Sunday, 29 January 2012
That's Doctor Ariel, to you...
So when I found out my firstborn was going to be a girl, I took a bit of mild ribbing from some quarters about what I'd do if she was a girlie-girl, given that I'm, well... put it this way, I never played with Barbie or Sindy as neither held much interest for me, but I can hold my own in any conversation about Transformers, He-man or Thundercats (not the new versions, mind!) The joys of having a brother! Although I'm pretty sure that the He-man figures were mine first...
I do remember some princesses featuring in my childhood though... how I longed for the more exotic name of "Melisande" - the princess from "Flight of Dragons"- which after "Samantha" (worryingly, after Sam Fox) I thought was the most beautiful name in the world, ever. And wishing I had long blonde hair, something they both had in common. I was definitely mid-primary school when the name-changing blonde-hair yearnings began.
I'm not sure why Ms Fox passed across my childhood consciousness, but I think just from hearing her talked about in the media, in the way that Jordan is now (only with Ms Price it's even more so). Possibly also Top of The Pops, which tallies with the timescale. So in the context of page 3 girls, are Disney Princesses comparatively harmless?
I have to say I'm really not keen on some of the messages that 'Disney Princesses' in particular put out there - the point of life is to be pretty above all, to be passively rescued from your fate, meet your Prince, get married, keep being pretty, yawn - but my position's been challenged lately, as the Girl's friends are big on all that franchise... So the dilemma then becomes how my principles mesh with the reality of child-raising. I'm not raising my child in isolation from other influences. How can you? But do I exclude her from 'princess parties', grudgingly go along with it, or try and keep some perspective...
I'm aiming for the latter, and taking the line that princesses are probably like a box of chocolate: not that you never know what you're going to get, more that if you have the odd one now and again, in context of an otherwise varied diet it's fine.
And while I'm not a fan of princesses, I will make an exception for Princess Pearl. She of the 'zog' book, from the 'Gruffalo' stable of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. I'd forgotten about her, til we had that story for bedtime tonight. She gives up being a princess to become a doctor - sensible choice in these stormy times - and with a small suggestion from me, the Girl was pretty keen for me to make a 'white coat' for her Ariel toy. Although she's still a bit confused as to why Ariel wears 'silly shoes' that she can't stand up in (that'll be because her hair makes up about half of her bodyweight, dear).
"You don't wear silly shoes, do you Mummy?"
Um. Well, sometimes. Maybe. *cough*
If you want to make a white coat, take:
Some white paper or plastic.
Cut a rectangle of appropriate size.
Cut holes for arms, and put on doll.
Secure with appropriate fastening (yes, I know the rubber band makes it look more like a kimono)
Bodge together optional stethoscope with pipe-cleaner. Ta-dah!
Princesses. Huh. These days, I'm more likely to be carried off by a man in a white coat than a knight on horseback, but hey...