Last weekend I took Kylie, age 5, to the Boonshoft Children’s Museum, where we own a Grandparents’ membership. The Boonshoft currently has a dragon exhibit, and Kylie, like every other 5-year-old girl in America, is completely enthralled by the Disney (Merchant) Princesses.
In the exhibit room, there were various stations set up for the kids: a puppet theater with half a dozen dragon puppets, some interactive displays explaining dragon lore, and a treasure chest of costumes so the kids could dress up as princesses, wizards, knights and princes.
As luck would have it, a six-year-old named Erica copped the really cool princess costume right before we got there, so Kylie was left with the dregs. I suggested that the plastic armor was pretty neat, but she wasn’t having any. Finally, she pulled a gown of midnight blue velvet from the box.
“Why don’t you wear that?” I said. “You can be Princess Midnight!”
She looked at me skeptically. “What does Princess Midnight do?”
In my best storyteller/soothsayer voice, I said, “Princess Midnight lives in a lonely tower.”
Kylie started to look interested, as did the other kids who were sitting at a nearby table, coloring.
“Every night at midnight," I continued, "she awakens, terrified!”
Kylie’s eyes went wide. “Why?”
“Because she can hear the dragon snoring.” I snorted a long, scary breath in and out.
Kylie gasped. “What does she do?”
“Well,” I said, “Princess Midnight is a girl for the new millennium. She is not a girl to just wait around for some prince to come rescue her. She is a girl who can rescue herself.”
I took another snoring breath, like a dragon who might be waking up, to intensify the drama, and to give myself a beat to think about how to fashion Princess M’s daring and clever self-rescue, but before I could continue, Kylie interrupted.
“Grandma,” she said, “Can I just have the prince rescue me?”
So much for the new millennium.