Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
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Childhood, Princesshood, Motherhood

She wants to return the presents with notes of apology that say: No princesses allowed. Her husband says they can accept the gifts and toss them, or pass them on to others. But it’s not just one gift. At the baby shower, she receives a passel of bow-wrapped bundles of white or pale pink onesies and bibs that say Mommy’s Little Princess or Daddy’s Little Princess. The ones that say neither say Bad to the Bow.

She wants to stop the princess tide now, before it’s too late.

He says what’s done is done. Hasn’t she ever wanted to be a princess?

Back when the only princess that mattered was Luke’s twin Leia—when princesses shot blasters, withstood imperial probes, bluffed generals, disguised themselves as bounty hunters to threaten giant slugs with thermal detonators—a princess seemed like a pretty good thing to be. But that was before playing dress-up moved from the house and took to the streets, and little girls sat in the McDonald’s in tiaras, tutus, and glitter face paint, before everything—even Legos—got segregated into pink or blue, and she swore off having children.

She’d changed her mind about that, he’s quick to remind her.

Though she finds parenthood palatable with him at her side, she is still sickened by the current child-worshiping cult trend. Just the thought of being known only as someone’s mom, replacing her political candidate’s bumper sticker with one about honor roll status, synchronizing snacks and play dates, carrying EpiPens, offering trick-or-treat snacks to account for every allergy, living a juice-box-ready life, and planning themed birthday parties because cakes made from boxes no longer cut it kept her backing away from every child she saw as if one touch from their grubby germy snotty hands could turn her into a mother.

But she has him, and they’ve agreed to do it their way, to make their own rules and not cave in to the pressure, to parent as they see fit.

Is he copping out on her now, before they even begin?

Of course not, but he thought the onesies were cute. He didn’t really see the harm.

She asks if he remembers his last girlfriend.

How could he forget? Spoiled rotten to the core, she’d taken every courtesy as her due, acting as if he lived only to serve her. She never thanked him for opening her doors, never once offered to pay for a date, not even on his birthday. She’d wanted a wedding whose dress alone would have cost more than his current home’s down payment.

She points to the bedazzled onesies and bibs, asks where he thinks that behavior comes from. How does he think it all begins?

If he were a cartoon, above his head would appear a light bulb. He gathers up the onesies and the bibs, snatches the cards right out of her hands. He agrees, they must send it all back. No princesses allowed. He volunteers to write the notes himself.  

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