Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Princess Factor

It's official; I'm a queen. How did I reach this conclusion? Deductive reasoning. I'm no philosophy expert, but here goes. My daughter Leah is a princess (albeit self-appointed), and I'm her mother, therefore, I am a queen.

I have to admit, I was vexed until I had this epiphany. Raising a princess is tricky business, and I was starting to feel unequal to the task, a tad unroyal. But now that I've recognized my station, I'm feeling quite grand, majestic really.

Those of you who haven't raised a princess might be unfamiliar with the royal tantrums that trail a 2-year old diva. It wasn't always like this - the princess evolution started with an innocent little Halloween costume; Leah was a butterfly princess. Give a girl a tiara for a couple hours and it's all over. She hasn't been the same since.

Shortly after Halloween Leah stopped wearing pants. If it wasn't a dress, she wasn't putting it on. I quickly decided this wasn't a battle worth fighting, so I began doing more laundry to keep the girl in her frills. Of course it didn't stop there.

Enter Attitude. You wouldn't believe such an angelic little girl could be so sassy. She can. And her sass extends beyond the common 2-year old “NO.” Leah has flare, a way of defying authority that would make Super Nanny cringe. And she's stolen some of my best lines, which work well for a mother but are outrageous when said by a sassy toddler. “You don't talk to me that way,” or “You be quiet right now,” or “Stop that this instant,” are off-putting when the speaker is a 2-year old girl with her hands on her hips (or worse yet, pointing).

Now when Little Miss Princess Leah has a face-off with Big Queen Mamma, it's not too pretty. I've decided the most queenly response to such defiance is to ignore it. Imagine the nerve, ignoring royalty -- there's no worse punishment for a princess. This is when you start to see the tantrums, and in our home there are too types. There's the Dainty Tantrum, where Leah throws herself on the floor and pouts into cupped hands. Sometimes the Dainty Tantrum is accompanied by the Dainty Weep, and sometimes it's accompanied by a Blubber Fest. Either way, this tantrum is the easiest to deal with. She's small and compact there on the ground with her bum in the air and her face in her hands; I just step right over her. It's the other type of tantrum that's troublesome.

We call it the How-I'll-Act-When-I'm-Thirteen Tantrum. This tantrum manifests itself much more these days. Leah stands up for this one and wails with full-force, grabbing at anyone within reach to pinch, scratch, or gouge. She yells out all those mother lines, and sometimes screams herself into a sleeping, hiccupping heap on the floor, if we're lucky. We're usually not that lucky.

So maybe my little girl isn't unlike other 2-year olds out there. She's definitely done the whole terrible 2/3 thing with more gusto than her older brother. But she can also turn on the charm more than Kaleb can. She wears confidence as easily as she does her dresses. And she expects to be treated well. I call it The Princess Factor.

The Queen Factor? I have no royal secrets to share. Telling myself I'm queenly just makes me feel better about mothering my princess. And I've decided that if she goes through adolescence feeling like a princess and makes it to adulthood with her royalty intact, I'll have succeeded as a mother and will expect a crown of my own.

Let's just hope she outgrows the tantrums.

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