Why I Allowed My Little Daughter to "Play Princess"
My Little Princess
The Royal Wedding: Inspiration
All of the hoopla (yes, hoopla) about Kate Middleton marrying Prince William got me thinking about a recent controversy dealing with our daughters and princess play. The controversy, as I read it in several articles, is that princess play, if encouraged too much by parents, could incite little girls to grow up to only be shallow, beauty-is-skin-deep, prince-charming seekers.
It prompted me to ask the question on HubPages: Will you let your daughter pretend she is a princess? I was curious about what others thought about the whole matter. All of the Hubbers who answered felt the same as I do: of course we’d let them play princess! Playing princess or playing firefighter or chef or teacher is all part of creative play, of which the imagination of the little "actors" should be encouraged in this age of TV watching and computer-crazed kids.
Creative play helps them learn about the world in which they live and provides a foundation for the adults they will become.
Little Girls : Playing Freely
But back to the princesses. I played princess as a little girl with my sister, wearing old costume jewelry and dressing up. In fact, I was going to marry Prince William, who is just one year my senior, and my sister would marry Prince Harry, who was her age. We were going to live in the palace and wear pretty dresses, and I was going to grow up to become the queen…
So was my imagination. My Barbies were princesses. We had Ariel dolls, Cinderella dresses, Princess Jasmine accessories, the game Pretty, Pretty Princess, etc. We learned how to play “How Many Steps Before the Queen," playing it almost on a daily basis in our backyard.
My mom simply let us play. She let us be as we were, and didn’t force us to believe that it was a fairy-tale dream that we should chase our entire lives since it might have been preferred to our middle class status. We weren’t “Toddlers in Tiaras” nor were we encouraged to wear makeup or do anything that would make us grow up too fast. We were allowed to be little girls with little daydreams.
And then we grew up. I decided I no longer wanted to wear dresses and that I wanted to play sports. My sister and I played basketball and volleyball. We played baseball in the yard with our younger brother. Again, my mother simply let us play. We were healthy and having fun.
Here Comes Prince Charming
Academics came first above all as we grew up, as it would lead us to better places as we matured, but dating was discouraged until we were at least sixteen years of age. My parents warned us, as many other parents would, not just to look for a Prince Charming who would sweep us off of our feet at first glance. Our dates, who might eventually become our mates, should be kind, responsible, honest, God-fearing, and loyal. Did we get boy crazy at times? Sure. But the criteria my parents encouraged for our dates was always in the back of my mind.
The Prince Charming of my life came right after my sixteenth birthday. He was a friend who came to like me for me—the nerdy, sporty self that I was. And he passed the test: he met all of the criteria. After seven years of courtship, we wed, and I wore a pretty tiara.
Prince and Princess
Puppy Dog Tails, and Sugar and Spice
When it was time to have children, I decided I only wanted boys. I didn’t much care for pink nor did I want the responsibility of raising a daughter in this day and age. My first baby was a boy, just as I had hoped: a frolicking, bouncing, active, puppy dog tails and snails kind of little boy. I have had so much fun playing with him, pretending to be on safari, finding bugs, building tents, watching the clouds roll by, playing t-ball or just running around playing tag.
And then she came. My second child, my reason for writing this hub, came without notice, three weeks early as if she was already having her say about her little life. My perception of having a girl changed the moment she was in my arms. She was precious, beautiful in pink. She was my little princess.
My Wish for My Daughter
I knew on the day my daughter was born that she could play princess or any other game that she wants, just as I did. She can pretend she is stuck in a tower while Prince Charming is on his way to save her. She can dress up and pretend she is a queen ruling a land far far away. She can roll around in the grass and chase after her brother as they play make believe in the yard. She can play house with her dolls and kick a soccer ball. She can watch the clouds roll by or stop and admire the flowers. She can build sandcastles and chase butterflies. She can build a tent and number the stars. She can go wherever her imagination leads her.
I’m okay with that. I’m okay that she can grow up as I did, learning through play the way to navigate through life and follow her heart. I want her to find her own version of Prince Charming, one like her daddy who cherishes her for who she is on the inside. I want her to find who she is and be who she wants to be. Someday, when she reads this, I hope she understands that I want whatever becomes the very best for her in her own life.
I want her to live happily ever after, just like me.
"When You Are Old" — One of My Favorite Poems
When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
William Butler Yeats