Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

The end of term

July 20, 2010

It’s the end of term at last.  Hurrah!   The fetes, the trips, the end of year concerts and the end of year discos are done.  The presents for the teachers have been bought and delivered and don’t children have a lot more teachers these days than we did?   The uniform that had grown too tight is finally in the charity shop bag after six weeks of me saying ” Just breathe in child, I’m not buying anything new this close to the end of term.  Do you think I’m made of money?”  On the last day of term I watched one teacher skip out the school gates.  Honestly.  Real proper skipping.

For my children seven glorious, golden school free weeks lie ahead of them.  They cannot believe their luck.  “How many sleeps is that?” asks my five year old in wonder.  She can’t get her head round the magnitude of the number.  Forty nine.    Such riches of sleeps.    Such abundance.    I wish I was a teacher or a child.  But I’m not.  I’m a solicitor.  And the most holiday sleeps I can reasonably manage is 21.  This is pretty good but it leaves a shortfall.   And so let the Mummy Juggle commence.    To be fair, my husband is also doing the Daddy Juggle.    It’s complicated this dance.   We shall take it in turns to start work late and stop work early, passing the baton of child care back and forth at the front door like relay race runners.   Then there’s two sets of grandparents, rugby camp, activity camp, swimming lessons and a little sprinkling of good friends.   I log the details of where my children have to be in my diary and what they will need when they get there.  I feel like I’m their PA.

We kick off the beginning of the holidays with a weekend trip to Newcastle upon Tyne.    I worked in Newcastle a life time ago.  It’s a great city with lots to see and do and we all enjoy ourselves.   The Premier Inn on the Quayside is clean and cheap and give or take a dozen hen nights very comfortable.   We see the Sage, the Angel of the North, the Baltic Art Gallery and the beautiful bridges.  I arrange to see old friends  – we met when we were training to be solicitors.   It’s strange this ageing process.  It takes a little while when we arrive at their house for us to get used to the middle aged faces we’ve now got, lay the extra pounds and the greying hair on top of our memories of former fresh faces.  We’re all serious business people now – twenty years qualified, don’t you know – and we  talk of business development and the recession and pension funds and children of course.   The children are nowhere to be seen though – they’ve quickly disappeared off to play together elsewhere in the house, age differences no barrier to getting on and getting away from the adults.    My five year old appears complaining of a sore tummy.    There was chocolate on offer and she has no off switch when it comes to chocolate – only when it runs out.   Her tummy is stretched tight as a balloon.  My husband picks her up to take her upstairs for a lie down and she throws up everywhere – over the carpet, over his clothes, the radiator gets a good splashing as does the sofa.   It smells only of chocolate which is a result.    My husband sees to our daughter (who now feels fine) and my friends – my very successful commanding £390 an hour solicitor friends – get on their hands and knees and mop up chocolate scented puke with me.  We laugh while we do it and when we laugh we look just like we did twenty years ago.    When everything and everyone is tidy again, we play Rockstar Wii very loudly and nobody mentions business again.

Superwoman by E J Catering

June 10, 2010

Molly’s first sports day was hilarious, as promised by the teachers and the fact that all the athelets were under four.  The grass track was about 15 meters long with two rows of chairs down one side filled with expectant and excited parents and grandparents.  There was a lovely atmosphere as we waited for our athletes to arrive.  At last the side door of the nursery opened and out streamed  40 kids –  two by two waving and smiling at their parents.  All the children entered all four races in groups of 5. The first race was just running forward; every one made it to the end in some form or another.  The next race was backwards;  they all made it to the end too although not all managed the full 15 meters backwards.  The next race was running forward but this time with a rubber ring on their heads, or at least it was at the start, not all the rings made it over the finishing line. The last race, but by no means the least, was the old classic egg and spoon race, brought up to date with a ping-pong bat and a bean bag.  Molly took this race very seriously and walked with full concentration from start to finish, completing the race a good 45 seconds after the race was well and truly over. All the parents clapped her all the way and she had a beaming smile on her face as she enjoyed her success and all the attention.  Jake, at nearly two, entered most races uninvited until in the end the head teacher gave in and gave the toddlers a race of their own.

I came last in my first ever mother’s race, to my amused disappointment –  I was not expecting to have to bat a ball as I ran.  I batted the ball way too high and spent my 15 meters chasing the ball forwards and backwards – let’s say tennis was never my best discipline but it was full of giggles and cheers from the little ones.  The fathers had to do the same race, but backwards!  Every one got a prize, a certificate and a lolly and went home full of the achievement of participating.

Raspberry ripple ice cream

This is a quick and easy cheat but full of natural flavour and fresh fruit.

1 litre tub of good quality vanilla ice cream

150gr of fresh or frozen ( defrosted) raspberries

Leave the tub of ice cream out of the freezer for about 20 mins with the lid off whilst you whisk the raspberries with a hand whisk to a puree.  When the icecream has become a soft constancy but by no means a defrosted liquid, fold in the raspberry puree with a large metal spoon.  Only make about 4 – 6 folds, it wants to have a ripple effect and not be completely mixed in with the ice cream.  Put the lid back on a re-freeze for at least an hour.  Serve in a bowl or in a waffle cone topped with a fresh raspberry.

This easy ripple ice cream is equally delicious with cherry, mango or strawberry purees

The sports day was really good fun, the sun shone and at the end the teachers were forced into a race. The Grannies were the only ones who got off scott free!

Mums work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work

March 16, 2010

This one came to us on one of those round robin emails but is funny and sweet so we thought we’d share it:

WHY GOD MADE MUMS

Answers given by 2nd year school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1.  She’s the only one who knows where the selotape is.

2.  Mostly to clean the house.

3.  To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1.  He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2.  Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.

3.  God made my mum just the same like he made me.  He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1.  God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.

2.  They had to get their start from men’s bones.  Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mum?

1.  We’re related.

2.  God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s mum like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mum?

1.  My mum has always been my mum and none of that other stuff.

2.  I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

3.  They say she used to be nice.

What did mum need to know about dad before she married him?

1.  His last name.

2.  She had to know his background.  Like is he a crook?  Does he get drunk on beer?

3.  Does he make at least £8000 a year?  Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mum marry your dad?

1.  My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world.  And my mum eats a lot.

2.  She got too old to do anything else with him.

3.  My grandma says that mum didn’t have her thinking cap on.

Who’s the boss at your house?

1.  Mum doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such an idiot.

2.  Mum.  You can tell by room inspection.  She sees the stuff under the bed.

3.  I guess mum is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What’s the difference between mums and dads?

1.  Mums work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.

2.  Mums know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.

3.  Dads are taller and stronger, but mums have all the real power ’cause that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.

4.  Mums have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mum do in her spare time?

1.  Mothers don’t do spare time.

2.  To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mum perfect?

1.  On the inside she’s already perfect.  Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2.  Diet.  You know, her hair.  I’d diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mum, what would it be?

1.  She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean.  I’d get rid of that.

2.  I’d make my mum smarter.  Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.

3.  I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Super Injunctions

February 1, 2010

My football mad, early rising eleven year old has taken to pinching my Sunday paper.  By the time I drag myself out of bed my Sunday Times has been whipped from the door mat and I have to track down said eleven year old to find it.  Usually the only bit he reads is the Sports Section and the rest of my paper gets handed back in pristine condition but yesterday I found that the main paper had also been pored over.   Because of course John Terry was on the front page  not for scoring on the pitch but off it.  Allegedly.   

“What’s alleged adultery mean Mum?”

“Erm,  he’s being accused of kissing someone else’s girlfriend.”  (He’s only just turned eleven and for the moment – I accept it’s probably a relatively brief moment –  not showing the least bit of interest in sex.)

“Whose girlfriend?”

“Wayne Bridge’s.”

“But he used to play with him at Chelsea before he moved to Man City!”  (I wish he was as good at remembering to bring his hat/coat/gloves home with him after school as he is at remembering football statistics).  “That’s awful that is.  You just don’t do that to your mates.  Can I go out the garden now to play football?”

When your average person is allegedly adulterous the press don’t tend to take much notice.  When you’re the England football captain they do.  And when you’ve tried and failed to keep hold of your Super Injunction (a court order which prevents not only reporting the allegation but also the fact that an injunction even exists) the press pays even more attention.   Freedom of expression getting one past the privacy post makes for good copy on more than one level. 

It’s believed one of the reasons that John Terry failed to retain his Super Injunction was because he and his lawyers emphasised to the court the possible loss of his future earnings more than they did the effect on his wife and children and this I think is one of the saddest aspects of this story.   Was John Terry really more worried about money than he was about his wife and children being publicly humiliated?   I suppose there’s a possibility that once she’d had time to come to terms with the betrayal Mrs Terry might also have been worried that his sponsors might drop him.   When you’re tamping mad with someone who’s image earns him sponsorship deals worth £4m and possibly considering leaving him,  do you start a viral campaign asking everyone in the world to post up on their Facebook status that your husband is a liar and a cheat or do you do everything in your power to keep his image clean and the maintenance pot as high as possible?

Life is complicated and the choices us grown ups make aren’t black and white like the choices we made when we were eleven.   I do know that.   But wouldn’t life be better for everyone,  however old or however rich we may be, if there were still some things that you just don’t do to your mates?

Men on maternity leave?

September 23, 2009

From April 2011 under (current) Government proposals, men will be able to take up to six months leave (three of them paid) during the second six months of their children’s lives if the mother returns to work.  According to Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, this will give families more choice and flexibility in how they balance work and care of children and enable fathers to play a bigger part in bringing up their children.

But will it?  It’s a fact that in the UK women are the primary carers for their children.  There’s lots of reasons for that.   Women have the babies for a start and are the ones with the necessary equipment to feed them.  They’ve got to be the ones who take off the first chunk of maternity leave.  Having taken their foot off the career pedal for a while and possibly slipped a bit down the pecking order, it’s not suprising that couples then decide that the focus should be on the man’s career thereafter.  He gets paid more anyway and  it’s difficult (although far from impossible) to juggle two full time careers with children.  Children would prefer it if the person looking after them when the school day finishes at 3.30pm was Mum or Dad and since Mum’s already in her employer’s bad books for having had all that indulgent maternity leave, she may as well continue in that vein and be the one who gives up work altogether or asks to work part time.    

Then there’s the fact that women like looking after children more than men.  In my opinion anyway.   My son was never interested in dolls.  My 4 year old daughter spends hours playing with them, cuddling and feeding them and parading them round in her toy pram.    Boys and girls are built differently.  Nuture has a part to play in that difference (nobody, including me, ever gave my son a doll as a present) but nature is by far the biggest contributor.

And finally, how many women out there who, having got through the first sleepless six months of a child’s life will want to hand over their maternity leave to the father and go back to work, just as things have got into a routine and the baby is sleeping through the night and smiling through the day.  Not many.  The estimated take up of father’s maternity leave is just 6%. 

But it’s a start.  The beginning of a challenge to the accepted view that it’s women who take time out of work to look after children because that’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it’ll always be.    There are lots of employers out there who when faced with two candidates of equal ability, one a man and the other a woman of child bearing age (and what’s that these days?  Up to 62 or so? ) will choose the man because he’s not going to take maternity leave is he?  Well now 6% of them will.  That 6% is enough to shake up some old fashioned thinking so that over time the take up increases and everyone stops looking surprised when Dad decides to stay at home with the baby for a while.    Assuming of course these proposals make it to the statute books before there’s a change in government.    Hurry up then Harman!  Get a move on quick.

Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and God

February 20, 2009

In the run up to Christmas 2008 my son (aged 10) told me that some of the children in his class had been saying there’s no such thing as Santa but, he said, reassuringly patting my knee, “I don’t take any notice of them.  I believe in Father Christmas.   And the Tooth Fairy.   And God.”  

He hung up his stocking on Christmas Eve with every bit as much expectation as his four year old sister and when a tooth came out on New Year’s Eve it  confidently went under his pillow.   (And thankfully despite rather a lot of  champagne and a banging head I woke up at about 5am and foggily remembered to remove it and shove some money under instead.)   In all honesty I think by now he has serious doubts about the existence of either of these benevolent beings who come unseen in the middle of night to leave nice things for children but he’s canny enough to keep on believing just in case if he stops the nice things might stop too.   However, I don’t think there’s much chance he’ll make it to Christmas 2009 and the ripe old age of 11 still believing in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.   

So how do I deal with the issue of God?  As far as my son is concerned they come as a threesome – Santa, Fairy and God – who all look out for him.   When he was old enough to realise that everyone he loves will die some day and as a result got very upset he worked out for himself a theory about heaven that comforted him.  In his version heaven is one big party, with bunting  and pop and lots of cheesy wotsits, where everyone  he loves will go when they die and become young again  and wait for him to join the party when his turn comes.    “I’ll ride up on a cloud and see everyone there won’t I Mum?”  he asks.  “Gran and Grandad and you and Dad and Elvis Presley.”   I like this idea so much – can hear the party poppers going off and all the cheers as he steps off his cloud and I get to see him again-  that I can’t bring myself to tell him that many people, myself included,  don’t belive in God anymore than they do in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.    He’s 10 and still a bit afraid of the dark and he believes in everlasting life and frankly I wish I did too.  So when the time finally comes and he asks me the direct question whether Santa and the Tooth Fairy exist I will tell him “No” but when he asks me the same question about  God I’ll tell him that no one knows for sure and that he needs to make up his own mind on that one.

Getting down to the nitty gritty

February 4, 2009

OK, before I start, I checked it out and nitty gritty is not a phrase that has its origins in the slave trade, referring to the debris at the bottom of ships after slaves had been removed, but more likely just one of those phrases that uses rhyming duplication like willy nilly and hocus pocus.    Now that’s sorted, let’s get down to it.

My daughter (aged 4) has had nits on and off since November.   When I first noticed that she and my 10 year old son were scratching (and I’ll be honest here at the risk of losing my Superwoman cape; they weren’t just scratching by the time I noticed, they were practically gouging their scalps off)  I scurried off to the Sainsbury’s in town that lunchtime and in addition to a sandwich and a 4 pint of milk threw some nit solution in my basket.  “Crikey!” the woman on the till said when she rung up the total.  “Why is your shopping so expensive?  There’s only three items in here!” And then in a really loud voice “OH IT’S THE NIT SHAMPOO!”.  The people in the queue behind me all took a step back.  No really they did.  “Could you shout that a bit louder?” I hissed.  “There’s some people from my office over at the salad counter who didn’t quite catch what you said.” 

With my son, a good dose of nit solution, a double-episode-of-Simpsons-length session with a fine toothed metal comb and a visit to an understanding  hairdresser sorted him out.    His  hair was so short I could see the chicken pox scars in his scalp that I hadn’t seen since he was a baby (I’ve always wondered whether Mikhail Gorbachev was surprised when he went bald and found he had a birthmark on his bonce or whether his mother forewarned him of it)  and his nits were gone.  My daughter however was a lot less keen to lose  her long locks.  “We’ll cut it so you’ll look like Dora the Explorer,”  I enthused.  “But I don’t want to look like Dora!” she wailed, “I want to look like Cinderella!”  Supernannie (don’t you just love grandparents) was able to persuade her and she got a Dora.   And for a couple of weeks she was nit-free, or at least I thought she was, but then the scratching started again.  

I’ve now tried three different types of nit shampoo and in between applications have been dousing her hair in conditioner every other night  and combing it through with a nit comb, a process which we have both come to loathe, despite the chocolate buttons I give her to shut her up while I do it.   By the time I get rid of her nits I will also have got rid of her teeth.  Her poor scalp has been raked over so many times with a metal comb she scratches now even when she doesn’t have nits.   I can go a week, even two, without finding a louse or a nit, and then, suddenly they’re back. 

Of course, I ended up getting them too.  See, definitely not a Superwoman.  My husband didn’t though.  He puts this down to the fact that he uses wax on his hair so any nit would get stuck.  I put it down to the fact that it’s not him who does the combing or the shampoo application.  Combing my hair was a lot easier than combing my daughter’s and I got rid of my nits very easily although I have to confess that a couple of weeks later when I was at the hairdresser’s having my hair cut I did find myself praying fervently that the hairdresser wasn’t going to lean over and whisper in my ear half way through the hair cut that I had nits and should  leave immediately and never return. 

So after four months of struggling like super heroes against nits, my daughter and I are defeated.  She’s agreed to have her hair cut really short this week.  There are no cartoon characters out there with short crops and definitely no princesses but I found a way to persuade her.  I told her she was getting a pixie cut.  She thinks she’s going to skip out of the hairdressers transformed into a fairy.   Frankly I don’t care if she looks like Sigourney Weaver in Alien just so long as the nits have gone.

Single Supermother

January 28, 2009

Like Rachida Dati I too am a single parent who has chosen not to divulge the paternity of my baby to anybody outside my immediate family. That is probably where the similarities end! Here is my story. 

 

Back in 2004 I found myself sat on the toilet on a balmy Autumn evening, looking with absolute horror at a positive pregnancy test. Pure panic overwhelmed me and I headed off down the lane for a walk. I was not in a relationship with the man who was equally culpable for my situation and I knew with absolute certainty that whilst the ride had been fun, messy situations and emotional scenes were simply not his scene. He did not prove me wrong.   

 

Until that day I was someone who partied every weekend, spent all my wages with joyous abandon and worked and played with equal fervour. Frankly, I did not have a care in the world.   During that walk, a mirror image of my selfish, hedonistic lifestyle looked back at me. I was an educated woman of 32 and surely I had to take responsibility for my actions? Yes I had choices as every woman should but by the time I got home, tired and emotionally drained, I was as certain as I have ever been of anything in my life that I would keep this child.  I had made my bed and I would lie in it, it was high time I grew up and took responsibility for my actions! Brave words indeed!

 

I am lucky to have a close and loving family and I adore my parents.  I have such respect for them that the thought of telling them made me feel cheap, like a sixteen year old caught smoking.  I could not bear their disappointment. Needless to say, I told Mum first! I cried and blundered my way through every hideous detail (I was brutally honest) and she was so relieved I wasn’t dying of cancer or something that my being pregnant was almost a relief. Because of my distress (hormones had really kicked in) and because she is a mother in a million, she did as she had done for the last 32 years, she stood tall, took it on the chin and said well my girl, we’d better get ourselves organised then if there’s a baby on the way! At that point, I don’t think I had ever loved her more; there have been dozens of occasions since.

 

I was painfully aware that to two upright people from a generation before who could not begin to understand the concept of a one night stand, the thought of telling their friends, colleagues and siblings would fill them with shame. Not a word of it to me though, and not a judgement cast against me, just the love and support that has always been there. How had I underestimated them so greatly? I was utterly humbled by my family’s love.

 

My daughter arrived on a scorching May bank holiday weekend by section with my Mother at my side and life has never been the same! I am still me but I am different. I am warmer, kinder, more thoughtful, tolerant and above all happier. My priorities have been turned upside down and my life is full of richness, I genuinely thank God each day for the life of my daughter. Now it has not been easy! I returned to work after only 6 weeks and I swear I never knew the meaning of tiredness until that point. My little girl had colic; awful soul destroying colic! I paced the floors night after night willing her to sleep but as soon as I sat down the screams would start. I’m still unsure whether it was her or me who cried the most during that time, but love abides and the instinct to love and protect prevails over colic, weaning, teething, terrible two’s and everything else that is thrown at mothers as we stumble on!

 

God himself sent my childminder, I am blessed with a wonderful family who are there to help out and support us whenever we need it, and I am very, very lucky. I do not know how I managed to have such loyal and caring friends, but that is exactly what I have and we are truly happy, my daughter and me.

 

I have also managed to get promoted twice during this time, gain a dog and I continue to work full time. I do my best and I hope that I am half way to raising a happy, well balanced little girl who knows that she is loved to distraction.   It’s all any of us can do. I feel guilt on a monumental scale, I work too hard and too long, but it is a necessity and, selfishly, it keeps me sane!

 

My social life is in tatters, sex is rarer than a lottery win and I miss adult company! When bedtime beckons at 7.30pm well that’s me for the night, I can’t go anywhere and if I’m out of milk, tough! I have never introduced my daughter to any man that has been in my life and I feel very strongly about doing so. Sometimes the pressure of being responsible for all the discipline is unbearable. It is at times like this when I long for the strength and love of a good man! It’s a tightrope walk my life, and I have pushed more than one good man away for fear of the impact he would have on our lives. I have recently met someone and I now realise that I am certifiably mad; he is rich, handsome, kind and he really likes me!! He is tonight, getting the old heave ho! Why? Where do I start, his life is so simple and free of problems, mess, children and animals. His biggest decision of the day is whether he should go to the gym or not.  He talks a good job but I know that he is selfish in a way that single, childless men can be and that my daughter would never be his priority as she is mine. It’s hard this relationship lark and frankly he fails the test! I’ll keep looking, I will remain eternally optimistic and in the meantime we will continue down life’s higgledy piggeldy path. I think that perhaps a man with baggage will be more understanding of my situation; divorced males with loads of kids apply here!

 

As regards Ms Dati, who on earth am I to judge? I am stunned by her stamina, jealous that she does not look dug up, as I did two days after my daughter’s birth, but I do not cast judgement upon her. Ms Dati will do as we all do; her very best.

Little Superwomen

October 6, 2008

 My four year old daughter has since around the age of two and a half expressed very strong views on the issue of clothes and personal appearance generally.  This is in stark contrast to my 10 year old son who still doesn’t care much what he wears.  His criteria are that his clothes should be unremarkable and comfy, with plenty of give around the waist.   He is just about well behaved enough that if someone gives him a gift of clothes he can manage a thank you when I know what he really wants to do is to hand them back saying But these are clothes!  Where’s my real present?

If you give my daughter clothes she will jump up and down and clap her hands in excitement.  She will try them on, right there and then.  One of her favourite pastimes is making up stories that involve shopping trips with her two cousins to Marks and Expensive (her words) where they each buy princess outfits with knickers that match and then wear them to the café where they eat cottage pie.  Pink has the leading role in these stories.   Purple sometimes gets a supporting role and hearts, butterflies and sparkles make walk on appearances but as a general rule these three little girls are flouncing around M & S dressed head to toe in pink because my daughter really really loves pink.

So do little girls only like pink because of being brainwashed by cynical and stereotypical marketing campaigns and shelves stocked only with mountains of pink things?  Or do they naturally just like pink and the cynical manufacturers capitalize on that to increase sales?  Based on my experience it is the latter.  Little girls instinctively love pink and they always have.  My daughter has recently picked up a phrase from her grandmother that she now says at every available opportunity, partly because it makes her father wince when she does.  Pink she announces when she gets dressed in the morning.  Pink to make the boys wink.    And it’s not just pink she loves.  She also loves dressing up and jewellery and make up and tea parties.  She lines all her dollies up on the sofa whereas her brother at her age lined toy cars and trucks up on the window sill.  I’m fairly convinced that these differences do just come down to nature.  Boys and girls are different, right from the start, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking pink.

I have more reservations about my daughter’s princess obsession or more specifically her obsession with the Disney Princess franchise.  Officially there are eight Disney Princesses (with a ninth, Princess Tiana, due in 2009 who will be Disney’s first black princess) but when my daughter got a Disney Princess doll pack for Christmas it featured only six of them– Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. Ariel, Belle and Jasmine.  Pocahontas and Mulan are presumably not princessy or pink enough for the Princess Pack and I do wonder whether Tiana will manage to break into the line up.   Leaving to one side any racism issues that lurk here, the fact is that the six princesses in my daughter’s princess pack are very wet.  They mostly hang around cleaning or sleeping waiting for their prince to come and this is what really bugs me about them.  I don’t mind the tiaras, I don’t mind the high heels, I don’t mind the pretty gowns.  I don’t even mind the one true love romantic stuff because actually I believe in all that.  What I do mind is the lolling around doing nothing while they wait for that true love to turn up.  I really mind that Mulan, the only one of the princesses who has any get up and go about her, gets left out.

I have no intention of spoiling my daughter’s princess and pink phase.  She’s having fun and I’m enjoying watching her.   I do make sure that Dora the Explorer (nice chubby Mexican girl, still wears pink but solves lots of problems) and Clarice Bean (very opinionated little girl who wears funky clothes) at least get a look in round and about the princesses.  And when I’m reading a princess bed time story I change the plot just a bit.  The princesses still get dressed up, there is still a lot of pink and they still get their man at the end.  But in my versions, instead of sitting around under apple trees or on their hands and knees scrubbing floors, my princesses are out there in their tiaras and high heels kicking ass and being vets and lawyers and teachers and mothers.    Because I believe in Superwoman.  Do you believe in Superwoman?  Clap your hands if you do.