The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: daughter

Mommy is the Root of All Evil

Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt, and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct, and Woefully Neglectful Wives.

Here they are, flashing their dirty bits yet again in the second of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister-post

___________________________________________________

One time I admitted to the women in my babysitting co-op that I let my kids watch SpongeBob SquarePants. Oh, the horror on their faces! You would have thought I said that I let my kids watch snuff films and porn. (Which I hardly ever do… anymore.) 

So I refilled my wine glass and attempted to defend myself. I’m not a huge fan of cat fights or confrontation in general, so I probably should have just kept my mouth shut… but I didn’t. It was not pretty. 

They unanimously rallied that SpongeBob (and to some, the Nickelodeon channel in general) teaches bad values. “There are bad words like ‘shut up’ and ‘idiot’ on that show!” they tutted.

“Well, same with every damn Disney movie!” I argued. “At least there is a strong female supporting character on SpongeBob… you know, Sandy?! The flying squirrel who is a deep sea scientist and martial arts expert? Sha! . . . and another thing, Disney Princesses are HORRIBLE role models for girls! I hate them. Hate them all.” 

“Focus Iris. We’re not talking about Disney. SpongeBob is violent!” they needled.

“Have you seen BOLT yet? The opening sequence has exploding helicopters and a chase scene that makes me want to put a nitroglycerin tablet under my tongue.”

“[We] just don’t like how the characters treat each other and talk to each other on that show. It is disgraceful!”

“Have you even watched it? SpongeBob is the single most optimistic, loyal, and moral friend, neighbor, and employee on TV right now. He is a beacon of light and hope! And the show is hilarious. My kids get it. We laugh a lot when we watch that show and I will actually watch it with them, as opposed to Barney or Dora the Explorer which make me want to poke my eyes out and stomp on them.” Oh shit… I’m crossing the line. I’m like a Pit Bull with lipstick now… only I can’t see Russia from my house, probably because my windows are so dirty. 

“Fine. Suit yourself. But please don’t let my kids watch it when (if ever again, doubtful, but if) they are at your house.” 

“Fine.” (Gulp, gulp, gulp, breathe, think of something witty to retort, refill, dramatic pause for effect, and…) “Then don’t teach my daughter that her VAGINA is called a ‘down-there’ when she is at YOUR house. Deal.” So there! Pththththththththth!

Ugh. 

Why do we do it to each other? Why must we judge each others’ parenting like this? Is it because we need to feel competent or superior to someone else in order to feel better about our own work as parents? Or is it just human nature to compare and judge? I honestly know of no other role in which people feel so entitled to act so “holier than thou.” It is an epidemic among mothers in my circle.  

I don’t have the answer, but I know I’m equally guilty of being judged by my neighbors and friends as I am of judging them in return. We’re all still friends, but don’t kid yourself, there is judging and finger pointing going on here. 

The SpongeBob thing is just one of many examples of ways that my parenting style differs from some of my friends’ parenting. More often than not, I seem to be the one who is doing it “wrong.” I am not a model parent. I think my kids thrive in spite of me, not because of me. But I try. I get out of bed everyday and I try. I fail a lot… if you read this blog often, you know that already. But I also laugh a lot and I think the laughter is good for the kiddies… at least it compensates for the chaos. I’m not structured, I don’t provide routines or systems or much consistency, but I’m good at first aid, bodily fluid cleanup, celebrity impressions, and loving my babies unconditionally with all my heart and soul.  

I recently spent a lovely evening at a friend’s house with my kids. While the adults were gabbing away at the table, my 6 year old daughter and their 7 year old son came running to us with some kind of monumental problem. The boy was clearly frustrated and felt that he was the recipient of a grave injustice, which is his achilles heel, and he very begrudgingly started to cry. It was heartbreaking to watch his face struggle with trying to keep it together. My daughter, “Klepto,” is the kind of kid who, I hate to say it, is frequently the reason why other kids in her vicinity cry. We have a pattern and I’m not proud of it, but when someone around her bursts into tears, I instinctively ask her: “What did you do?” Wait – don’t judge yet. There is a history there. She is a very passionate, physical child and she has a well established history of age-appropriate violence… probably from watching all that SpongeBob.

Well, there we were, guests in my friends’ home, and me not wanting to take the lead in resolving or helping the kids to resolve the issue. Plus, my friend is one of the best parents I know and I wanted to see what she would do and learn from her. So I sat there in silence while she suggested that Klepto and Carson go sit down with “The Peace Rock” and talk. 

WHAT? “The Peace Rock?” Are you fucking kidding me? Dude. Why not get out “The Peace Pistol” or “The Peace Nunchucks,” I teased my friends. I was very skeptical. They know my daughter; they know she can be somewhat explosive, impulsive, and physical. They are smart people and amazing parents. But what works for their kids is totally not going to work for mine. Come on… look at us… we watch butt-loads of TV and eat trans fats by the kilo. So, I’m sitting there, biting my tongue, thinking, “OK, your house, your rules. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.” And my friend’s husband left the room to facilitate The Peace Rock protocol while I sat there listening for screams and imagining how the court case would go when they sue me for damages. 

Long story short, The Peace Rock totally worked. I was SHOCKED… not about the success of their method, but about it working with my daughter who I have clearly labeled and underestimated. The Peace Rock is a great idea. It teaches listening skills and respect and conflict resolution. But I’m guessing that the first time a kid tries this move on the playground, they are going to get their ass kicked and their head dented by a rock. I think it worked the other night because there was a loving adult right there facilitating it. That probably wouldn’t happen in my house. I would yell across the yard, “Klepto, quit crying, get The Peace Rock, and work it out with your brothers!” while I did a diaper change, stirred the slop, chased down the dog who was running with the remote control in his mouth, and answered the phone to discover that the Assistant Principal would like to schedule a meeting with me, again, to discuss Klepto’s behavior on the playground today involving, you guessed it, a rock. I know myself. I could never pull this off. But kudos to my friends who do. Maybe I could try The Peace Pillow… no, smothering risk. The Peace Sock? Hmmm, maybe. Oh who am I kidding? I am lazy. I’m just gonna keep using the The Peace Earplugs…a.k.a. Ignore-It-Until-The-Whining-Stops-or-Someone-Is-Bleeding. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone who knows me blames me for Klepto’s battles with socially inappropriate behavior… after all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Some probably point their fingers and whisper things like “I wonder where she gets it!” and “Well, you know they watch SpongeBob and eat partially hydrogenated oils!” I’m pretty sure about this because I do the same thing. I judge my friend Tammy for letting her 9 year old son watch Drake and Josh, and I ask her not to let my son watch it when he is there. We still love each other more than our luggage, but we don’t always approve of each other’s parenting or Vulva Candy decorating choices. I judge my friend Carol for letting her toddler drink Diet Coke. And I’m gonna bet that my Peace Rock loving friends shake their heads in pity at my obvious lack of parenting tools. See that? There is a continuum. Like a spectrum of parenting evils… trans fats are bad, but at least I don’t give my kids aspartame! I yell at my kids, often in fact, but at least I don’t beat them with a belt or make them kneel on rice in the corner. See the reasoning? We all do it… we all compare and justify. If you don’t, you are either Jesus Christ or a fucking liar.  

It is the toughest, most important job there is, but one thing I know for sure about parenting: right, wrong, or somewhere in between, we are all just doing the best we can. The bottom line is that we all love our children and we all feel terrible when we make mistakes. When I’m not busy blaming my parents, I like to fault technology for the crazy state of the world today. We are all so inundated with information about the right and best and most *whatever* ways to do everything from feed, to discipline, to potty train our kids, that we must instinctively rely on needing to feel superior at something as a survival technique… a way to keep doing it day after day and not feel like an overwhelmed failure so much of the time. Or, ahem, maybe that’s just me. I just wish we could all be better at supporting, nurturing, and educating each other instead of being so quick to compare and judge. It’s something I’d like to work on. Join me, won’t you?

By the way… my daughter did tell me to “shut [my] half-wit pie hole” once — just once. She was four and it was out of context, but as soon as I picked my jaw off the ground, stopped trying to stifle my simultaneous urges to giggle and throttle her, and was able to form a sentence, I demanded: “WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT?” “Squidward said it to SpongeBob,” she spat. “Hmmm,” said I. So we watch it together now and talk about how inappropriate Squidward can be at times and strategize about things he could do to be a better friend. Not all the time. Just sometimes. But clearly it is making a difference… Carson’s head is not dented by “The Peace Rock,” and I have some good friends who love me and my daughter in spite of ourselves.

Piece of Cake

The other day was my daughter Mini-Me’s 6th Birthday. Pretty momentous day for a little girl… she had been looking forward to it for 364 days. The sweet little thing even bounded out of bed with a big smile that morning, shouting “It’s my BIRTHDAY!!! This is going to be the best day EVER!” Eh, no pressure.

So when did I start to think about her birthday cake? At 4:00 PM that very day, when I knew darn well I had a handful of in-laws arriving at 6:30 for cake and presents.

My plan was to run to the grocery store, buy a generic chocolate cake from the bakery that afternoon, and slap some decorative toys and her name in icing on the top. Easy, right?

The thing is, I never actually got to the store that day. Little Bucket Head did not wake from his nap at the usual time, and I’m definitely not one to ever wake a sleeping dog or baby. So at 3:30 when he was still asleep and it didn’t look like we were going to make it to the store, I thought, “No problem, I can improvise.” And voila! What magically appeared, but one lovely box of Devil’s Food cake mix, right in my own pantry. Hallelujah!

Now, with luck like that on my side, did I just make a simple sheet cake? Or how about a relatively simple double layer round cake? Noooooooo. What would be the fun in that?

Yes, with less than 2.5 hours until party time and no intention of keeping it simple, I had a brilliant idea. How about one of those fancy “Barbie Cakes”? And I just so happened to have one of those batter bowls in which you can bake a round hoop-skirt shaped cake! What’s more, I even saved the recipe card that came with it (and knew where it was, surprisingly) – so I had instructions for such a task. Sweet! This was going to be easier than I thought!

Feeling overly confident and wanting to make this a birthday to remember (with minimal effort, in two hours or less), I let Mini-Me help me mix up the box of cake batter. She broke the three eggs, added the oil and water, and operated the controls on my handy-dandy Kitchen Aid mixer.  We greased that big ol’ batter bowl together, poured in the cake mix, stuck it in the oven, and waited.

5:30 PM. Out came the cake. Not burned! YES! Not undercooked. YES! I was on a roll! Things were going my way. Still plenty of time for it to cool while I whipped up some real buttercream frosting, from scratch, thankyouverymuch. I just needed to feed the fam a quick taco meal, frost the cake, wrap the present, tidy up the kitchen, and be ready to greet my in-laws and two sisters-in-law for our little party in exactly one hour. No problem. You know what would help? A glass of wine. Make that two.

At 6:00 PM the cake was cool enough to frost. Not cold, but good enough. I inverted it on a plate, started to frost it, and then realized I had forgotten to stick in the Barbie! DOH! So I scooped a little hole out of the top, wrapped Barbie’s bottom and legs in Press’n Seal®, and plunged her lower half into the cake.  And that is when it hit me… oh, shit.

dsc_0003

See that? She is totally too tall for the cake!  Her entire cellophaned goodie basket is sticking out for the whole world to see. What the hell? (Note the fish-bowl-sized wine glass in the background.) This would not do. What kind of message would this send to my impressionable 6 year old girl? “Happy Birthday! I’m so excited for you that I pulled down my skirt! WHOO-HOOO! Excitement = Nudity! Remember that and practice it yourself everywhere you go from now on, ok? PARTY ON, GIRL!”

Dammit. What did I do wrong? I consulted the directions. Uh oh. On the back of the recipe card is an addendum for the Doll Cake Variation: “Bake two cakes separately…”  FUCK.  Apparently you should cut a few inches off the bottom of one cake and add onto the bottom of the other cake to make the skirt high enough to accommodate a lanky Barbie. Ugh. That would have been good to know about two hours ago. Or actually, two days ago when I was shopping for groceries.

What to do? THINK, dammit. The clock was ticking! Choices, choices. I could have cut the Barbie in half. No, Mini-Me wouldn’t have liked that. I could have just gone with the “I’m so excited, I’m half naked” scenario. No, not good parenting… especially in front of the grandparents. I could have slathered her naughty bits in frosting. Sounds fun, but would it stick? No time to experiment!

WAIT. I remembered something. I had recently read a fabulously funny and educational post all about cake decorating! YES! The author stated that marshmallows were great for covering a multitude of cake decorating sins. Did I even have marshmallows? Yes – I did. What a magic pantry! Praise Jeeeeezus.

dsc_0005

Sweet… with just minutes to spare, the marshmallow trick worked! Bye-bye bald Barbie beaver! I just needed to finish frosting the skirt and I could wrap the gift. Trying to keep Mini-Me involved and therefore out of mischief, I handed her a spoon of frosting to sample.

Tap-tap on my leg. Uh oh… more trouble in paradise:

“Mommy?”

“Yes?”

“I don’t like the frosting.”

“WHAT? It’s buttercream! It’s pink! There is like a whole stick of butter in there! What’s not to like!?”

“It is too sweet.” Mini-Me whined.

“Oh. For. The. Love. Of. God… Fine. I won’t frost her backside.” Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that.

dsc_0006

Look at that sweet, round, chocolatey badonkadonk. Don’t you just want to sink your teeth into it?

Following the birthday girl’s explicit whine instructions, I slathered the über-sweet frosting on Barbie’s front only. But when I finished, the kids thought her puffy pink backless frock was a bit boring and they wanted to jazz it up with some designer detail. I added a few drops of blue to the leftover pink frosting thinking blue + red = purple. But, I must not have been paying attention the day we learned the color wheel in art class because apparently blue + pale pink = necrotic tissue gray. Not very appetizing. Last time I saw that color it was on a crayon called “Dead Armadillo.”

dsc_0020

 

Here are the kids “gilding the lily.” Only in this case, the lily is a fucked-up improperly executed half-ass (literally) skirt cake and the gold-leaf is roadkill colored excess buttercream frosting that the birthday girl refuses to eat. But at least they are having fun, being creative, and not complaining about how ugly the cake is.

dsc_0012

 

But all’s well that ends well. Didn’t she turn out purdy? (One whole bottle of wine later.) Mini-Me very thoughtfully arranged her arms like that. “Ready? OK! Gimme an F!”

dsc_00151

 

And look at her after a few “pieces of tail” were sliced off…

dsc_0031

She looked like naked “stuck in the well Barbie.” Or bare-ass “pull me out of this dirty hole Barbie.” Oh my, I just had a major college flashback. Yikes!

So, the moral of the story is:
a.) don’t wait until the last minute to think about or bake a cake.
b.) always have more than one box of cake mix in your pantry for emergencies.
c.) always read a recipe the WHOLE WAY THROUGH before you start cooking.
d.) if you blow it on items a, b, and c above, let the birthday girl help bake and decorate the cake, and she’ll never notice the fact that it is one ugly last-minute-mo-fo.

Phew. Crisis averted. And 364 days to plan ahead for next time.

© 2008 The Bearded Iris

Dirty Girl

My five year old daughter, Klepto, announced a few days ago that she needed new tennis shoes. Great. Good Lord, kids are such money-pits, aren’t they?

So, wanting to be a good mother, and suspecting that the ancient art of foot-binding probably doesn’t fit with that notion in the U-S-of-A,  I loaded up the minivan and took the whole brood to the outlet mall after school. Not my favorite thing to do during happy hour.  Personally, I would rather donate a cornea than go shopping with children.  

Well, being that Klepto is indeed my mini-me, I immediately realized why I had procrastinated for so long about getting her some new shoes.  Somewhere between the second and the third shoe store, I suddenly had flashbacks of shoe shopping as a child.  I remember it so clearly now!  My Dad would take me on a Saturday and I would be sitting there on the bench, about 20 boxes of shoes forming a semi-circle around me, and one very exasperated looking shoe salesman waiting for a decision.  My Dad, never a very patient man, was giving me the stink-eye; silently willing me to hurry-up-and-just-fucking-pick-one, because if I didn’t choose something RIGHT NOW, there would be no new shoes. My Mom probably delegated the shoe shopping chore to Dad because she had a low pain threshold and knew that if anyone could frighten me out of my indecisiveness, it would be my Dad.  Hmmmm, indecisiveness, major symptom of ADD.  See, even then.  

Fast forward thirty-some years and there we were, Klepto, Nature Boy, Bucket Head, and me.  And we were in our fourth shoe store at the outlet mall. Bucket Head (the toddler) was getting restless. “The Witching Hour” was upon us, and me without an Elmo’s World video and my cocktail. I was losing steam quickly. Don’t you just hate when store clerks glare at you just because your kids are touching every single item in the store with their boogery fingers and your baby is smashing and throwing Goldfish crackers on the floor? So rude. Mothers are customers too, ya know. I have money to spend, people. Don’t fuck with the Mommy…I’ll take my husband’s credit cards elsewhere.  

My poor daughter.  She was not being difficult on purpose. She just knows what she wants and knows how to get it. I admire her so much for her free spirit, and fashion sense, and fortitude.  She finally found the pair she liked….they were cute AND comfy.  Cha-ching.  Here is what they looked like the next morning on her way out the door for school:

Cute, right?  And look how sassy she is pairing them with a big floral printed dress! Totally her idea.

So I thought we were in the clear. New shoes? Check. Happy child? Check. Twenty five dollars gone from my wallet? Check. Oh, not so fast, Grasshoppah.  

Klepto got home from school 8 hours later. Her new shoes were a huge hit with the other kindergarteners and she felt like a rock star. Plus, they made her run SO FAST, that she wanted to keep them on for our trip to a new park to meet some friends that afternoon. Sure honey. Sounds great.

Only one problem…I didn’t realize this park had a pond.

DAMMIT. Less than 24 hours after we bought them.  Look how smart I was, to have her change into play pants too. Even when I think I am on it, I am so clearly not.

Well that is ok. Deep breath. I am nothing if not a highly skilled stain remover. All I need is my handy-dandy Oxy Clean.  Now where is that?…

Wash out your ego every once in a while, as cleanliness is next to godliness
not just in body but in humility as well.
  ~Abbe Yeux-verdi

Sticky Situation

True story.

Yesterday we took the kids bowling at one of those family arcade joints. We had a blast. My only complaints were that real bowling is way harder than Wii bowling and the place was crazy loud. Like Vegas. Bells, lights, chaos. It was “Cosmic Bowling” in black light…really hard to keep the 18 month old out of other people’s lanes, especially with his ball obsession. Also hard to keep track of the kids in the arcade. Especially three…they had us outnumbered.

So, I must confess, there were moments when one child was unsupervised, but never for long. It was like triage…always keep eyes or hands on baby, know the general vicinity of the middle child, hope the best for the first-born.

But overall, the kids did great. They played the games, won a gazillion tickets, traded them in at the goodie counter for some lead-based, petroleum derivative, made-in-China choking-hazards, and then we went home for dinner.

A couple of hours later, we were eating together and having a wonderful family discussion about politics and the upcoming election (go OBAMA!) Our 8-year-old son was truly engaged and asking great questions about the difference between democrats and republicans. Our 5-year-old daughter was hanging in there, trying so hard to understand our very basic explanation about taxes and helping others. And the baby, well, he was throwing his pieces of chicken onto the floor for the dog and pointing to his facial features shouting “EYE!  EA-OH (ear)!  NO (nose)!  MOW! (mouth).” It felt like our own modern version of a Norman Rockwell painting: the whole family, eating a nutritious homemade meal together, discussing current events. Ahhh…the good life. Well, a moment of the good life, anyway. It was suddenly interrupted when my 5-year-old daughter shrieked “OUCH!  My panties are sticking to me!” Then she got up, ran into the bathroom, and slammed the door.

WTF? My husband and I looked at each other across the table like “you go,” “no, YOU go.” Then we heard her make a sound like an animal caught in a trap and I got up and knocked on the bathroom door.

“Honey? Can I come in?” I asked.

“OK.”

“Why are your panties sticking to you?”

“I don’t know. But it hurts!”

“Can I see?”

“NO!!!”

“Please?”

“OK.”

So I gently pulled down her blue cotton Hanes skort and slowly tried to pull her little Hello Kitty panties away from her body. It was no good. They were indeed stuck to her. Stuck like glue.

“Honey. What is in your panties?”

“Gum.”

“GUM? How did it get there?” I hadn’t given her gum in weeks! Not since the dentist appointment…the dentist appointment from Hell.

“Well…(long pause, eye shifting, here comes the lie)…when we were at the arcade…well, I accidentally slipped and fell down…right on a piece of gum…and it went into my panties.”

“A chewed piece of gum? There is a chewed piece of gum in your panties?”

“Uh-huh.”

“From the floor of the arcade? A piece of gum that someone else chewed and spit out onto the floor?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Honey. (Ahem.) Did you pick up a piece of chewed gum off the floor of the arcade and stick it in your panties? Tell Mommy the truth. You aren’t in trouble, I just need to know the truth, ok?”

“OK (quietly, eyes down). I picked it up and put it in my panties.”

(HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!! WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING????? THIS WAS NOT COVERED IN MY PARENTING CLASS!!! MY CHICKEN IS GETTING COLD AND MY CHILD HAS A PIECE OF SOMEONE ELSE’S GUM STUCK TO HER TWAT!!!)

“OK sweetie. Thank you for telling me the truth. Let’s see if we can get your panties unstuck.”

So I slowly pulled the fabric away from her skin and sure enough there was a HUGE pink wad of chewed up bubble gum stuck right to her little va-jay-jay. Right in front. Front and center. Oh for the love of GOD! I didn’t know what was the grossest part…the fact that it was a piece of gum chewed and spit onto the floor by a random stranger, or the fact that this wad of germ infested ABC gum was stuck to her sweet little beaveroonie.

Do not panic! Focus. I peeled the gum away from her skin as gingerly as possible. This was no easy task. It wasn’t like a Band-Aid…I couldn’t just rip it off. Her body heat had melted the gum and made it very gooey. I had to slowly peel it and then pick away at the little bits left behind. Poor little girl. The vulva is definitely not the body part you ever want to have your Mother picking away at. After what seemed like an eternity, I got most of it off; there was just a little pink sticky residue left, and that came off with the help of a little vaseline on a paper towel. (Got that? Try to get a tip like that from daytime TV! “Next on Rachel Ray: How to Remove ABC Gum from Your Vagina.”)

My poor sweet baby girl was rather embarrassed by the whole affair. I stuck her right into the tub and she said, “Mommy. I’m really sorry.”

“That’s ok, baby. We all make mistakes.”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, sugar pants? I mean, yes gummy-bear, er, sweetie-puss?! DOH! Yes, honey?”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No honey. I just want you to promise me something…promise Mommy that you’ll never pick up a piece of chewed gum again, OK? It is very dirty and germy and gross. You can get really sick from touching other people’s chewed gum. OK? And definitely don’t ever stick it in your panties again…K? Double gross.”

“OK. I promise. (Long pause)…does that mean I shouldn’t put it in my mouth either?”

ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

© 2008 The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.

Pretty

My husband recorded part of the Olympics several nights ago to show the kids.  It was the Trampoline Finals (WTF? Who even knew this was an Olympic sport?).  We have a trampoline in our back yard and my kids think they are the shiznit when they do a summersault on it.  “Look Mom!  LOOK!  WATCH ME!  Are you watching?  Mom LOOK!  I’m gonna do a flip!”  So I watch.  And it is just a summersault.  Not a flip.  But of course I say “Great job honey!” Then I start to panic because I remember reading an article about the dangers of over-praising your kids and I shout “That’s a great summersault!  Keep practicing…you’ll be doing flips in no time!”  So when we watched the Olympic trampolining together and witnessed these incredible young women bounce 3 stories high and do multiple twists and flips and contortions in mid air, you would think my kids would say, “WOW! That is amazing! I wish I could do THAT!” But alas, they did not. My 8 year old son said, completely straight faced, “That is almost exactly the same way I do it.”  And my 5 year old daughter said, “She’s not very pretty.” OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!  Where should I begin?  

Let’s start with the boy. Crap!  I have clearly over-praised this first born son. But, I’m actually rather impressed by his inflated sense of self.  Maybe this will serve him well in life.  If you believe it, you can achieve it, right?  Perhaps I could learn from this child and have a little more faith in my own abilities. Clearly I have done something right as a mother for this boy to have such a positive self esteem.  Now if only I could figure out what that is and apply it to the other two.  

Now for the girl. Oy. I just have one thing to say to all you Disney Princesses out there: FUCK YOU.  My daughter is so amazing.  She is fierce and strong and funny as hell.  She is spirited and spunky and smart. So how is it possible that this feisty young girl, this fruit of my womb, could watch a jaw dropping Olympic feat of strength and skill and not be able to appreciate it because the gymnast wasn’t pretty?  Isn’t strong pretty? Isn’t skill pretty?  Aren’t confidence, determination, focus, and dedication pretty?  I need to do an intervention with this child. Now.  

Disney Princesses, I blame you. You are everywhere my daughter turns. Not just on TV or in movies, but on toys, birthday party invitations, gift wrap, and even little panties. You are in our faces with your animated and unrealistic beauty. You have no moles, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, gray hairs, or pimples.  Your teeth are perfectly white.  Animals come to you when you sing.  That is charisma!  Every little girl I’ve ever met wants to be you.  But I am here to say that I see through your cartoony facades.  It is time that someone took you bee-otches back to school.    

Cinderella, yes, your father let you down by not providing for you in his will.  We all have Daddy issues…get over it.  You should have kicked your stepmother’s ass or at least taken her to Royal Court for a portion of the estate.  You did not have to stay there and cook and clean for those bitches and you certainly did not need a charming prince to rescue you. You are no role model, sister. You are a doormat. A very pretty doormat, yes, but not a role model.  Stay away from my daughter.  

Snow White, same to you.  With those organizational skills and innate abilities at communicating with forest animals, you could have had a fabulous career in Zoology or dog whispering.  Shame on you for squandering your talents.  Next time, listen to your parents and don’t talk to strangers bearing gifts.  

Sleeping Beauty – stick that gold plated spinning needle up your animated ass.  Your parents and legal guardians were morons. Nobody should have let you out of their site on your sixteenth birthday.  But they did and of course you touched the needle and poof you are dead….at least until that kiss.  But again with the whole Prince Charming thing….ack.  

Princess Jasmine and Ariel….oppressed by fathers, rescued by princes, yadda yadda yadda.  Can’t we get a good father figure for once here?  And where are the mothers for God’s sake?  No wonder these girls are such a mess.

Belle, I like that you are a voracious reader and want to get out of that poor provincial town.  Yes.  Bravo! However, your shallowness disturbs me.  I do not like that you were unwilling to publicly profess your love for the beast until it was seemingly too late, and that you were rewarded for your lack of committment with his extreme makeover into a handsome human prince.  Good Lord, another prince.  Belle, your behavior perpetuates the practice of judging a book by its cover…ironic, considering your love of books.  You should know better.  (Also, weak father figure and no mother….I’m seeing a pattern here….hmmmm.)  

Mulan, you kick ass girl.  And I like that you defend your father’s honor.  That is good stuff.  Too bad you have to pretend to be a boy in order to achieve your goal.  I guess that doesn’t really promote the “just be yourself” principle.  Damn, thought I had a good one for a minute there.

Thank goodness for Princess Fiona and Shrek, although that is not a Disney flick, which explains a lot.  Well, at least that is a step in the right direction.  Especially in Shrek the Third when all the princesses band together to kick some ass. Good stuff. Unfortunately, I think my daughter is about as impressed with chubby green Fiona as she is with the Canadian gymnasts.  

So, I guess we’ll be doing a Disney Princess moratorium here for a little while. I am also going to take her out of Ballet class before she develops an eating disorder and enroll her in Karate.  I will take her to the library to read books about women like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman and Rachel Carson…women whose contributions were world changing and totally unrelated to their looks. I will make a concerted effort to stop praising her for looking cute or pretty and instead recognize her for good deeds and fierce determination.  I am going to stop saying things like, “Let’s ask Daddy to fix that when he gets home,” and show her some real girl power when I fix it myself.  I am going to stop making comments about others’ looks and start commenting on others’ contributions to society.  And I am going to stop watching “Bret Michael’s Rock of Love II” reruns.  That shit is just crazy.

© 2019 The Bearded Iris

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑