" . . . Princess!" Ah, kids. We love all the cute little idiosyncrasies. We adore watching them begin to do things that they've taught themselves, like throwing a ball or jumping in to the pool. It is, however, quite a different thing when your toddler picks up something so outlandish that you shake your head and ask yourself out loud, "Did that really just happen?"
One of Lily's favorite things to do recently is to play dress-up. She's got two Rubbermaid totes full of Disney Princess dresses, old dance costumes, crowns, shoes, and the like. Honestly, I think her most favorite activity is dumping the contents of the totes onto the floor in her room and throwing them over her head like confetti. A very close second is choosing the princess she wants to "be" today and getting dressed up. She invariably completes the outfit with all the proper accessories . . her magic crown, her tappin' shoes, and whatever jewelry and purses suit her whim at the moment. She gets a little help from me or Avery with the dress and then it's off to the magical land of make believe she goes.
I know this doesn't sound like it's going to be an out of the ordinary activity, which in truth is exactly where I want you to be going at this point in the story. I want you thinking, "Come on rookie, all little girls like to play dress-up." I know that. But how many of them, once dressed, absolutely refuse to break character? Lily knows all of the different outfits and which characters they correspond to. We've got Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast, dads), and Barbie. She also has some Dora The Explorer digs she got for Christmas that occasionally get worked in to the rotation. So when she's done dressing up, when she's got her tappin' shoes on the right feet, and when her magic crown has decided to stay just right on her head, the transformation has been made. "Daddy," she'll ask, "can I have a snack?" "Sure," I respond, "what do you want Lily?" Her response? Not "grapes", not "a cookie". No, before this conversation can continue she interjects "Just call me princess!" And she's dead serious. You will absolutely not address her as anything other than what the outfit makes her. "No, Daddy, you hafa call me Snow White!" She's relentless about staying in character, and I'm amazed by how far into a true role play of whatever story she's acting out she'll go. More than a few times I've played along and she'll actually make it the entire way through an episode of Dora, remembering every obstacle and how it was overcome. It's really quite amusing, and it makes me think more and more about getting her involved with acting in some way. Oh wait, nevermind, you actually have to listen and follow directions to act . .