As much as I’ve tried to avoid it, my four year-old daughter has gravitated to princesses. I made it a point with both of my daughters to never call them “princess.” I didn’t want them to growing up with any kind of sense of entitlement, and I really didn’t want them to grow up to be girly girls. My daughters will know how to change the oil in their car and appreciate the beauty of scoring a run with small-ball. Chicks may dig the long ball, but women dig moving a runner into scoring position.
Anyway, despite my efforts, the appeal of a princess is apparently too strong for a little girl to fight. My girls live in a world of princess toys, clothes, books, movies, and games. I have come to accept this, and am honestly just grateful they aren’t into Barbie. So while making small talk at breakfast with my daughter Evie, I asked her who her favorite princess is. She is generally pretty shallow and says she likes whichever one she thinks is prettiest, so I wasn’t really expecting some profound response, just making chit-chat over a muffin. However, her answer was striking.
“I am”, she said to me.
I asked again to make sure I heard her right, and she confirmed that she was her own favorite princess.I guess you have to appreciate that kind of self-confidence. She’s the star of her own story, even when its fiction.
Personality wise, Evie is about a 60/40 spit between Bingo from Bluey, and Giselle from Enchanted. I’ve always believed that if she told me she wanted to be a princess when she grew up, that she would somehow end up being one. I might be a little biased because she’s my kid, but I think she’d make Grace Kelly look like some kind of hobo.
I was curious to see where her mind was going with this, so I asked her, “Does that make Mommy a queen?”
“Yep,” she replied.
Far be it from me to fish for compliments, but I then asked, “And Daddy is the king?”
“Yes,” she said.
Might as well round out the royal family, so I asked about her sister, “Then what does that make Lucy?” Now, I assumed she would connect the dots and make her a princess too, but apparently she had other plans.
“She’s my helper lady,” she replied.
So Evie makes herself a princess and her sister a lady-in-waiting. Or perhaps servant girl. Either way, definitely not a princess.
As I’ve mentioned before, little siblings love to show up older siblings as a means of overcoming the Luigi Complex. But in the moment, it struck me as going a little too far that fantasizing about being a princess was on equal footing with fantasizing about making your older sister make the fire, fix the breakfast, wash the dishes, do the mopping. Unless her imagination has so thoroughly created this world and she knew all the roles that needed to be cast. I suppose somebody has to be the princess’ helper, and its not like Grandpa fits the part. I’m sure that’s not it though. She was absolutely using her imaginary royal status to put her older sister in her fanciful place. Taken aback by her sister’s royal assignment, I forgot to ask about where her little brother fit into the scenario, but I assume he’s a stable boy.
I wonder if she lays awake at night imagining that she’s in her castle, she’s getting ready for a lavish ball, she’s in a big fancy dress, and she needs her corset tied and her chamber pot emptied. Her escape from reality not complete without an escape from her domineering older sister as well. I assume that’s healthy. I mean, it has to be more healthy than treating her sister like a servant in reality, right? Her little kiddo brain is doing its best to keep peace in the kingdom, and its working with what it has. Keeping in mind I have done zero research into child psychology, that seems pretty advanced to me. Light years beyond stealing her toys for sure. If escaping to her own little magic kingdom keeps her happy and coping with her sister then more power to her – as long as I still get to be king.
Though maybe the big takeaway isn’t how she sees her sister, but how she sees herself. To a a four year-old, a princess is the epitome of awesome, and if she thinks she is the most awesome person in the realm, then good for her. I guess it would be fine with me if she turns out to be a princess who mows her own lawn and understands that defense wins championships. I still won’t call her “princess” though. Even if she does end up being a real princess someday, I’ll still call her anything I want. Let the commoners call her Princess Evie, the king gets to call her Goosey Pants.