Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bed Time Story

My little princess spent the morning making play-doh spaghetti for her prince, giving me the choice of playing the prince, or the prince, and then turned all of her stuffed animals into, you guessed it, the prince, when setting up her Prince Zoo.  Did I mention she found her glass slippers this past weekend?  Thought I'd cleared out everything, but THOSE, it turns out, were under the couch.  Along with a good number of Cheerios, dust creatures, and some goldfish.  She pulled them out, and as though she'd won the toddler lottery, was soon running laps and screeching simultaneously, "My gwaaasssss swipppeerrs!  Oh my gwaaaaassssss swiiiiiippppperrrrrrrrss!"  I was laughing as she hugged them to her chest, nuzzled the hard plastic against her cheek, until The Play began again, a return of very rigid roles, very stiff walking, and then sitting on the step waiting for the rescue.   After the rescue? She's off making spaghetti for her prince, because apparently he's Italian as well nameless.  

So, I made a quick run to the library to pick up a book recommended by Megs and Kristi.
While there, I asked the children's librarian if she had any books to recommend in the same vein of expanding the DP idea.  She must have been waiting for someone to ask this question, because she immediately got up and began stockpiling books, dropping them into my arms, beelining to another section of the library and returning with more books.  Turns out she has daughters!  Two of them!  I should really talk to my librarians more often.  I wobbled to checkout, paid my overdue fines, and wobbled out to my car, my chin resting upon The Paper Bag Princess 

 We read it at bedtime, and here is the run-on sentence summary: the Prince is there when the Princess is dressed lovely, but when she shows up hair a mess, sweaty and wearing a paper bag, he rejects her, tells her she looks unacceptable.  And then she tells him he's very handsome, but a bum.  And she skips off into a sunset.

After reading it, there were some questions Miss C had:

"What's a bum?"
"Why does she walk away alone?"
"Why do they not get married after all?"
"Will you read it again?"

I read it again.  More questions:
"Why does he say that?"
"Is he unkind?"
"Does he need a kind prince to show him how to be kind?"
"Does she not choose him?"
"Will you read it again?"

Third reading.
"Why is he unkind sometimes?"
"Why is he kind here?" (points to prince standing with dressed-up princess)
"But not here?" (points to prince telling princess to go pull herself together).
"Why does he tell her to get her dress?"

The fact that the prince is unkind in the end boggled her mind.  We talked about people who are kind, and loving, no matter what you are wearing, or how you look.  She was upset about the princess going off alone, and so I asked her, "Do you think she should have chosen him?"
"No.  He was not kind.  But could a different prince show him how to be kind?"
"Maybe." I said.  "That's a good question.  What do you think?"

She leaned back against her bed, quiet for a moment, and made her first declarative since we opened the book:
"You know.  I think I know.  That prince..." she looked at me very seriously.  "He wanted to be a man princess.  He really liked that dress, and wants to be a princess himself."
I sat there, chewing on this transgender interpretation.
Satisfied with her answer, she added, "He should probably just get his own dress."

The Paper Bag Princess.

Good night.


  1. it must be so interesting to watch her process this stuff. sounds like your diligent efforts are paying off! btw, i love that you included a casual mention of overdue fines.

  2. Seriously laughing my ass off right now. I love C. With lines like that, she needs her own tv show...probably on Bravo.

  3. I work in a preschool and constantly try to combat the Disney Princess-ism of my little girls. Another good princess book is Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox. Rapunzel can't hear the prince very well and keeps throwing out things that rhyme (golden locks - dirty socks). Although there's still a love match at the end, it doesn't involve Rapunzel. Wilcox also wrote one called Waking Beauty but I'm not as big a fan of that one just from all the references to non-consensual kissing.

  4. Falling for Rapunzel: will check it out this week. (Timely, since Rapunzel has been a fascinating character for C...because of her long hair, and because of the unkind witch.) This story hasn't been Disney-fied yet, but I hear it's the next princess to hit the market.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Fan. Tastic.

    Best interpretation of Ronald the Bum EVER!!

  6. A book read to us in primary school was Prince Cinders:


  7. I love your article dear!!As you have mentioned just on one princess of Disney and if you want to know list of Disney princesses, then just click on the site and you will get all the information.