Thursday, January 20, 2011

Disney Princess Makeup

When the New Year started, David and I took a good, long look at the state of our children’s behavior (not that a long look was necessary) and realized it was basically crap. Please be clear: I’m not saying, ala Amy Chua, Tiger Mother, that my kids are crap, only that their behavior is. You know the way adults sort of slack off on their diets over the holidays and then, come New Year’s decide, they’ve got to do something about the unmistakable bulge that’s developed? This is precisely what happened to my children, except that instead of gaining weight, they gained gall, attitude and anarchic leanings. All those presents and candy and cake and time off from school eroded their already questionable devotion to rules and order.

So, in order to aid our return to discipline, we resuscitated the old sticker charts. Primo’s sticker chart is specifically targeted to reward brave behavior, because he’s Achilles Hell is worry. It was more difficult to decide what issue Seconda’s sticker chart should address since she has a few areas that need drastic improvement. We settled on a “listening chart” to acknowledge and reward instances of good listening and cooperation. It has taken a long time, but she has finally early the requisite 25 stickers necessary for a small reward of her choice. And what she chose was . . . Disney princess makeup. I will pause as you throw up in your mouth a little.

Disney Princess Makeup.

Each of these three things taken separately are not so objectionable – I certainly appreciate Walt’s contribution to the cinema; there are a lot of stirring and compelling princess narratives; and hey, I enjoy body art of all types -- tattoos, nail polish, facepaint, whatever the hell floats your boat. But put together Disney and Princess and Makeup and you get a total abomination. The kit she selected contained some stick-on nail tips, a tube of lip balm, a pot of lip gloss and one bottle of sparkly nail polish, everything covered in pastel images of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s smiling faces. The thought of my daughter applying cheap-o, probably toxic makeup in the hopes of making her sublime, perfect face more closely resemble those of the anemic, moronic women who contain absolutely no chutzpah, cojones or problem-solving skills, fills me with agony, However, I keenly remember feeling the same irresistible pull to the princess crap. Hell, if I’m being honest, I STILL do, in part, You see those ruby red lips and the perfect bows sitting atop their shiny do’s and you’re hypnotized. You are rendered powerless under the spell of pretty. So I wasn’t about to put my foot down and ban princesses, especially since I know that’ll only make her want it more.

So, I paid for the makeup, all the while reminding Seconda that it was fun to play with makeup but that she didn’t NEED it to be pretty, that what makes her pretty is her free spirit and her kindness and big glittering eyes and her sense of humor.

“OK,” she said, “Now can I have the princess makeup?”

I was worried that she’d fight me to wear it to school but that turned out to be a moot point. After a half hour shrieking and squealing and ooohing and ahhing, Seconda got quiet and disappeared. This was suspicious but I didn’t want to look the gift horse of peace and quiet in the mouth so I did not look for her. Then, as I was crossing my legs at the table where I sat typing, my foot banged into something soft. A child. My child, hiding gunder the table.

I knew whatever she was doing was going to be bad, that’s how quiet and well-hidden she was. So I took a deep breath before pulling up the tablecloth. There was Sec, buck naked, her body smeared in Disney Princess Lip Gloss, and the stick of lip balm chewed down to the nub. Not only had she covered herself in pretty, she’d ingested the pretty. That kid never does anything half-ass.

So, just like that, we were rid of the Disney Princess Makeup. Sometimes letting them glut themselves can do the trick.