06 March 2006

Oh Lord I go for penguins

Geeky Mom rocks. I'm quite happy with my newly-installed greasemonkey script that automates the technorati tags below.

Remember how I complained a few weeks ago that Curious Girl was leaving me out of our dinner blessing ritual, the one she invented? And then I noted a few days ago that things had improved, and I was now regularly mentioned? Apparently CG's enthusiasm for the world has just been growing, and tonight as we held hands at dinner she said something like,

I love mommy, and
I love mama, and
I love myself, and
I love our family,
and I love our kitties,
and penguins,
and Neighbor Girl except I don't like it when she sticks her tongue out at me,
and I love dogs
and all our things
and our house
and all the nice people
and everything in the whole world

I'm forgetting a few things, too, but you get the general idea.

I've been intrigued that she's been saying that she loves herself, both on the grammar front--her first reflexive pronoun--and on the self-image front. Sometimes as she puts her own clips in her hair, making alfalfa sprouts or strange clip angles hanging in front of her eyes, she says "I beautiful like a princess!" (or a fish, she said one day on the weekend). Or she puts on her sweatpants under a dress, colors clashing, and says "I look beautiful!!" She recognizes the Disney princesses, although her exposure to them is limited enough that she gets them all confused (usually calling any of them Cinderella or Barbie). But being a princess is really more a state of mind than it is a girly-girl thing. (CG is quite the girly girl at times, but I'm none-too-secretly pleased that she's likely to want to wear her sneakers with a velvet dress or to go out climbing in the park in a party dress. She doesn't slow down for the fancy clothes she wants to wear.) She announces she's looking like a princess whenever she feels like a princess, and she feels like a princess whenever she likes the way she looks and feels. And that happens often, and it has nothing to do with whether her hair or clothing looks neat or messy, fashionable or traditional, old or new. It has nothing to do with whether she's inside or outside, working on a puzzle, a cooking project, art, or playing pretend.

At these moments, what I wish for her is that some part of her soul, heart, and mind will retain this feeling. When she's a teenager in the midst of her first crush, wondering whether anything will come of it, I want her to know that she's strong and beautiful inside. When she's in the midst of a world pressuring young women's bodies to conform to dominant images, I want her to feel her beauty from the inside out, to be as comfortable moving through the park or the room as she is now, flying from one side of the room to another saying "look at me, Mama!" When she's reading a book, making connections to illustrations based on what seem to me to be the slightest of evidence ("we both have a sweater! we match!"), I want her to remember ways to build empathy and ties to others even when traditional lenses would say there are more differences than samenesses. Her inner princess radiates joy and self-confidence and strength.

I never thought I'd say this, but I hope my daughter will always be a princess.


M. said...

Now THAT is the kind of princess any good feminist would hope to raise. I love it.

Arwen said...

Yay, to always being a princess. My mom had a little girl in one of her classes named "Megan". She called herself MEGA! My mom loved it.
Also? With the penguins? Ripley is so big on the penguins after seeing the documentary; the moms and the dads taking care of their penguinlets had a real impact on him.

Beanie Baby said...

That's beautiful.

Mommygoth said...

"She announces she's looking like a princess whenever she feels like a princess, and she feels like a princess whenever she likes the way she looks and feels."

Goddess, if we could find a way to bottle that and give it to the baby girls in their morning milk so they would feel that way forever, what a wonderful world it would be. Lovely post.

Genevieve said...


Reminded me of the Alfonso Cuaron-directed "A Little Princess" (not the old Shirley Temple one), where they added lines something like, "All girls are princesses. Even if they're have ugly clothes, or they're old . . . they're all princesses." Sara telling Miss Minchin that she [Sara] is still a princess even though she's poor and orphaned and a servant now, and even that Miss Minchin is a princess.

Scrivener said...

I sometimes worry about all the princess play from our girls (even though I also know that there's little to no point in resisting it, since that would just make it forbidden and more powerful), but I think this is pretty much the manner in which they think of princesses too. They are just as willing to put on their princess dresses and sneakers and run around the house being superhero princesses as they are to be having tea parties with them on.

Phantom Scribbler said...

This is giving me some hope that I don't have to fear the princess phase when it comes. If Baby Blue can find an inner princess that provides her with joy and self-confidence and strength, I'll be so happy.

I'll still be a little sad when she gives up trains for princesses, though.

Piece of Work said...

Oh, this was a great post! Curious Girl sounds wonderful, and I hope she keeps all this princess-ness for years to come.

TDharma said...

i think this lil' gal is going to do just fine......

my lil' princess is 18, and she's the new model of girly girl and feminist go getter. It's a lovely sight to behold....