Saturday, August 16, 2008

Princessification = a whole lot of glitter

Before I go any further, I feel obliged to give a disclaimer: I am a very conservative parent. Really square, strict, old-fashioned, stodgy, uptight. I freely admit this. For example, my five year old has never watched High School Musical or Camp Rock and doesn't know who Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers are. She's never seen a PG rated film and even several "classic" G rated ones yet either. I am very stringent in what I feel is appropriate for her, more so than most of the rest of the parents of five year olds from what I can tell... It may be naive, but I believe in preserving the innocence of childhood as long as humanly possible, even if the larger world will be invariably crashing into our more innocent life soon enough now that Kiddo is starting elementary school. It just seems to me that kids grow up way, way too fast these days and there's plenty of time to worry about grown-up things, and precious little time to just be a kid.

That being said, the kiddo was invited to a birthday party that totally goes against everything I believe is appropriate for a five year old, and we went to it today. It was a "Perfect Princess Ball" party held at a children's salon and spa over on the ritzy side of town. Needless to say, I had reservations from the get-go, when the birthday girl's mother was first describing the party to me, but the kiddo overheard her and was really, really excited at the prospect, so I said she could go. It wasn't until this morning, mere hours before the party, that I googled the name of the salon to find out its exact location and clicked on the link for the party that I really started getting icked out. Hubby looked over my shoulder at the website's description of the party and rolled his eyes, but at that point it wasn't like I was going to tell Kiddo we weren't going, so off we went, me with teeth gritted in advance.

I'm happy to say that it wasn't as bad as I expected. Well, actually it kinda was, but I
exerted influence wherever possible to make it less Jon-Benet and more "oh this is fun if not exactly age-appropriate" in terms of the makeup and nail polish.

Yes, makeup and nail polish. The party started by each girl picking out her princess gown - Kiddo immediately and unequivocally decided upon the Cinderella gown (which is odd because she's never professed any specific favoritism among the Disney princesses, though when pushed she'll name Ariel, Cindy, Jasmine and Belle ALL as her equal favorites). Good thing they had multiples of the various gowns because I think four of the seven girls chose the same, pink gown (I think it was the Sleeping Beauty gown..?). Then after the moms helped the girls change into the princess gowns, they each had hair, makeup and manicures done. (Yes I am throwing up a little in my mouth to say that 3, 4 and 5 year olds were having manicures.) There is one official "Princess Up do" that is done at this salon and fortunately all the girls had long enough hair to accomplish the style. (Had I been an attendee at such a party in my childhood, I wouldn't have been able to have the up do as I always had short hair. I guess they just would've glitter sprayed me and been done with it and I am sure I would've been sorely disappointed.) Once the hair was secured in the official Princess coiffure, it was shellacked to the nth degree with spray-on glitter. Kiddo chose gold, but silver was also an option, and one could probably have grabbed a ball of glitter out of the air when all heads were duly sprayed. Then it was on to the makeup and nails chair, with more teeth gritting on my part... I gently steered Kiddo away from the Eff-Me Red nail polish that was her first pick to the clearish-light pink glitter polish. The girl doing her nails was shocked that by the ripe, old age of five, Kiddo had never had a manicure. (I have put polish on her toenails, but never on her fingernails yet. It just never seemed necessary, somehow... Also, I'm not a mani-pedi kind of chick myself. I've had exactly two manicures in my life - other than doing my nails myself - once for my wedding and once when I was going to be on Jeopardy.) Then it was time for the makeup application - again, I steered Kiddo away from the "Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby" or "Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver" colors. Kiddo opted for a light, light pinkish eyeshadow and blush and blue (!) glitter lip gloss that actually looked mostly clear though still quite glittery once it was on her lips. Then the girls got their "Princess glitter stars" on their cheeks, which were applied via a tool that strongly resembled a branding iron (!!) and they were ready for the catwalk.

Yes, I kid you not - a catwalk. Kiddo referred to it as a "stage" as did the other girls, but it was in fact a catwalk. The girls did a few group dances, like the Hokey Pokey and the Limbo (under a fuchsia, feather boa, of course) and then were all given their Magic Princess wands and taught the three things they needed to know to be princesses: How to wave, how to wave their wand and how to curtsy. Once they were officially schooled in all things Princess, they lined up behind the beaded curtain and one by one were called forth to walk onto the catwalk - erm, I mean stage - and be crowned and sprinkled liberally with "fairy dust" (because seriously, there may have been entire centimeters of the girls left uncovered with glitter at this point). While they did their walk-n-wave post-crowning, one of the assistants read off information gathered during the hair and makeup portion of events.

For Kiddo, she said this:

Introducing Princess Kiddo from the Kingdom of OurTown. Princess Kiddo's number one kingdom rule is to always have fun and play together. Princess Kiddo's favorite royal activity in the castle is playing with her safari animals and if she could have a royal pet, she would have a royal puppy.

(A lot of the other girls said their number one castle rule was No Boys Allowed which is something I am guessing they were prompted into a bit by the salon assistant... I don't think these girls are quite at the "boys have cooties" age yet, are they? Kiddo certainly isn't - she loves playing with boys and girls equally. A kid is a kid is a kid to her...)

After the crowning ceremony was over and all the girls had their marabou-trimmed tiaras firmly planted upon their glitter-bedecked up dos, the princess posse posed for their group photo (we were all given keepsake copies in a cardboard frame) and then had to change back out of their gowns before cupcakes (topped with about 4 inches of pink icing and sprinkles - perfection on a plate in Kiddo's opinion), juice boxes and present opening. Then, hyped up on sugar and with clouds of glitter wafting all around, we were released back into the wild, where the kiddo was probably visible from outer space due to her copiously beglittered state reflecting in the sunshine. Whew.

So, not as wholly inappropriate as I'd feared it would be, but still not my number one pick for a birthday party. Kiddo informed me that she enjoyed the "puffer" the most, as we were heading for home. I asked her what she meant and she said when the girl put the pink stuff on her cheeks to make them puffy. Ah, puffer, right. She also enjoyed dancing in the big dress (and seriously, what little girl doesn't enjoy spinning around in a full skirt? I know that was always my sisters and my favorite thing to do as kids in our Sunday best) and being a princess and wants to have her next birthday party there (of course). I'm just hoping she'll forget alllll about it by the time next May rolls around! I guess I'm glad we didn't just not go, but boy, not exactly my cup of parental tea. I was a little bit concerned when she wouldn't stop talking about the makeup and hair and was insisting on not washing it off or undoing the up do when we first arrived home, but then after a couple of hours (during which time she played with her safari animals while dressed in her Snow White gown out of her dress-up trunk) she grew tired of it and wanted her hairdo undone. It took some serious scrubbing in the tub, but she was mostly glitter-free by the time she went to bed. I'm still coated - collateral damage from the princessification...

60 comments:

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Boy... being a parent sure is a mine field isn't it. Good for you for sticking to your guns and what you believe. I think it's great that you let her go, but yet steered her into some right decisions. That's a good thing to show her - that she can be "part" of what's going on, but make good decisions for herself as a part of it.

Veggie Mom said...

Oh, gosh...do you have Libby Lu in your neck of the woods? Same kind of deal--turning little girls into Britney Spears wannabes! I don't think you're a conservative parent, just a concerned one, and that's good! I'm off now to Blog Around the World--come visit soon to see how you can go, too!

Ronnica said...

Good for you for limiting the type of movies you let your young daughter see. I am always shocked by what parents let there kids see when I babysit for them. For instance, I don't really think the Bratz Movie is meant for kids (though of course it's marketed to them)!

kwr221 said...

My DD is in love with the idea of that place (she's never been) But she never fails to point out that OBNOXIOUS PINK LIMO in the parking lot every single time we drive past.

Her friend's GS troop went there last year - what the heck? I always thought GS were all about girl power and camping and service projects and cool self-sufficient, smart-girl badges.

When I was a GS went ont rips to the Smithsonian and camped out, not go to make-over salons.

(although I'm not, like, morally opposed to them or anything.)

Elsie Button said...

Hello, brilliant post - made me laugh and wince. Description was great - i KNOW that i would have loved that party when i was five - my parties consisted of making tree dens and playing cops and robbers!

mrsbear said...

Great post, you really painted one pink glitter-tastic picture for me. lol. Luckily my girls never got invited to those, I think they've outgrown that kind of stuff at 13 and 10. I guess it's not too different from playing dress up at home using mom's clothes and lipsticks, but it definitely wouldn't have been my cup of tea either. I don't do make-up or manicures or pedicures (something about people handling my feet is just weird), but I can understand the attraction of wanting to be treated like a princess. It sounds mostly harmless, except maybe for the toxic glitter fallout. Thanks for the great read.

Liz Davis said...

I love to paint my daughters toe nails when I am doing mine, but I totaly agree that the pimped out 5 year olds made up like Brittany wannabe's must go!

Givinya De Elba said...

"Eff-Me Red" nail polish! Ha! Loved that!

April said...

ok, the nerd in me is totally stuck at YOUR WERE ON JEOPARDY?! How freaking cool!!!

christyhulsey said...

Jeopardy...awesome!

Creative Junkie said...

We have something very similar where we live, but we haven't been ... my youngest is eight and has outgrown the princess stage, as have her friends and I have to say - THANK GOD.

Dee said...

The woman could not believe that a 5 year old had never had a manicure????? The only way I can cut my 5yolds nails is while she is asleep - otherwise mahem!

The only party my girl has been to had a jumping castle, and normal party food, 2 hours, all over, my kind of deal.

sassy stephanie said...

My girls, 8 and 6, are invited to alot of these parties. I think it depends on the staff at each as to how they turn out. I have been ok with most of them. What I can't understand though, is why a parent would pay $200 bucks for the party then ANOTHER $200 for a pink limo to pick the girls up at the party girl's house to take them to the store. That is beyond ridiculous to me. I know alot of parents that will not allow their girls to ride in the limo.

Lorie said...

It sounds like it turned out well. She got to go to the party and be a good example!

Maren said...

It's hard to believe that parents have just as much peer pressure as kids, isn't it? I have three girls and totally get where you're coming from!

Debbie Y. said...

I was always a tomboy myself, so don't get into all the Princess-ification stuff anyways, but my daughter was all feminine and once she was old enough (a lot older than 5, for sure), she started painting her finger/toenails, trying makeup, wearing frilly dresses and jewelry. I just really couldn't get into it with her, so my Mother did, they would help each other put on their lipstick and I didn't even wear any. I am glad they bonded in that way, it really made their time together special.

Sounds like you have your girl pretty much with her feet planted firmly on the ground and not so into herself and the whole "Jon-Benet" fiasco-waiting-to-happen scenarios.

Happy SITS!

Melodie said...

I've seen a few of these places, but I always thought it would be a waste of money.

I'm glad Kiddo had a good time. I would have been just like you and not allowed the darker "Ho" colors.

elizabeth said...

I have never gotten the whole "princess" thing. You know, the Disney store is FULL of that stuff. A coworker of mine once told about her daughter going to one of these, but her daughter was 8 and I thought that was too young. 3, 4, and 5 year olds? Very young.
I'm glad your kiddo had a fun time and that you were there to guide her (like all parents should be).

Great post! And I, too, am wondering about Jeopardy!

Karen said...

Fortunately, when my kids were growing up, salon parties were not around.

Good on you for sticking to your guns though. i wish more parents would do that.

Happy SITS day :-)

Karol said...

Now, after that, I'm glad that I have boys!! (would love a girl, but that scares me!)
Good for you sticking to your guns on what your kids watch!!

What A Card said...

You're a brave woman! Sometimes I wish I had a little girl, and sometimes I realize that I'd be walking around completely clueless and discombobulated. I've only had one manicure, probably because I've never been on Jeopardy, which is just about the only other thing besides my wedding that could convince me to submit to that again ;)

Mrs. S said...

One of these days I'm going to paint my son's toes...then maybe my husband will think about us having a girl...haha!

Beth said...

I've heard of those places but never gotten close enough to any of them yet and hoping I don't have to. I have three girls so I don't know how much I'll be able to avoid them especially since one of my girls is EXTREMELY girly, she's the one who tells me, "Mom I can't wear pants, I'll look like a boy!" - she's 3 years old!

Brooke said...

Here from SITS by the way...

I had NO idea places like that existed! I don't think there are any around me but I would not be surprised if one did show up, that it would do well around here! Although I am sure the girls love it, it does seem a bit much.

Again, great story telling.

Amy said...

I love it when my girls wanna be 'girly'....playing outside, smelling like dirty little puppies, and being all sweaty are not as 'cute'. Great post...too funny :D

Rhea said...

I don't have daughters, but I wouldn't have a problem with this party because it's not an every day thing. If my daughter wanted to put make up on all the time and catwalk and such, then I'd be upset, but a one time party? No biggie.

CanCan said...

Wow. I'm kind of glad I have 2 boys right now. Maybe they will be invited to a Beef Eating Wood Chopping Killing Stuff party that I will object to.

Stephanie said...

Wow. My three year old love "being a princess" but in her mind that means dancing around in a play dress, and getting lots of hugs and kisses from Mommy and Daddy. We don't do make-up (!!!) and very rarely put polish on her nails. Little girls just need to be allowed to be little!

Laura said...

I like the word, princessification. :)

Ali said...

too funny, my daughter did one of these parties also. we had "pixie dust" as we call it, around the house for weeks!

Tiffany said...

"Eff Me Red" you crack me up.

Great post. The way write makes me feel like I was there!

Felicia Eis said...

Hmm I think that I will pass on all the glitter :) I am sure though that my little girl is going to be girly just because her mommy is a bit boyish :P

Jacie said...

I agree many parents let their little girls grow up too fast. My daughter is a girly girl--she loves Cinderella, shoes, purses, and playing mommy. I think there is a happy medium with letting girls be playfully girls and preserving their innocence as well. It's all up to the mom to make sure that happens though!

Shannon said...

Wow...this is scary. Sometimes, I'm so glad I have boys. :)

Jenni said...

That was quite a story. And I so get it. I have two girly girls and they love princess anything. What I really hate is when they receive make-up kits for their birthdays. My eight year old started getting these at age five! Not only does it present a bad image have you ever tried getting it out of clothing. . .bedding. . .CARPET! Sheesh.

Leiann said...

I don't think that at that age I would have been able to sit still long enough for them to do all that to me! Amen to letting little ones be little for as long as they can be.

wendy said...

I suppose I'm unpopular among your readers but it sounds, to me, like the perfect party for a little girl. For The Girl's fifth birthday, we had a formal tea party in a really nice tea house nearby. Prior to the party, I took her to the spa for her first manicure and she was so good. It was a lovely party (but without glitter)!

I'd have done the whole Libby Lu thing but we did not have one nearby.

I'm proud of you for gently steering your little one to make good decisions based on how you raised her. :)

Happy SITS day!

Melanie said...

I agree that it all seems like a little much. You did good at steering her away from the dangers though. You tell a great story.

Tracy P. said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only mom with sheltered kids. I use the excuse that I have to pace myself--how will they top that one for next year's birthday? I'll just stop there. ;-)

Nessa said...

I too think kids should be kids for as long as possible.

Melissa Lester said...

My four children, boys and girls, have all enjoyed dress-up and make-believe play. I think it can be fun for a party, and probably most of the moms there enjoyed watching their daughters have glittery fun, then they washed it off when they got home and back to reality. I agree that children are rushed to grow up these days, and we do need to be careful. And it sounds like you weigh all your decisions carefully. So best wishes to you and your daughter, who I believe is a princess -- whether in costume or not -- because she is a daughter of the King.

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

Whatever happened to good old fashioned b'day parties at home? Geez, that must have cost an arm and a leg!

jennifer said...

Excellent parenting. It's not easy all of the time though, is it?

I really love your blog look by the way. Sort of a cherry blossom thing happening, right?

Quite lovely.

April Kennedy said...

I think my favorite line in the whole story was "the Eff-me red" finger nail polish you so carefully had her avoid! So appropriate for a 5 year old princess party --not.

BITR Country Girl said...

"Eff-me Red" huh? I think I would have run crying and screaming in the opposite direction had I had to deal with so much girliness all at once! (I'm one of those girls that's more comfortable being "one of the guys" than "one of the girls")

Z's Mom said...

Oh, this makes me so glad I have a boy!!!! :)

Camisetta said...

Wow! Good luck preserving innocence! It's a tough job - but well worth it! Nice blog!

dddiva said...

I'm sure I won't be very popular but I think pretend play whether it is princessing or pretending they are animals is fine as long as the kids know this isn't how it is in the real world.
Since 3 of my kids are over 18 and the other has a great head on her shoulders I'm happy with the choices I have made.
Glad to see parents, though, even with beliefs different from my own who are doing what they can to raise their children according to what they feel is right,so go you. :D

Adrian said...

Man, I have NEVER been so glad in my life to have all boys! I agree with you that this seems like much too sophisticated a party for little girls. This seems like more for the 7 to 9 year old group. But it does sound like she had a great time.

mrsmouthy said...

I have a boy and am hoping I don't have to worry about the princess thing. But if I do, then I will be totally accepting. :)

Michelle said...

Yeah... I'm not ready for princess parties like that either. Maybe when they're 9 or 10. No polish on Little Miss yet (see, I'm the same mom your are!) although I do like them for myself.

Oddly, I'm one of the few friends who has yet to do the mani/pedi for the 3-5 set. And one friend does a mani bi-weekly with her daughter. Just not for me.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Parenting is never easy, is it? My kids are older now, but oh how I hated glitter in any form!

Heather said...

I'm glad I'm not the only mom who's not into the whole princess thing. I refuse to let Avery wear anything that says princess--and even the Disney Princess shirt is only worn to bed. As a high school teacher I get 17 year olds who have been told their whole lives that they are a princess, and it's not pretty. I don't mind that she's getting into Ariel and Cinderella...just as long as she realizes that she's not really one herself! Seriously, why do people think mani-pedis are appropriate or even necessary for preschoolers?? Kids are being forced to become older and older every day.

That being said, to a kid it's all just fun, and I'm glad she had fun at the party.

Just say Julie said...

And that makes me so glad I have a boy! Not without it's own trials I assure you, with him it's a constant toning down of violent behavior in movies/cartoons.

christie said...

What a great post...loved it. Especially the part about the cat walk...err, I mean stage.
I'm new here...tell me more about when you were on Jeopardy.

mrsbear said...

This was a great post, I actually caught it the first time around. Very funny and glittertastic.

Laurel said...

You were on Jeopardy. Very cool. And here here to preserving innocence. Sometimes I just don't know what people are thinking!!

Pinktulip said...

Heather, I totally agree with you thatkids should be allowed to stay innocent as long as possible.

Pinktulip said...

Heather, I have the exact photos I can fit into your story! My sisters had beautiful long, straight hair and mine was cut like a boy's! Funny you mention the perm. Have you asked a hairdresser for a perm recently? They stare at you in shocked horror, shudder and quickly suggest something else!

MichaƩle said...

Interesting post. I also was super strict on what my kids watched (we were too poor to have cable back then so it was only PBS and they loved it). I have two daughters and a son, ages 15, 17 and 19, and they are all scholarship winning, civic-award winning kids. But my girls love makeup and dressing up and my 17-year-old actually is a princess in our local Lilac Festival. And she's a sweet, fun girl. We have a lot of fun, doing each others hair and they love to pick out my outfits and help me accessorize. But we don't do spa things and go overboard. We just enjoy being girls together.