (and catty) eyes. And I wonder if my son is actually drawn to drag queens, cuz let’s face it: all Disney villains are basically drag queens. Image credit: ABC Disney pop-up …

One More Hollywood Bowl Anecdote

The morning of our performance weekend at the Hollywood Bowl in July, we had a “brunch” final dress rehearsal at 10 am (in blazing sunlight). Our babysitters brought Ellison and Colton. I was able to see them in the audience, which thrilled me. I could see Ellison was transfixed by the show, his glasses glued to the stage. Colton? Not so much. That kid has no interest in live theatre. (Or screen time, for that matter. Ellison could watch the “Yule Log”. Colton couldn’t care less; which is really inconvenient when you just want HIM TO PLAY ON THE IPAD FOR 20 MINUTES SO I CAN COOK DINNER.) The show really stuck with Ellison. He told me, “My favorite part was when you were the daddy of the dirty guys.” After a few questions, I discerned that he mistook me for one of the principals during a song featuring half-dead plague victims dressed in muddy rags. I’m happy he assumed I was front and center. His other favorite part was “the Princess and her mermaids.” …