One of my sisters went through a phase in which she was not, as we had all been led to believe, Sarah, but was instead “101 Dalmatians” or sometimes “Little Bear” or possibly “Baby Rabbit.” It was never the same from day to day or even hour to hour. Two-year-olds are like that.
Including my two-year-old. She is (of course) a princess, a girl, NOT a sister, NOT a toddler, a bird, a kitten, a magic magic princess, a baby, NOT a baby and possibly several other things that are currently slipping my mind.
My instinct is to tell her that she’s not a princess but to just go with everything else, for the fun and/or truthfulness of it. (Clearly some of these are easier to just go with than others . . . .)
On further thought, however, why not a princess? My hesitation is, obviously, that she wants to wear a pretty dress all day and tell people what to do. And also that every other little girl wants to be a princess and since my little girl is special, she can’t be like every other little girl and hence, cannot be a princess.
But then again, her princesses are different from my princesses. (Her princesses are also different from all the other girls’ princesses, because my princess, er, daughter, is special.) My princesses were the sitting in the tower waiting to be rescued type. Her princesses are as follows: There’s Little Miss Princess (of Little Miss books fame), who tries (with mediocre results) to help people. (Having never been forced to do anything on her own, she makes a mess of a shopping trip for Mr. Bump, who broke his leg, and finds that if nothing else, she’s good at giving orders—even if it is over the phone, for pizza.)
Also, Princess Nausicaa. It is true that she might not remember much from Squish’s Nausicaa obsession of summer 2014, and yet it is possible that something stuck. Princess Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind flies around on a glider through the Toxic Jungle trying to find ways to save her people from its spread. She defends her dying father, negotiates with invaders, and eventually sacrifices herself to the insects. (Don’t worry, she’s a Christ figure. She gets resurrected. Oops, my bad. SPOILER ALERT!)
And then Princess/Queen Elsa. She has powers! She . . . has powers! So there’s that. No waiting in the tower, exactly. But, well, whatever.
Now that I think of it, however, I’m not convinced that my little girl actually knows what a princess is. It sounds nice. People respond to it. I respond to it: “You’re a princess? Since when?”
So she doesn’t know what a princess is. It’s a girl. A special girl. She wants to be special. She is special. She climbs and she races and she knows where the chocolate is and when to offer her mom some. She knows her style: pajamas, leggings, kitty nightgowns, monster underwear. She is determined to learn to cook, if only so she has first dibs on all the batter/dough in the bowl.
So I guess it is up to me to teach her what a princess is and what a princess does. Which is this: climbing and racing. Finding the best chocolate and sharing it with her favorite people. Knowing her season and making it work. And, like a good little witch
testing her brew before serving her guests.
Don’t tell her, but she’s my favorite little princess.
ps More on my new project later. If you’re curious.