Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Boy and his Princesses

We have an almost five year old boy. He is totally, completely, entirely enamored and obsessed with the Disney Princesses. He loves them all, seems rather particular about Sleeping Beauty.

We don't know when or how this started, it just did. He was allowed to pick his own brand new place mat at the dollar store one day, early in March, and he chose this one:

FYI - at the same time his brother chose this one:

Anyway, it has snowballed since then. We have colouring books, stickers, books, books on CD listened to over & over ad nauseum, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and I don't figure we are done yet.

We always had some books, but now they are treated like his first born will be. They are under his pillow every night. They go everywhere with us, Sleeping Beauty came to church today.

On his birthday present wish list is a Princess poster for his bedroom wall, and a Princess puzzle.

So far we are so totally OK with this. He is a four year old boy, we are most thankful he isn't 14.

Then he asked for a Princess shirt. We simply explained that the store didn't sell any in the boys section, so we can't buy him one. He was sad, but understood and seems happy enough with all the other peripherals for now.

The planning is in motion for the big birthday number F.I.V.E. celebrations. One guys wants a Lightning McQueen cake, and the other, you guessed it, a Princess cake.

I felt bad enough for not agreeing to getting him a t-shirt...why the hell not? Perhaps you can understand that one. But why, oh why should I care if he has a Princess cake for his birthday? I find myself having a hard time agreeing with this one.

If we have the usual family only party, with 4 cousins aged 3, 6, 7, 11...the only male being the 6 year old, I think we could get away with it. (however, I do know there would be more than one set of eyebrows lifted at the sight) If we go the half dozen of friends from preschool and such, I am not so sure. I know with all of my hear that he will not care one bit what anyone says, that's the beauty of the innocence of the preschooler (at least mine). However, such naivety tugs at my heart that I am so worried what the other kids may say, and hurt him in any way. I also wonder what the hell will he think when he is 8 or 9 and realizes we gave him Princess party for his 5th.

I am upset at myself for even letting myself second guess all this. I am a big supporter of letting everyone and anyone of any age be themselves. Isn't that what helps build self-esteem? Is this the base of who he will be for the rest of his life? Is it fair for me to manipulate that? Am I making more out of this than I should?

Should we really have that much of a grip over literally molding who they are, depending on their gender? I like to think not, yet here I am stuck in such a way. I thought I was the bigger person, and I think that even letting it be an issue is what bothers me the most.

We do know that if any little girl wanted a dinosaur theme for her 5th party, it wouldn't be such an issue. Would you let your 5 year old daughter have a Spiderman cake? Wear Batman underwear? Would it bother you if your 5 year old boy wanted a Tinkerbell t-shirt?

One of the best things I once saw, were Bob the Builder t-shirts in pink. Brilliant. That's why I think the Dora people created Diego. They needn't have bothered, a blue Dora t-shirt or backpack would've sufficed more than enough with this family, we LOVE Dora...but all paraphenalia is pink or purple.

Should we even be allowed to care about this? He didn't ask for a marijuana cake and hash brownies for dessert, he just wants a Princess cake. What's the big deal. Why DO we care?

Do you?


Blogger BeachMama said...

I feel your pain. I wouldn't care myself, but there is no way no how that Hubby would let J have a princess cake for his birthday.

I see it more that your guy has a crush on the girls and thinks they are pretty. Isn't 5 the age that boys start thinking about girls?

As for J, well he has a Dora chapstick. And he calls it his lipstick. Hubby is horrified. He also calls his shirts, his dress. So, I think it all works out the way it should in the end. How to explain that he doesn't get a Princess cake, though, I would leave it up to you :).

7:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Zany Mama said...

So if you'll keep in mind that I have absolutely no clue about this whole mothering thing and that it's a pure miracle that my child has survived to be 3 1/2, I'll tell you what my inclination is.

I think that if he wants a princess cake, maybe you should go with it. He'll have years when folks are telling him what's appropriate for girls and boys, and maybe the other parents will actually be emboldened by your willingness to let him like what he likes. And the other boys might acknowledge their hidden, inner princess fascination. :)

9:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Gnightgirl said...

When Brian was 5, he wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking for "Ariel, from the little mermaid, and I mean the real one."

Brian wanted Ariel because he had the hots for her. Your son is playing the field with all of the princesses; maybe you can put that spin on the princess cake explanation....put a few snow-white pin-ups in his room, teach him to wink and say "how YOU doin, baby...?

I want him to have his princess cake, bless his little heart. What if I come over and act as bouncer, and anyone that laughs gets kicked out into the street?

10:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Elle said...

Well I only have girls... but my guess it kinda bothers you because society just expects boys to be boys. And they label boys that have interest in "girly" things... well you know. I say it's crap. He's just a kid who likes princesses you know? I think it's great that boys are allowed to show interest in whatever their interests are! So I say good for you for letting him have the princess placemat. I know a lot of people who would've said no and bought him a Batman one!

10:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Marisa said...

I would get the Cars cake, but have some Princess party hats on hand...for the female guests. If he wants to wear one, no one will question it, they'll just think he's cute.

And about the tees, when I can't find one with the characters my kids like, I use those iron-on transfers that you buy at Staples (Bureau en gros). With the plethora of images you can find on the internet, you can make him his own Princess blue. :-)

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

Well, I bought Simon a doll house for his 3rd birthday, and my family still laughs at how much he loves his kitchen set (my father raised his eyebrows and my brother said he'd never do it for his son - but when my SIL saw how much Noah loved playing with Simon's, she got him one for Easter too.)

I'd go with both the princess t-shirt and the princess cake without batting an eyelash. It's his birthday, and the day will come soon enough that he becomes self-conscious about these things. If other people have a problem with it, then that's other people's problem!

1:14 PM EDT  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

Oh, and yes, further to Anna's comment above, it's a firm part of our bedtime ritual to brush your teeth and then liberally apply your Cars or Batman "lipstick."

1:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Silver Creek Mom said...

I know how you feel. I never had any Trouble letting Miranda have TRucks and all that MANLY stuff. AND she is such a girly girl. BUT If Nathan wanted a Doll I woul dahve tot hink about it. AND Why is that? I thought I was more open minded too, but I like you would hate to see my little boy teased about that. Teasing is hard enough. I like Marisa Idea Princess party hats and plates and Cars Cake. OR here's a thought... get a princess and put it on the cars cake or something like that.

This whole thing makes me go awwww how sweet.


8:02 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that were I in your shoes I wouldn't have an issue with it, but I'm afraid I'd have the same misgivings you do.

Having said that, he'll only be five once. If he's embarassed about his choices when he gets older, then you know that society has indoctrinated him well.

4:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Julie said...

My son was obsessed with Snow White as well. He wanted me to pretend I was Snow White so he could dance with me. He used to wear my high heals and dance like she does in the DVD.

We have a Snow White Christmas tree ornament that he just loved playing with.

Was I worried - not really, he is a very imaginative child and is totally not into rock 'em sock 'em boys stuff. He just lives on different playing field. I've learned to stop comparing him to other boys - and we are both a lot happier

6:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what gnightgirl said... Teach him to act like James Bond, order his milk shaken not stirred and say "you look lovely my princess" with all the rolls of Sean Connery and you will have no need to explain anything to anyone... Either way he will grow up the way he wants to not the way he is expected to. He should have all the fun he wants while he is still young enough to have it.

11:45 AM EDT  

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