Toddlers in Tiaras.
Bedrooms filled with pink, lace and crowns.
Disney movies showing how wonderful it is to be helpless and rescued by a prince.
Not in my house….but that was before I had a girl who caught the princess bug.
It started out with a dress-up costume. And then some shoes. A couple dolls. Then one night when it was Aly’s turn to pick our movie for Family Movie Night, she choose Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or something like that. Jake and I decided to go ahead with it, since we’d all be watching together and we could all talk about it afterwards. One thing lead to another, and when it was time to pick out bedding for their new twin beds, Aly wanted [Disney] princess sheets and an Ariel bedspread (but i did think it was funny when, after getting them on her bed, she asked who that person on the blanket was).
*Gulp*. And as I recounted in a previous post, it was a hard decision for me. It weighed on my mind for a couple days, and I spent HOURS thinking and looking for alternatives. I was in the car, by myself, thinking and praying about what the best response would be, when I realized that I needed to allow the princess sheets.
1. Princesses are not the enemy. Disney isn’t necessarily the enemy. Their goal is to tell stories that will capture the imagination of boys and girls of all ages. Some of these stories are ones that I celebrate. Others aren’t. Still others are a mixture of good and bad. While it’s true that I don’t want Aly (or Ada) to get obsessed with princesses to the point of thinking that they are helpless women who just need to be rescued in life, I know that there’s a lot of OTHER factors that create that idea over a long period of time. If our family is living a great story, then I don’t know that I’ll need to worry about the other little competing stories that every child/teenager will inevitably stumble upon as they grow up.
2. Aly has a unique sense of style and the last thing I want to do (or should do) is squash that. Sure, Disney princesses aren’t very unique or stylish, but as Aly is experimenting with what she does and doesn’t like, I want to create an environment that supports her exploration instead of stifling it. So, if she wants Disney princess sheets, it’s fine. I would have chosen something more classic, but it’s not MY room. Aly loves to pick out her own clothes in the morning, and one of her favorite outfits is hideous to me (a busy red flowered shirt with busy lavender flowered pants). But she really loves it, so I don’t forbid her from wearing it. Soon enough she will either realize they don’t look good together, or she’ll make it look good by adding other components to it. I think this is especially important to me because I see how she is drawn to art, fashion, music and the like, and I want to help her to grow in the ways God has created her instead of trying to get her to be like me (who has a different sense of style).
And to be honest, it’s not so bad. Aly enjoys princesses, but she is just as content to be the dragon in the story as well. The princess sometimes needs rescuing, and other times is the one who slays the dragon and protects the queen from being eaten. There’s something about that kind of story that is alluring to young children. How Jake and I interact with it, and play with her in that story is going to speak volumes as she is figuring out her world.
So, my sweet Aly falls asleep with her head on Belle every night. And I’m just fine with that.