Last year, if you asked the Twinadoes what they wanted to be when they grew up Izzy would tell you she wanted to be ‘in a show at night and an architect in the day’ and Zoe wanted to work in a ‘computer lab’. Now if you ask them what they want to be they both fall over themselves to tell you – they want to be princesses, live in a castle and marry a prince. WHAT????
What happened to my strong minded, independent young women? What happened to the two girls who aspired to do great things? A year ago there was no talk of weddings and husbands and happy castle-making, yet now that is all they talk about, think about and roll play. How on earth did this happen? How did my house – me, who really dislikes ‘character’ branded toys and clothes, me, who doesn’t allow her children to watch commercial television, me who’s girls don’t even own a Barbie – how did my house become filled with the Disney Princesses?
I guess it started a long long time ago really. The girls were not even three when we were given two hand-me-down dress-up dresses, both Disney brand, one Tinkerbelle and one Cinderella. While I wouldn’t have chosen to buy these dresses I was more than happy to welcome into our house, they had been much loved by their former owner and were embraced with much joy by my girls. At the time they paid no attention to the Disney characters on the front of them, they were simply two lovely new dress-ups. Credit where credit is due to Disney also – they really are well made dresses, they have been worn and washed and worn and washed and only needed a minor repair here and there.
Back when the girls were still young and naive.. ahem.. sheltered… ahem.. just young.. back then, they didn’t know who Cinderella was nor Tinkerbelle, but it came to pass (now I am talking like a fairy tale!) that friends of ours went on a special holiday to Disneyland and their little girl came home full of wonderful, exciting stories of castles and princesses to share with the Twinadoes. Suddenly they became aware of just who these people were on the front of their beloved dresses and they were in love.
For months and months neither would answer unless you called them Tink or Cinderella. Now days you have to run through the whole list of princess names until you guess the right one. Having to take off their dresses was like peeling off a layer of skin, complete with the accompanied screaming and crying. We can not drive past a church or any building that even remotely looks castle-like without squealing from the back of the big white van; “Oooooh look Cinderella castle!” They dream of the day that they can go to Disneyland and meet ‘the real Tinkerbelle’.
Slowly but surely more and more of ‘The Princesses’ have crept into our house. We reconciled Zoe with the Little Mermaid DVD when she was waiting for her dental surgery. (Interestingly, you can count the number of times our children have been majorly ill by the number of kids DVDs we have ever bought!) A Christmas gift of the Cinderella three pack DVD (who knew Cinderella was a trilogy?). Another Christmas gift with giant Disney Colouring pages. Birthday money which I begrudgingly let them spend on whatever book they wanted – Cinderella and Tinkerbelle of course! A lucky find Peter Pan DVD that someone had thrown out – how could I say no to such serendipity?
The last straw came the other day when Nanny bought them Disney Princess undies! Yes, my children can now choose from the whole range of Disney Princesses to wear on their little bums! Kill me now.
I have tried hard to steer them into more generic (and acceptable to me) ideas of castles, princesses and queens etc. We got out the wooden castle blocks, bought generic crowns and tiaras, all of which are loved but all of which play their part in whatever the current story is to be. Cinderella today? Or maybe Ariel? We even got down the big fat fairy tale book and began reading the original versions of each story, hoping they was less focussed on the whole ‘I must be the most beautiful female in all the land’. To my horror most of them are worse! I cringed as I read how not only did Snow White have to be the most beautiful but that she could now, finally be happy because her prince as the most handsome and had the largest and most beautiful castle…. because you know, who’d want to live in a small cottage with seven short guys who work hard every day just to put food on the table???
Now their plans for the future involve living in a Castle. A three bedroom castle to be exact. One bedroom for them – with two bunk beds so they can both sleep on the top bunk. One bedroom for Muski and one bedroom for me, for when I come to visit. They also want to have a wedding, with a prince each – though interestingly there is no place for these prince’s to sleep in that castle of theirs. Sometimes the plan involves them both having ‘two babies at the same time’ (not sure why but they hardly ever use the word ‘twins’) but it always involves lots of pretty dresses and being happy little home makers….
Oh hang on a second…. they want to grow up, find a great guy to share their lives with, have kids, live in a nice house and stay home looking after it all… um… er… ahem… I guess that is what I do isn’t it? Ok so this house is no where near a castle and while the Baldy Guy is lovely, he isn’t exactly a prince (no offence hon, but you lack the buckets and buckets of money, not to mention the thick dark hair) but I guess my life is not so different from the Twinadoe’s fantasy.
Ok so I still don’t like the Disney Princesses marketing the importance of beauty to my four year olds, and I really don’t see why they need to have them printed on their underwear…. but I shall admit that I am not totally against the idea of my daughters growing up into happy little castle-makers – if that is what makes them happy, besides in the current housing market they are going to have to be a Dr or a Lawyer first to afford anything that is even close to a castle! And heck, I’ll be right there with them at Disney Land if we ever get to go…. I want to ride the tea-cups!