A while back I wrote the Rules for Living with an Entomologist, focusing on our older daughter Emily’s ongoing love of insects. It seems only fair that I write one that focuses on our younger daughter Julia’s ongoing love: princess dresses.
When Julia was 2 and a half, she received her first princess dress, Merida (from Disney’s Brave). She had received a gift card from a friend, and when we went to the store so she could spend her money she was dead set on getting that dress. We bought it, took it home, she wore it once, and then refused to wear it again. That is, until 6 months later when she received a Rapunzel dress for her birthday. That was the day Julia came out of the closet – literally – and has worn a princess dress almost every day since. As Emily hated costumes of any kind (we had to force her to dress up for Halloween), this was new territory for me. But I’ve learned a lot over the past year, and I’ve made careful notes for anyone else out there with a princess-in-training. 🙂
RULE #1 – THE DRESSES ARE NOT COSTUMES
I cannot stress this enough. They are clothes. You will never convince your dress-loving child that there is any difference between something you would wear on Easter Sunday and her Elsa gown (complete with sparkling, glittering snowflakes, lace trim, and train). However, she will somehow still recognize that the cute bunny ears you want her to wear for the Easter photo are, in fact, not a headband, no matter how much you try to convince her otherwise. No, these dresses are perfectly acceptable attire for any occasion, including the beach, weddings, funerals, and going to the dentist. And, of course, playing outside.
RULE #2 – YOU ARE NOW THE ROYAL LAUNDERER
Ok, so I know you’ve already been doing the laundry for your household, but get ready to kick it up a notch. Princess dresses are, shall we say, delicately made. Washing these dresses in the same load as anything with a button or zipper or embellishment on it – no matter how small – is likely to rip your dress to shreds. Not to mention you’ll find glitter on absolutely every single piece of clothing that was washed in the same load as the dress, even if it never had glitter on it before (sorry about the socks, Jay). You’ll soon discover that in order to save alligator tears (yours), you’ll be much better off washing all those dresses in a load of their own. Yup, you heard me. One extra load of laundry. PS – a tip from an expert: putting them in the dryer sometimes makes them warp funny, which is why my laundry area looks like this each week:
RULE #3 – YOU ARE ALSO THE ROYAL TAILOR
Now, logic would have it that if your kid is a princess then you must be the king or queen. And while this is true, this does not necessarily mean that you’ve got the finances to back up the title – which is the situation Jay and I find ourselves in. To avoid going completely broke, you’ll need to do a dress inspection after every laundry cycle. Look for rips, tears, places where the dress makes her look more like a pauper than a princess. Sometimes that means cutting off trim entirely (notice the gold trim at the bottom of Merida’s dress has been removed in the photo below), sometimes that means busting out a needle & thread and stitching it back together. Thank goodness for the car line.
RULE #4 – YOU WILL TALK TO STRANGERS MORE THAN YOU THINK
If you are shy or introverted, get ready for your worst nightmare to come true, because everyone you encounter while in the company of your princess will want to talk to her (and by default, you) about her gown. Sometimes you’ll get off lucky with a sweet smile or a quick comment, but more often than not strangers will want to have full-blown conversations about the crazy things their kids used to wear, how expensive the dresses are and how poorly they are made (see RULE #3), and/or how they just bought the exact same dress for their granddaughter. But my favorite is when they’ll try to show off how much they know about the princess who made the dress famous and are completely wrong. Know your princesses, people – just because the dress is blue doesn’t mean it’s Elsa (does anyone remember a gal named Cinderella?), and you’re sending me home with a grumpy princess who can’t understand why everyone has been calling her Elsa all day.
RULE #5 – YOU WILL NEED YOUR CAMERA ALL THE TIME
Yeah, pretty much everything looks adorable if it’s done in a princess dress. Your kid spills their Cheerios all over the floor in their jammies and you get frustrated. Your kid spills their Cheerios in a princess gown, and you get the camera. Not only that, but your kid knows they are “so beautiful” and will demand that you take pictures of them doing the most ordinary things. Sure, I don’t mind taking another picture of you standing in the grass in your Anna gown, Julia. I only have 3,458 already.
So there you have it. But before I sign off, let me leave you with one last word of advice: don’t think for one minute that dressing like a princess will make your child act like a princess. I honestly still can’t figure out how I ended up with such a girly little brute. But I will say, she certainly has perfected that sweet princess smile ! 😀