Thursday, April 19, 2012

Disney Needs a Princess with Some Kink

My daughter thinks she's a Princess.

She adores Ariel; a mermaid who gives up her entire underwater life to marry a Prince. Hence, becoming a Princess.

I've ruined her.

I first showed her Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast; those durn Disney films because I love Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

They are good movies with great soundtracks (granted I'm a musical theater geek but--ahem, I digress).

When she started playing dress up at preschool and wore the princess dresses and jewels everyday, I couldn't help buying her a few so she could do the same at home.

She wore them morning, noon, and night and would have worn them to bed if I'd let her.


At least when I hear her playing at the park and her dialogue consists of "Save me, Prince. Save me!" I counter it with, "Don't forget you can save yourself, honey!"

That strikes the right balance, right? Riiiight.

Now I'm grappling with the fact that my precious girl, with her kinky-curly-just-above-her-shoulders-brown hair wants long straight hair; like Rapunzel (whom she learned about in Disney's Tangled.What?! I wanted to see it and figured she'd like it, too!)

Anyway, Disney's Rapunzel is an empowered ingenue who doesn't fall into your typical princess stereotypes. Well, except for that long (really long) straight blond hair.

Aw crap.

Now, she runs around the house with an apron tied around her head so she can feel it swishing on her back.

While the princess dresses she wears are cute it drives me nuts to look her way and see that apron on her head. With great determination, she heads for the door with the intention of wearing it in public. I'm all for self expression but there are limits. The apron just makes her look like she's a crazy person.

The picture below was taken in the back of our house. I won't let her go past the driveway with that thing on her head.

The desire for long hair that covers your back is a rite of passage for most girls (unless they actually have long hair that covers their back).

Even Whoopi Goldberg in her1984 self titled Broadway show played a young black girl with a shirt on her head pretending it was her long straight hair; the hair our culture upholds and adores.

Generally speaking, black hair grows at a much slower rate than Caucasian hair because the hair coils in the follicle which makes it more difficult to come out.

Therein lies a problem.

I happened upon a solution the other day. In the dress-up aisle at Target there was a kid-size long blond Rapunzel wig made by Disney. I got dizzy thinking how much my princess would love it but then my excitement waned.

Then I began to think that getting her that wig would be a set up that would exacerbate her desire for a kind of hair she'd never have.

I figured it'd be irresponsible of me to let her wear it. Then again, it is better than an apron. Hmmm...

I haven't bought it. Just like I haven't bought one of those doll heads that lets young girls (and maybe boys) style hair and put on make-up. All of those things have straight hair. Even the black ones have straight hair.

Hey, doll makers! Curly hair needs styling, too! Hey, Disney kid-size wig makers! Why can't there be a long kinky-curly hair wig!

Ah well.

I guess I'll have to make peace with that apron, forgive myself for ruining her, stop trying to micro manage my daughter's childhood, and be grateful from the bottom of my heart that I get to have such "worries".

But that apron is not leaving the house.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Incredible Hulk; What We Have In Common

I have an alter ego. Imagine a black woman who wears all black, high heeled boots, large hoop earrings, and an attitude. Did I mention she kicks ass?

She comes out when people have gone too far, pushed my buttons, messed with my peeps, or crossed my line. She has defended my husband, my children, and various friends who needed back up.

She doesn't have a name. If she did it'd be something like Shonda or Venus. Her last name would be Jones.

Here's a few examples of times when she has gotten "it" done when "it" needed to get done.

After my youngest was born and exhibited some problems with her breathing a doctor in the intensive care unit said (in the smarmiest voice imaginable) "It's not my fault your daughter has breathing issues," when I challenged the delay in test results that would cause her to stay in the hospital unnecessarily without me.

In a voice I didn't recognize I bellowed, "F*** You!" and proceeded to make a scene that resulted in the test results magically appearing within five minutes.

My alter ego showed up at a Cub Scout meeting after one of the Mothers (in a series of "reply all e-mails) trashed my husband's devoted service as a den leader because he didn't want to do things her way. Never mind she never once volunteered to take the reigns.

I showed up at the meeting unannounced and in a low and measured voice (in front of the other parents) told her in no uncertain terms to back off and quit disrespecting my husband who is a good man and did nothing wrong. She never mentioned him in an e-mail again.

In the case of my Mother; who was living in a nursing home and wouldn't even step out on to the balcony to get fresh air, I was informed that she would be required to come to her bank and vouch for the fact that I had Power of Attorney even though I had the notarized and signed papers with me. I screamed, "She f****** has dementia. She can't f****** come to the bank. I f****** need access to her account. Get the people who can make that happen, on the phone. Now!"

I had a lovely chat with the higher-ups and left with what I needed.

By the way, I don't like to swear. But "Shonda" does when she's gettin' "it" done.

Every woman needs an alter-ego who can push through the limits, get past the boundaries, kick butt and take names. Because it is in our nature as mothers and wives, sisters, daughters, and friends to nurture, be gentle and kind, it's easy not to engage the part of us that can get over, under, and through the things that stand in our way.

In particular, as a caregiver when your focus is being a soft place for your loved one to fall you can forget that "No," often means "I don't know." "You can't," often means, " I can't because I don't have the authority" and "It doesn't work that way," usually means, "We've been doing it this way forever and it hasn't occurred to us to change it."

It's never my intention to be unpleasant or difficult.

But like Dr. David Banner who would transform into the Incredible Hulk if baited, "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."