Saturday, March 31, 2012

Being Herself

When Eliza was just a baby, I remember Nathan telling me he would always encourage our little girl to be anything she wanted to be. He talked to me about not forcing my own expectations or desires upon her, and he stressed the importance of letting Eliza be herself. Nathan is a free spirit (obviously...and much unlike me, might I add), so of course he wanted his child to be independent. It didn't matter if she was 2 months old or 2 years old, Nathan wanted me to avoid labels and instead embrace whatever she was, while encouraging her to be a better person.

This was hard for me. It still is hard for me.

I have found myself calling her "the colicky one" or the "bad sleeper" or a "terrible eater" and a number of other terms of non-endearment. Eliza has marched to the beat of her own drum since day one, and  Nathan was most certainly granted his desire for an independent child.

Eliza has always known what she wants. In recent months, that is anything and everything pink. Eliza loves cars and puzzles, but her true loves are princesses because most things associated with them are pink. She isn't a fan of playing with dolls, but will spend hours dressing herself up. She is her own doll.

We now come back to the point of allowing our daughter to be herself. What Eliza wants to be (without much encouragement or exposure at all to the idea) is a princess. Contrary to popular belief, we have not trained her to love pink or princesses. She hasn't even watched a full Disney Princess movie (only the scenes with songs from Beauty and the Beast), but she loves the idea of wearing her princess nightgown, dancing with a tutu on, twirling a wand, and wearing a crown. She calls herself "Princess Pea," so I think it is safe to point the finger at the educational PBS show Super Why! for this one.

I'm sure the lady who wrote How Cinderella Ate My Daughter would greatly disapprove of us, but Nathan and I can't help but indulge our daughter and her passion for princesses. I honestly see no harm in letting her feel like a little princess (which is, by the way, one of my favorite movies and (also by the way) one of the only movies that can make Nathan cry like a baby (the part where Sarah draws a circle around herself  and cries, "Papa!" always gets him)).

When Eliza was sick, she just wanted to be in her princess nightgown all day. I knew she was feeling better when she brought over one of her pink gowns and asked me to help her put it on.

Look at this smile! This is pure happiness. So, despite our conversation to avoid "labeling," Nathan and I both agree that it is safe to say Eliza is our little princess.

She just is.


  1. y'all make pretty babies. :) she is so darling.

  2. She makes a perfect princess. :)

  3. Megan enjoyed her princess dresses at that age, too. Enjoy it. And don't worry about it. Now, if your boys want to dress in pink princess dresses... that's another story. ;)

    ps Your boys might spend some time in princess dresses if Eliza has anything to do with it.

  4. I forgot to tell you, but I've been seeing Princess dresses on sale on these deal sites everywhere and I kept thinking of Eliza and very strongly considered buying one for her. I think it's wonderful for you guys to let your kids just be themselves and be okay with it. As someone who grew up feeling like it wasn't okay to be myself, I can't tell you how important that is.

  5. Sometimes you just can't fight it! :) I think just about every girl 2 and up these days is into princesses, and if that's what they want to like, it's more upsetting for the kid if you don't allow it and fight with them about it. In some articles about this whole thing, I've read (and agree) that as long as you expose your daughter to a variety of activities and emphasize the good (not "beauty-related") characteristics of princesses, it's really not bad. A lot of them are strong-willed and independent, love learning and cultivating talents, and are kind to others. So there, Cinderella book lady! :) One more thing: my niece Saide is princess-obsessed, and on Saturday my mom said to her, "What cute little legs you have!" and Saide responded, "That's because they're princess legs!" :)


A Penny For Your Thoughts