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January 16, 2009

The Perfect, Perfect Princess

Carrie Nutmeg is signing up for a deportment class. Oh, she doesn't know that -- she thinks she's signing up for a class on how to be the "Perfect, Perfect Princess."

The funny thing is, this didn't even require any deception on my part. The Parks District did it for me. I simply paged through the book on this winter's offerings, noticed a few classes for her age and circled them. When I gave her the book later to see if any piqued her interest, Nutmeg read quietly for a few minutes and then burst out: "This class is about my dream!"

Apparently her dream is not to do art, nor to participate in interactive storytelling, but to be, that's right, "The Perfect, Perfect Princess." That's what they titled the class, and apparently she only read the title, not the part that explains that kids will think they're having fun while they're really learning manners.

Up until a few months ago, I thought Nutmeg might have skirted the princess thing that obsesses so many of her fellow 4-year-old girls. I was giving myself one of those premature parental back pats for limiting her exposure to the Disney marketing machine. She has seen a few Disney movies, thanks to her grandparents, but she so far has liked the ones about dogs best, not the ones about wearing poufy dresses and being rescued. (OK, here is where I admit that MY favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast; but come on, Belle is a bookworm and I love the songs.)

But no, even though she has not become obsessed with Disney's specific princesses, the whole message of the desirability of princessdom has infiltrated. Or maybe it's just normal for 4-year-old girls to dream of being princesses, I don't know.

But who's complaining? The kid is willingly signing up for manners lessons. And what 4-year-old couldn't use some of those?

She may even enjoy it, since her main complaint about the Park District class she currently takes is that there is a boy in it. Don't think that'll be a problem this time.

Original Chicago Moms Blog post. Carrie Kirby blogs about her perfect princesses at My Funny, Funny Family and about perfect bargains at Shoplifting With Permission. Photo by Zhephyr Jiza.

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