I have a few more things to say about the princess posse. I didn’t say it all in one post because I have a short attention span and figure you do, too. The princesses aren’t that big a deal. Far worse things await: the Jonas Brothers, for instance, or teen idols with babies and/or meth addictions. Disney Princesses are relatively minor. My daughter developed this passion for commercial characters in general at around two. She actually has clothes and underwear with cartoon characters on them, something I always thought was so white trashy, but whatevs–it gets her to put on her pants just as “Seven” or “Paige” gets me to put on my jeans.
One thing I don’t allow in the house are foods with cartoons on them. The little bitches are always on food items whose first ingredient is corn syrup (found to contain mercury, which the FDA has known for years.) Why can’t they put Belle on tofu, Aurora on almonds, Cinderella on garbanzo beans? Call them Hot Chick Peas for all I care. Otherwise I don’t protest too much. The vacant skanks make her so happy, and I’m not the kind of mom who only allows wooden toys and books about bi-racial eagles with two proud fathers. I’m not OBSESSED. In fact, I let it go, for the most part, not because I’m just chill like that, but I don’t know how the hell I’m supposed to explain gender and shit. It’s not time yet, and I don’t want to kill the magic, but…
Here’s what happened the other day at the playground:
Eleanor and I were in the hut pretend-cooking when all of the sudden her eyes widened and she screamed, “Dora!” She began stomping her feet and pointing and I looked for someone who had on a Dora backpack or t-shirt, but there was nothing.
“Oh my God, Dora!” she said again, and I looked at the slides, a girl sliding into her nanny’s arms. A short, Mexican nanny with bobbed hair and bangs: Dora. “No sweetie,” I whispered. “That’s not Dora. We don’t know her name. It could be Louise or Mary.”
“Louise?” she said. “I don’t know about that.”
She really did look like Dora, if Dora was fifty-five and taking care of twin blonde girls who kept shouting, “Look what I can do! Look what I can do!” A Dora who had stopped her adventures and explorations and spent her time parked at a playground bench, grinding up flax to sprinkle on the in-vitro twins’ tofu dogs.
“That’s not Dora,” I said again, cringing at the way her face fell at this news. She wasn’t convinced. Was I supposed to explain to her that not all Mexicans are Dora, just as not all Asians are her friend, Austin’s, dad? I’m fairly good at blending in lessons, hiding them like spinach in meatloaf, but this is hard turf.
I remember a while back in San Francisco we went to a funeral for a baby whose name was Thomas. Every time his name was spoken during the service Eleanor yelled, “Thomas? Thomas! Thomas the Train!” We said, “Shhh.” We said, “No not the train. He’s a boy. A boy.”
Later that night we did our reading routine in the living room. I read a book to her and when I finished she fetched me another. She sat on dad’s lap. “Where is green sheep?” I read.
“Where is Thomas?” she asked. She was two-and-a-half at the time. The question brought tears to my eyes. Andy and I exchanged glances. What do we say? When do you start telling the truth and killing the magic? “Oh, sweetie,” I said. “Thomas had to go.” She looked at me with her little mouth open. “Oh, he had to go?” “He had to go,” I said. “He’s okay,” Andy said. “Yeah,” she said. “He’s okay.”
There are a lot of women at playgrounds who look like Dora because… Cinderella can suck it because… Thomas is dead because…
Do I have to fill in the blanks?
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