Follow Along

Never Miss a thing...

Enter your email address to be updated with new posts:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Saturday, 2 April 2011
Welcome to Princess Proofing 101 ~ there is no prerequisite for this course, and it is open to all parents of girls and boys.  If your day included being dubbed either the Handsome Prince, the Wicked Stepmother or the sidekick animal by young Royalty... this is the course for you.  If *you* chose to be handsome, wicked or creaturish by your own choice, carry on. Because it is all about the choice.

Check out the introduction post if you wonder what all this is about (and keep in mind, I have a tendency to type with tongue firmly in cheek)~ this series is meant to take a fun but intentional look at the challenge of raising a child in a princessified (yes, it is a word, I swear it!) culture.

e. e. cummings wrote in his poem 'Just':
"spring when the world is mud-lusious... when the world is puddle wonderful" ♥

Spring is the *perfect* time to combat those cabin fever induced Princess fantasies by subjecting pristine tutus and sparkly shoes to the cold wind sun warmed reality that is spring (or will be for us in the more northern parts of North America).  It is hard to be pretty and genteel when beckoned by a giant mud puddle reminiscent of the one poor Dr. Foster met in Gloucester!  And even the pinkest and princessiest (also a word) of rubber boots lose their shine after a thorough coating of mud.

Spring and the glorious freedom of being out of doors and hopping on bikes and revisiting favourite swings and slides (with mud puddles at the bottom!) can wipe the gentility out of even the most hardened (or is it softened? ) of royalty.  At the very least, our winter pampered princesses will have to stretch their horse (bike) riding muscles and learn the hardest of lessons~ that a cloak thrown over a mud puddle will not in fact keep one from getting muddy feet~ instead, one will end up tangled in a muddy cloak and on her face in said puddle (ask me how I know!).

The key here is to get outside. And yes, to get muddy. Clothes and skin all wash. And if you time it perfectly and go outside while it is raining, you can get dirty and then clean almost simultaneously!

For the reluctant dignitary, a dignity-free parent will go a long way... you splash, too!
Or plan and plant a small garden~ you can't plant pansies without digging in the soil!
Collect some pinecones, rocks, twigs... whatever... and make something wonderful with them.
Float a paper boat.
Go on a signs of spring Scavenger Hunt.
Make a mud angel.

Heck, even get your rubber boot stuck in the mud so that you have to hop out of it and walk through the mud in your socks.  Remember that feeling?

Each of these activities is full of potential learning, laughter and health.
They allow children to feel their strengthening bodies and stretch their world to include the natural landscape ~ the favourite climbing tree, the last tree to leaf, the race between the tulips and the daffodils, the biggest puddle and the warmest and dryest spot to lie for cloud gazing.

Our favourite spring activites include marking the return of the various birds with silly welcoming songs we make up when we see them (the crows came back ths week); rock hopping in the lake while water levels are low (and always, as with all spring waterways, extreme care and parental supervision), having stick races in the springwater runoffs and just saying hello to our old haunts and faithful friends as they emerge from their blankets of winter snow.

Taking out the rubber boots is a part of our yearly rhythm.
You may notice three different pairs (3 different years) in the photos!

Gosh, with all this outdoor fun, I nearly forgot about princesses altogether!
And chances are your little ones might, too!

Given an alternative world in which to move, our girls learn first hand that being a girl is not about being a helpless trophy, or a beautiful vessel on a gilded shelf, but being a girl is also about movement and vigor and strength and the amazing, magical wonder of nature of which we are a part~ dirty, wet, glorious and puddle wonderful!

••What do you think?  Please add your thoughts and comments to the comments for this post!••

1) Don’t call me Princess
Get outside and get dirty.
Practice Empathy ::Consider other points of view
Avoid the Pink Aisle/ Resist the Hype
5) Be Creative (act, sing, dance, make...)
6) Develop a variety of interests
7) Keep toys simple and open ended
Share the classic Fairy Tales
9) Keep child’s play child friendly and child focussed
10) Love the Rainbow
The Real Thing
12) The Fairy Cheat


MamaWestWind said...

Love it! We don't hear much about princesses around here, with 2 boys. Love your ideas for getting out there and getting muddy.


Dreaming Monet said...

this sounds so heavenly. today my daughter gave herself and the oleander bushes a dirt bath, but we likely won't have much rain until monsoon season late summer. i love mud and can't wait!

Annicles said...

My eldest went through a princess phase, before the pirate phase. I think she just loved the dressing up because she certainly didn't modify her behaviour to match.
When I was around 2 months pregnant with no.3 and feeling rather sick we went to a river for the afternoon. Abi was wearing her favourite Tinkerbell costume.
I picked what looked like a sandy patch and sat down to watch the children and breath in some salty air.
I was keeing a closer eye on my son who was just 2 years old as he was throwing stones into the sea. I didn't notice that Abi was silently and with great focus occupied with digging herself a mud pit and wallowing full length in it until she was utterly covered from head to foot in mud. after that there was no point in stopping her and going home early so I let her play in her mud pit all afternoon.
She attracted a lot of attention! Positive from the older people taking walks who told me approvingly that children these days are not allowed to get dirty and I was a great mum for letting my children play that way, and negaitve from other parents whose children were looking longingly at the mud pit and desparately wanted to join in. One mummy told her daughter that I was probably the nanny and the children's mother would be very angry when they came home. I told her I was the mummy and I loved muddy children!
The Tinkerbell costume was wrecked. They are not really made for energetic play or being washed - ridiculous. The best princesses are very muddy creatures!

RhondaLavender said...

I must begin by saying I never buy white or very light clothes for my daughter.

We are fortunate that our mud season is year-round. It is often the red clay that makes a rather permanent dye. We keep mud boots at the front & back doors and even a pair in the car for mud outings.

I think having a child that embraces the earth element -- especially when it is mixed with the water element -- has been due in a large part to my responses. Muddy clothes just are not a big problem at our house. Maybe it is because we spent her first 2 years in cloth diapers. Maybe it is because hubby is a gardener and often comes home with muddy clothes too. I don't know the reason, but I'm glad that she really knows that she can experience each day fully, without concern over laundry.

Amanda said...

What a great posting series! While my daughter is only one we already seem to be fighting the commercialized Princess culture...books, PJs, clothes. We just donate all the well meaning gifts to charity...although all that means is some other little girl will now be susceptible to the dangers of "princess hood". Thanks for discussing such an important topic. We teach our children at such a young age that they need to "fit in the act like a girl or act like a man box" I struggle with the same issues with my son. Up until he started school his favorite color was pink. It is now green. I sometimes hear him say..that is a girl toy, color whatever and it breaks my heart. I will continue to lead by example and talk openly with him. This post has encouraged me to take a honest look at my own behaviors and see where I may be able to change in order to break down culture barriers. BRAVO!!

Suzie said...

I love this poem by e.e. cummings! Did you know there is a whole song cycle written by Dominick Argento called "Songs About Spring," and the lyrics for the songs are all by e.e. cummings? One of them is called "in Just-spring." I only know that because I'm a singer. :)

This is wonderful. I've finally started reading "Cinderella Ate my Daughter" myself, and there are some really telling statistics and stories in there. I have to say I enjoy your interpretation of the information even more than the book itself. Your blog is wonderful. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments~ glad to know there are some other mud puppies out there!

(Suzie, I will have to check out the music! Thanks!)

My copy of Cinderella Ate My Daughter is still un opened~ mainly because I had started this and I can be a real sponge (problem with being a preacher, you remember stories and use them LOL)~ so I want to finish my series first!

The story about the mud pit is fabulous! Reminds me of my sisters and I making traps full of mud and gunk at the beach and then purposely falling in them to get filthy!

Stacey said...

I must admit that I struggle with this one--watching my daughter get her clothes all dirty and wondering if I can get all the stains out! But I DO believe that this kind of play is soo important for girls. It's kind of annoying how boys clothes are MADE for getting dirty. Ya know, darker colors, heavier fabrics, basic designs, whereas girls clothes are typically pastel, lighter fabrics, frilly, etc. that show every bit of dirt.

I love the Tinkerbell in the mud puddle story! At the end of the day, it's more important for our kids to be close to nature and get dirty than it is to worry about some ruined clothes!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

Playsilk Primer

Join the Link Party!

Go Creative!

Supply Kit for Silk Fairy Mobile DIY

Supply Kit for Silk Dolly DIY