Lately my girl has been acting like…well, a girl.
Up until now, she’s never been into the stereotypical “girl” things. She’s never watched a Disney princess movie. She refuses to wear skirts. She has doll stuff, like a highchair and a stroller, but uses it with her stuffed animals instead.
It started last month, when out of nowhere she told me she wanted to be a princess for Halloween. I figured she was just copying what she heard someone say at preschool or something like that, but then she told me again. And again every time I’d ask her. On one of my Goodwill visits I picked up a Disney Belle princess dress for her, since yellow is her favorite color. I figured when she refused to wear it, I’d only be out $4. I presented it to her, and she was happy, but wanted to hang it up in the closet instead of try it on.
The kids had a pumpkin carving party at preschool, and they weren’t supposed to wear masks, so their owl trick-or-treating costumes were out (I’ll post pictures, I promise!). I told them we could pick an outfit from their dress-up bin instead. Henry donned his firefighter gear, and I asked Eleanor if she wanted to wear her princess dress. I about fell over when she agreed.
Her apparent girlification continued when we got together with friends for an impromptu playgroup. I hadn’t heard Eleanor’s voice in a few minutes (and she is NEVER quiet), so I asked where she was. “She’s over here, playing dolls with Veronica,” my friends told me. And there she sat, first playing Barbies and then with a dollhouse.
Last week we were at the Children’s Museum, and headed to the Barbie exhibit. Out came Eleanor on the pretend catwalk, wearing a skirt. A SKIRT!
She walked the runway in probably five or six different outfits, each one a skirt or a dress. And then she went backstage and played with Barbies until I lied and said the museum was closing.
And this week? The yellow princess dress has been worn every day. I got a Barbie and Ken out of our extra-toy storage and they’ve been played with, too. And by “played with” I mean “I’ve been asked ‘Mom, can you take off/put on her clothes’ five million times.”
As a girl who loves Star Wars AND Sephora, I have no problem with her donning her princess dress to play superheroes with her brother. It’s just that after four years of no dolls no hair bows no skirts I’m not sure how to proceed. I want to encourage her in all her interests. I also don’t want a house overloaded with pink plastic princess crap if this is just a short-lived passing phase.
But whether she decides she’s a tomboy girl or a girly girl or a little bit of both, she’s still MY girl. Eleanor’s always been a force of nature, keeping us on our toes. Who knows, next week she could decide she’d rather play with robots instead of Barbies. Until then, pass me that tiara, I’ve got a princess to attend to.