Saturday, October 23, 2010


I never had a tutu as a child. Well, not totally true -- I vaguely remember a super-scratchy ballerina Halloween costume my mother made out of an old curtain under which I was forced to wear PANTS because it was too cold to trick-or-treat otherwise. That was about it for fantasy feminine dress-up opportunities. I was raised by well-intentioned, first-wave feminists who believed in gender-neutral clothing (overalls), playthings (blank wooden building blocks, stuffed animals) and entertainment (Free to Be You and Me).

One gander at Stellina's dress-up garb and you'd be sure to say I was imposing my inner 3-year-old girly girl upon my own, but I swear it's all some generous friends whose girls' have outgrown their tulle finery, in either size or interest. At last count she had 5 tutus, which she often wears in multiples (getting a kick out of saying "two tutus!" over and over), and 4 "princess" dresses, two of which are Disney-affiliated. There are countless tiaras, wands and jewels. There's a tiny pink boa. Somewhere near the bottom of the bin are a cowboy hat, Cub Scout cap, pirate eye patch and superhero cape, which have gotten zero play time. The pink kitty outfit is fairly popular; last year's Halloween costume, a chicken, is less so. No makeup (too JonBenet) or toddler high heels...until last weekend.

Since every hour in the day not spent at preschool is done so in princess/fairy attire (including while sleeping), it was inevitable that for her third birthday she requested a "Fancy Dress-Up Party." You know from my previous post that we had a budget of nada. But my friend Kelly, who just so happens to be a nanny and looks like Cinderella, offered to make an appearance as the "Birthday Fairy" after I begged her to do so. Same for our freebie face painter, Uncle Diane. It's so important to have talented friends who like your kid and have a hard time saying no.

The weather accommodated, with a summer encore. The Birthday Fairy was a total pro. She would make a killing on the Fairfield County pampered toddler party circuit. She wore iridescent green wings; she developed a personal biography on the fly (pun intended) under the keen interrogation of the worldlier 5-year-olds in attendance; and she brought a bounty of costumery, including a pair of hot-pink plastic peep-toe pumps. Suffice it to say, on her feet they remain to this moment. She wears them with innate ease, as if they grew there. She has worn them in bed and the bathtub and to Home Depot. (Did I mention she loves Home Depot? To drive past the orange block-lettered sign is to risk a round of pleas of the pleasepleaseplease variety.) She accompanied me one evening on an emergency run for a drain snake, and it was awfully satisfying to watch my princess clack up the aisle with the hem of her tulle skirt in one hand and a plumbing tool in the other.

And hopefully allowing her unrestricted access to a pair of training heels now will keep her off the pole one day.


Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr