I started out as one of those moms who was going to take a stand against the whole princess-i-fication of little girlhood. No Disney-princess videos or clothing or toys or other assorted stuff for my money, thanks! We tried to hold off on the Barbie thing too. But the culture is persistent. There are ads and Happy Meal toys and sweet relatives who give Christmas gifts, and Rose's first Barbie that came when she broke her arm (by way of an emergency-room staffer)! So the princesses have encroached, and I kinda learned to live & let live.
And this year, the princesses saved my bacon for Halloween.
For some reason, Halloween costume ideas didn't flow freely this year. We've had some really cool themed-costumes where we dressed the girls in a coordinated way, like last year's pirate wench (Rose) and hook (Joy). Last year's Halloween post took a trip down costume memory lane, as I perused old photos with my college classmate whose daughter Elizabeth is our regular trick-or-treat companion.
We'd sort of settled on costumes whereby Rose would be a soccer player -- just wearing her soccer gear -- and Joy would sport a soccer ball on her sweatshirt. But then Elizabeth's mom made an offer we couldn't refuse. She just happened to have princess dresses from two of Elizabeth's previous Halloweens, a magnificent home-made Snow White dress and an elegant dress from a couple of years later. Would these possibly fit our girls?
Oh yes, and perfectly.
The Snow White dress was comfy cotton, just the thing for a kiddo who gets distracted by too many furbelows. Though at first glance Joy doesn't look just thrilled in the above pic, she's actually mugging for the camera here. That grimace is her current "cheese" smile! (I love it that my daughter should have figured out a "cheese" smile!)
Our trick-or-treat group was a large one, between the Joy-family, Elizabeth and her mom, J-Cat and his sister and parents, and two of this year's LEND trainees who are doing a family-mentoring experience with us to get a glimpse into what it means for our family that Joy is who she is. The noisy crowd didn't seem to bother Joy, though. She was remarkably chipper and cooperative as we traipsed up one side of the dark street and down the other, making a fine effort to convey candy from the proffered baskets into her plastic pumpkin, and ringing the doorbell with minimal prompting when it was her turn. Of course it took a parent keeping a solid hold on her hand and guiding her with the group every step, but she didn't protest a bit.
In fact, she didn't even protest when the clock struck midnight, and the prince pursued her down the flight of marble stairs leading from the palace, and her glass slipper fell from her delicate foot...
You may think I've got the wrong fairy tale here, but bear with me.
As JoyDad shepherded our princess toward the second-to-last house we were going to take her to, he suddenly looked down and noticed that Joy was missing a shoe. It was hard to catch in the darkness, because she was wearing dark pants under her dress, and dark socks, and the little velcro tennies were a dark brown. But somewhere along the line she had stepped out of a shoe, and trotted on entirely uncomplainingly!
You can perhaps imagine how it looked then, as our large party suddenly began to retrace the route. It was only up and down one block, but we didn't know how long the shoe had been gone, we didn't have flashlights (duh), and there were nice brown autumn leaves all over the place. We ended up back at home with a single-shoe princess, and even two more search party forays with flashlight did not find the elusive footwear.
Well, Joy ended up playing back indoors, cheerful as could be, while I chatted a while further with the LEND trainees. Rose and company went on trick-or-treating -- she eventually brought home a HUGE stash of candy, apparently having told at each house the sad story of how her sister-princess had lost a shoe and had to stop trick-or-treating and so could I please have extra candy for my sister?
Then after the trainees had gone, and the house was still, the doorbell rang once more. It was the prince! And the royal grandma! Well, OK, it was one neighbor each from the two houses in between which we had discovered that the slipper had been cast. The two of them had gone out in search of that elusive little shoe, and had found it for us!
And it fit perfectly, and we all lived happily ever after.