My baby is three.
She is completely consumed by the ups and downs of toddlerhood. She’s opinionated, charming, stubborn, sweet, loud, loving, emotional, independent, and so smart.
She also, it must be noted, is a princess.
She is a princess at the grocery store.
She is a princess on walks at Presque Isle.
She is a princess at the playground, even when her mean mother makes her wear pants and a jacket because it’s cold out.
She is a princess at home. Even when we are out doing yardwork and she takes on a Cinderella-esque look.
She is sometimes a princess while she sleeps, down to what she calls her “princess shoes,” which are sparkly white shoes I bought on clearance on a whim at Shoe Carnival and which she has worn so much they are now gray and not very princessy-looking, at least to my mind.
It’s not enough that she looks like a princess, often complete with tiara, wand and necklace. She has to proclaim that she is a princess to one and all. Of course, she’s three and adorable, so people find this cute and funny. I have reached the point that I just smile and move on. Sometimes, I admit, I roll my eyes.
That’s because this has been going on so long now that most times I don’t even think about the fact that my daughter is walking through Wegman’s in a tiara.
So of course, when the time came, we planned a princess-themed birthday party for her. This was the day after her grandparents gave her a beautiful, authentic-looking astronaut costume for Christmas. She wanted nothing to do with it, to the extent that they took it back to Cincinnati with them. But the day of her party Mark and I presented her with a brand new (read: cheap polyester) princess dress, meant to replace the one she’d worn so much it was stained, torn and getting nubs all over it from the times I tried to wash it. Princess dresses, it turns out, are not made for the washing machine.
She loved her new pink princess dress we gave her. Then her friend Jacob gave her another princess dress — albeit a slightly different shade of pink — as a birthday present. She immediately — in front of the crowd watching her open her presents — stripped down to her pull-ups to put on the new, even pinker, dress. Oh, my child.
But perhaps an end is in sight. She also opened a really nice pirate costume for Christmas and likes to wear it around the house with her patch in place and brandishing her sword and yelling Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at her brother. She is sometimes a dog too, following me around on all fours, barking, and licking me when I’m least expecting it. Perhaps that’s just a cry for attention from a mother focused on the gigantic mountain of laundry that I can’t seem to scale.
I don’t know how long this princess phase will last. I expect one day I’ll tell her the story of walking through Wegman’s in her princess gear and she will think how silly that was. Of course, she’ll probably be wearing jeggings and tie-dye, or whatever the trendy clothes are for teenage girls are at that point.
And then, I’m sure, she will probably roll her eyes.