Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shilo is going to kill me

Young child with dreams
Dream every dream on your own
When children play
Seems like you end up alone.

I've never been a big doll person. When I was a child, and my mother was concerned that I wasn't playing outside with the other kids, I would say things like, "Who needs friends when you have a book, Mom?" She would smile and walk away, and then a half hour later I'd find her sobbing at the kitchen counter with a rum and Coke.

I didn't play with Barbies, I didn't play dress-up, and I didn't want to be a ballerina. However, I did have an imagination, and along with it, my imaginary friend named Tony. I don't remember Tony, but my parents do, and I'm sure in their minds it is categorized as "That Creepy Tony Phase" when they considered calling in a priest.

This is one thing Neil Diamond and I have in common. Neil had an imaginary friend growing up, and she was the inspiration for the song "Shilo". Before Neil could have his pick of the real babes, he had to make up an imaginary chick. I wonder if he would dress in a size 4T sequined shirt and tight black pants during his playtime with Shilo? These are the questions I want answered. With visuals.

My youngest daughter has a HUGE imagination, and is waaaaayyyyy into playing dolls. She is a Girlie Girl with a capital "ME!" She has a full battalion of American Girl dolls inherited from her older sister, a Bitty Baby, a box of Barbies, a box of Littlest Pet Shoppers (our name), a box of Polly Pockets, and boxes of Puppy in my Pocket, Kitty in my Pocket, Jungle in my get the picture. She doesn't just have one imaginary friend - they are ALL her imaginary friends.

Why does she have so many little creatures at her disposal, you may ask? It's because she must rule everything around her. If she cannot bend the rest of us to her will, she goes to her room, dresses in her best princess outfit, builds a circle compound on the floor of her little people, and runs them ragged. It's like Jonestown, except Jim Jones is dressed in pink satin and feather boas and won't share the Kool-Aid with anyone else.

Shilo, when I was young
I used to call your name
When no one else would come
Shilo you always came,
And we'd play...

A few weeks ago, she had a friend over. The friend walked in the door and was immediately whisked to Jonestown, sequestered, and pinked out. The Imaginary World commenced. I could hear them busily setting up the scene. I took the opportunity to pilfer some of the kids' Nutter Butters and read a book. Soon, the girls came into the room requesting snacks.

THEM: "We're hungry."
ME: "How do we ask for food?"
THEM: "We're hungry NOW."
ME: "How about a please?"
THEM: "Please." (They then exchange a knowing glance and giggle.)
ME: "What?"
THEM: "Oh nothing!" (More giggling.)
ME: (Playing nonchalant) "So what are you playing?"
THEM: "We are playing this really fun game where we are sisters and we live alone in a house because both of our parents have died in a car crash. We are princesses and we can have whatever we want!"
ME: (Figuring out my odds if they both turn against me) "But isn't it sad to not have parents?"
THEM: "Oh no, it's very fun! We always have dinner in our best dresses and never say please and eat in the living room!"

I gave them their snack and made them sit at the kitchen table, but I did not turn my back to them.

They were hit with Disney Princess Syndrome (DPS).

DPS generally occurs in little girls between the ages of three and seven who have been exposed to more than three Disney movies. The symptoms include a rash of regal behavior, breaking out in song, feverish outfit changes, and coughing up scenarios that include the subtraction of parents and the addition of princes. According to Walt Disney, the only way to be a Disney princess is to be an orphan, or at the very least, lose your mother. I give you Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty (whose parents are alive, but she is removed from them), Belle, Ariel, and Jasmine.

If you are lucky enough to lose your mother, DPS tells you that this small bump in the road will surely be followed by beauty, charm, smarts, grace, character, the ability to manage conflict and take the high road, and eventually the trifecta of a prince, royal wedding, and a kingdom.

My daughter has seen all of the Disney Princess movies, and all of the Barbie movies with the same recurrent, motherless, marry-a-prince plot. She seems to watch me with thoughtful, calculating eyes.

Shilo when I was young
I used to call your name
When no one else would come
Shilo you always came
Come today

No, Shilo. Stay away. I saw the movie Child's Play. I'm going to write the next Disney movie. It's going to show a motherless girl who could have been a princess, but she is in prison for dealing meth. She works in the laundry room and no one tells her about periods. It will be called "Shilo and the Girls in Block B." The plot twist is that the mother lives, manages Shilo's release, takes the high road, forgives Shilo and teaches her how to be a princess without a prince. Because that's what the REAL, LIVE moms do.


Anita said...

I guess I just thought my Dad should have gotten a better job as a King, so I could be a princess.

Carolyndempsey said...

I love 'aDay in the Wife'--I'm drinking the cool-aid! Also, I have a 3-year-old daughter who already suffers from DPS, or rather, the rest of us suffer. Can you recommend any support groups?

Julie said...

Care Bear - I would join a Wine Club and show her foreign films. I believe young children just can't get enough of film noir in another language. La Vie En Rose is a good start.

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