Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Be a Stepmudder

Have I told you about Odessa's Disney Princess thing? I can't remember.

Well, just in case you didn't know, princesses are a big deal in our house. Snow White, Cinderella,  Aurora/Briar Rose, Ariel, Belle, Tiana, Rapunzel, Jasmine...Bryan and I have been made intimately familiar with their batting averages, last season's injuries, their performances at spring training, etc.

And though I know a lot of little girls are way more into princesses than Odessa, I deal with some aspect of her princess infatuation every day. Example: last weekend, she had a bit of a mental breakdown because she couldn't convince this cardinal to land on her finger.  And she would have none of it when I tried to explain that real birds don't land on real maidens' fingers, no matter how beautiful they are. Damn you, Walt Disney!

But then I remember having childhood obsessions that totally flummoxed my own mother. I watched Room with a View so many times I can still probably recite it word for word. I was 9 years old and my mom was all, "WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND THE VICTORIANS!?! STOP ASKING ME TO BUY YOU A WHALEBONE CORSET!!!!"

But whatever. I turned out pretty much completely normal

Anyway, I indulge the princess thing as much as I think is healthy-ish and not-entirely-weird.  But lately this whole thing has taken a turn I didn't really expect: Odessa's gotten really into stepmothers.

So, I'm a nice mom. I'm not always The Best Mom, but I'm usually pretty patient, affectionate, and perhaps even overly-indulgent.  So, Odessa's used to me being nice. But sometimes.... I mean, she's three, so sometimes I lose my patience--like when she makes direct eye contact with me and then flips over a basket of folded laundry.  For instance.

In situations like this, I say something like, "Dessa, that was mean and Mommy feels sort of pissed off at you right now."

Which gives her pause.  And then she screws up her little face and says, "Mommy! Don't! Be! A! STEPMUDDER!!!!!

She also says that when I insist she take a bath, floss her teeth, or eat just three more mini carrots before I give her a popsicle.

But strangely enough, I also hear her referring to herself as a stepmother when she's playing.  She'll be lying on the couch talking to herself, and I'll hear her say, "Dessa's a stepmudder," and then in a kind of a low, threatening voice: "Cinewella, go to da ROOM!"

I'm not sure what to make of this, but it might have something to do with what power feels like to a three year old. I mean, in the scheme of things, Odessa probably feels like she has very little power, much like a Disney princess.  But sometimes she just want to be the person who calls all the shots.  Like a stepmudder.

Also, poison apples are awesome.  Snow White couldn't make a poison apple.  She could only clean house, which is boring.


  1. It's nice to see little girls being empowered by fairy tales rather than becoming damsels in distress!

  2. jesslyn, i was obsessed with corsets too. i made people cinch silkies around my waist, and i'd be like "tighter, tighter." kids are weird.

  3. Who would want to be Snow White? She was a total dupe. That said, stepmothers already have a hard time without the bad PR from fairytales.