So, I have some weird hang-ups about Disney, “princess culture,” the sexualization of girls and the general over-gendering that American childhood culture does to to kids, even really young kids. And for 3.5 years, that was a pretty easy path to walk — Daddy-o and I have tight control over the media Boopsie is exposed to, and we haven’t introduced Barbies or Disney Princesses or any TV with commercials.
However, since we decided to take Boopsie to her first movie, and it was Frozen, which has been crazily successful for Disney, this has been challenged. Case in point: Yesterday I took Boopsie to our nearby Target. We needed a few first aid supplies and she wanted to pick out some Band-Aids, so she picked out the Disney Princess variety. This was a first and it was a little unsettling, but I just let it ride.
Later, we were hitting up the baby/toddler section and she spotted character undies featuring the characters from Frozen. And I let myself be talked into buying them despite serious misgivings. First of all, I dislike how aggressively every movie tie-in is marketed to kids. Secondly, she didn’t even really need undies. Finally, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a damn slippery slope. Yes, Frozen has a lot of good messages about sisterhood and being brave and strong, but it’s still a Disney movie and there’s still some weird sexuality stuff happening with Elsa. But I folded, and quickly, and you know what? My kid is overjoyed about those undies. She told the cashier. She told friends we saw for dinner. She changed them this morning and came bursting out of her room to show Daddy-o and I the “Olaf” pair she had put on. She. Loves. Those. Undies.
The Disney juggernaut, and their product tie-ins, have brought her JOY. I’m still mixed about the whole Frozen craze, and Disney and I definitely am not a fan of the other “princesses.” But with this experience, I’m going to try and walk this line, and to help her enjoy some aspects of what this part of our culture has to offer.
Once again, it’s likely I’m putting way too much thought into this. But my goodness, she is adorable when she’s talking about those undies…
Every once in a while, I’ll be cruising along when I’m suddenly struck by a realization: I am not a “normal” parent. Now before anyone goes all psycho-babble on me, I realize that there are huge ranges of “normal” and I’m not worried about being “normal”… I basically just have some funny hang-ups.
Case in point: After lots of hemming and hawing (mostly on my part) Daddy-o and I decided to take Boopsie to see her first movie in the theater. Despite my many, many misgivings about the Disney marketing juggernaut and Disney princesses, we decided to climb on the bandwagon and go see Frozen at the cool second-run theater near our house.
As the movie started, a Disney logo appeared on the screen:
Boopsie saw it and asked, “What is that?”
Now, any normal parent would say “A castle,” or perhaps even, “Cinderella’s castle.”
Not me. My response? “That’s a logo, honey. A company called Disney made this movie and their logo is a castle.”
Branding education for a three-year-old? Really? Oh my. File that one under “quirky mom.”
Daddy-o has been out of town (for work) since Thursday morning. Thursday evening I had to call in the cavalry as I got a migraine. Grampie came to the rescue and played with Boopsie while I went to bed with earplugs and a pillow over my face. Things went really well otherwise… until this morning.
This morning Boopsie drank a cup of milk and then coughed… and threw it up all over us. The rest of the day she kept saying she had to “cough” (aka barf), but didn’t. Interestingly enough, those moments seemed to happen as soon as I picked up the phone or said I needed to do something. Suspicious? I thought so.
Tonight at dinner she wouldn’t eat a thing, and talked the whole time about throwing up:
“I need da bucket.”
“Th yellow gonna come out.”
“I gonna cough again.”
I tried to play it very blase… and ended up just giving her a bath and putting her to bed, explaining (as usual) there wouldn’t be any food/milk until morning. Now she’s in there wailing for “milky.” Here’s a few recent pics to help me remember that I love being a mother. (I need the reminder right now.)
Watering plants in fuzzy polar bear footie pajamas, pink rain boots and her bike windbreaker.
Chasing goats at the zoo… apparently Boopsie loves goats as much as I do.
There, I feel much better now. (And it helps that she’s fallen asleep.) Let’s face it, this could be worse: Daddy-o is currently stuck in an airport, where his flight is delayed three hours. Blech.
Now, say it with me… “Please don’t puke, please don’t puke, please don’t puke.”
So tonight I was folding Boopsie’s underwear and suddenly I thought, “Holy CRAP… I’m Folding. Boopsie’s. Underwear.” You read that right. And it’s true. Last weekend a small miracle happened: Boopsie decided she wanted to wear underwear. Then we put her in undies. And she peed on the floor. And we put her back in a new pair of undies… and we went for it.
After a panicked call to a friend whose potty-trained three kids and some good advice from her, we decided to go for it. I’m not going to lie. It was a really stressful, cooped-up weekend. But Boo did great. There was a lot of pee on the floor, but also a lot of pee in the potty. And no pee in the bed. (Amaze-balls, people.)
Potty training threw me for a huge loop. I sent frantic e-mails to my friends, who told me to hang in there. I blathered on about it at work. I laid awake worrying she’d wet the bed. And I was in the hot seat most of the time. Boopsie decided that she didn’t want Daddy-o in the bathroom and she wanted my attention every single minute. In short, I went bonkers for a few days. Okay, like six days. We crossed the final frontier when I took her to the Minnesota Children’s Museum Friday night… and she used the potty in a public restroom. BOO-YAH!
Here are some things that helped:
- Character undies. Boopsie was sort of invested in keeping “Dora” dry. Even so, get like 14 pairs or you’ll be doing laundry every six hours.
- Random rewards. What worked for us at different times, to incent her to sit on the potty: plastic animals, stickers, Dora the Explorer Band-aids and ice cream.
- MAKING her sit on the potty. This was harder than it sounds. She was resistant and I was terrified I would give her some intense complex about going potty, thus ruining her life forever. (Yes, I’m serious about this. I really worried that by MAKING her sit on the potty when she didn’t want to she’d end up in diapers and a therapists office for the rest of her life.)
When I reached out to my friends to thank them for the help and advice, I admitted to them that potty training threw my for a loop. One of them pointed out that as a parent, it’s one of the things you have the least control over. So true. And we all know how well I do (or not) with a lack of control… (Ehrm…yeah.)
We have two more big adventures to contend with some time in the coming months — moving into a big girl bed and getting rid of the pacifier. For now, I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine and then fold some more undies.
I think Boopsie is running a secret campaign to ensure she never has a sibling. (That, or she read my post “Clicking.”)
1) Pooping in the tub. Pooping. In. The. Tub. Three times now. And I’ve tried to help Daddy-o clean up after time #2 and time #3, but I retched. (By the way, what’s going to happen when he’s on a business trip and she poops in the tub? Is there a service I can call for that? I mean, you can hire a poop-scooper for your dog, why not your kid?)
2) Willful defiance. This is how it goes down: I tell her no. She responds by looking at me, smiling, and then doing exactly what I just told her she shouldn’t do. It’s kind of exhausting. I know it’s a toddler thing, but damn… really?
3) Waking up. She’s decided (in the last week) that 5 or 5:30 a.m. is the new ideal time to wake up and party. It doesn’t matter if she’s up later, she gets up early. Really. damn. early. I am not a morning person, and this is trying.
We sold our house and are just on the cusp of buying another. This is not a small deal. (Disclaimer: It’s time for a good ol’ white parent/first-world problem) I’m already trying to figure out how to best manage the move (approximately two miles) such that Boopsie feels as calm and secure as possible. (Yes, I am that anal.) I’m also trying to figure out day care…this gives us the opportunity to explore new day care options… though it’s not smart to switch day care at the same time as we move because that could be too much change for Boo. It all sounds stressful. Hell, it IS stressful. So it would really be helpful if Boopsie would sleep a little later!!!
"Don't mind me. Just looking for my other tutu."
I hate to even think this (much less write it), but I can’t resist: Things seem to be clicking right now. I don’t know if it’s
the unseasonably (insanely) nice weather or what, but we’re just in a really fun place. Granted this fun place includes a cold and involved some puking Sunday night, but generally things are good.
Last weekend we went to Wisconsin Dells for a weekend with friends. There were six kids and six adults and it was a super fun time. We visited a giant indoor water park and Boopsie showed her wild side — basically no fear in that girl. She enjoyed water slides, the lazy river and got into the habit of running straight into oncoming waves in the wave pool. Nut!
She also had many “firsts” while on our little getaway:
- First wave pool/water slide/water park
- First mini-golf outing
- First taste of nachos (with the crappy cheese sauce) – big hit. HUGE.
- First candy (M&Ms)
It was pretty much kid nirvana.
"I pity the fool who won't play Peek-a-boo!"
Other things are going well, too. Boopsie’s acquiring more and more words (even if no one else knows what she’s saying), sleeping a little better and loves coloring. I loved coloring as a kid (hell, I still do), so this makes me giddy.
Daddy-o and I have found a good balance in the evenings… after dinner one of us cleans the kitchen and one of us puts “the Boo” to bed. Tonight we had one of my very best friends over along with her h
usband and two boys. It was last minute and laid-back and a splendid way to kick off the evening. Boopsie did pretty well sharing everything but her Daddy-o. When one of the boys was sitting on Daddy-o’s lap she shouted “No! No!” repeatedly from her high chair. Endearing, right?
So now that I’ve laid out some of the many reasons things feel like they’re clicking we’re probably inviting in drama. I sure hope not, because this is fun.
Oh dear god.
Daddy-o is out of town and I have an early (for me) meeting in the morning.
I thought it would be sweet (and efficient) for to take a bath with Boopsie tonight.
Boopsie thought it would be a great night to try pooping in the bathtub.
Miraculously, I didn’t throw up.
Now, if you’ll excuse me (and the bleach fumes) I’m going to go huddle in the fetal position for the next several hours.