Monday, July 6, 2009

We've Come A Way, Baby

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.


  1. Just yesterday I wrote the chapter of my book where the girl gets to rescue the prince...

  2. Darn that Disney and their brain washing.

    I bet you're the best grandma ever.

  3. There's a children's book that has the princess rescuing the prince, and then in the end, he rejects her because she doesn't look pretty enough (due to the injuries inflicted by the dragon). She dumps the prince.

    Buy the kid "The Paper Bag Princess" - who needs a prince to rescue you, anyway?

    My daughter (now 30) loved this book!

  4. Too bad you can't use your influence to turn her into a feminist. Oh well, she'll have to learn that on her own.
    Nice try!

  5. Hee! Soooo funny! And it's not just a gender thing...I hate to admit it, but my 4 year old boys like to pretend to be the princesses rescued by the prince!

  6. Ain't that the truth! LOL! You sound like the best grandma. I love your imagination and where you were going with it...but at least she was honest!

  7. Smart. Very smart. She'll figure out how to be empowered and provided for all at the same time.

  8. I'm glad that's the new millenium: it sounds preferable to the old one. Sounds like a really forward-looking museum.

  9. Wish my Grandma had such an imagination!!!

  10. that reminds me of Lola's book about a princess who rescues the prince and then dumps him for being a jerk :)

  11. it's called the Paper Bag Princess

  12. Maybe your princess should start rescuing dragons????

  13. I guess her desire to be rescued is part of her child's desire to feel safe in big strong adult arms. To my mind there's no problem any child wanting that. What goes wrong somewhere is that some women don't shed that childlike desire as they grow up...

  14. Maybe the Prince was a princess in drag? We live in hope...MH

  15. I applaud your efforts but going up against the marketing people at Disney is quite the challenge to say the least

    I have several men to show your daughter as examples of how they are waaay incapable of any kind of rescue.

  16. practical! Why go through all that blood and gore when some one else is willing to do it while she polishes her nails?!

  17. What a great save on your part-- Princess Midnight. Very cute. And I'm guessing, if your little one spends enough time with you, she'll figure out how to rescue herself :-) Great story.

  18. Sounds like a great place to spend an afternoon! Well she is just little, and when you are just little it is nice to think about being rescued, when you are little the Fairy Tale should continue.. at least for awhile before it is squashed by humanity! :)

  19. Very nice try, Grandma. Keep at it, I just know that prince garbage can be upstaged if we keep trying!


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