The Parent Trip – Pirate vs. princess

Here’s what happened. The other day we got an invitation for a birthday party. Both of my girls were invited, which was great...

  • May. 2, 2014 8:00 a.m.

By Shelby Cain


Pirate vs. princess.

Here’s what happened. The other day we got an invitation for a birthday party. Both of my girls were invited, which was great.

When one gets the invite and one doesn’t it requires some major explaining. I do think it’s one of those life lessons you definitely have to learn young though… you’re not always going to get an invite to the party. And that’s okay. But in this case they were both invited, so Mommy didn’t have to give one of her sermons on life’s trials and tribulations. For this hour, anyway.

I read the invitation aloud. Time. Place. And then… come as a princess or pirate. Three squeals with delight. “Princess party! Princess party!” Five thinks about it for a minute, and then says, “I’m going to be a pirate.” I opened my mouth to explain to her that no honey, the boys are pirates and the girls are princesses, and then I clamped it shut.

Where did that come from? When I first had Five, I purposely bought every item of non-pink clothing for girls I could find. They are few and far-between. I hated that the stereotype of pink for girls and blue for boys is crammed down their throats from birth. I didn’t want to turn her into a girly-girl. She lives in the mountains, I wanted her to be tough.

When I was a kid I couldn’t be wrangled into a dress under any circumstance. Pure tomboy. Was I really going to do this to my new baby? My clean slate? No. At least, not right away.

Soon you realize a few things. Almost all items made for girls are pink, including gender-neutral items – bikes, skis, helmets, goggles. Pink. Even for us adults… take the men’s version, then shrink it and pink it. If you hold out trying to find stuff that isn’t pink, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Conform. So I did.

But here’s the cool thing. As they get older and begin to express themselves more, their true self comes out. Five stopped wearing dresses and pink and most girly things all on her own, even though she spent the first two years of her life completely surrounded in pink. I have to peel Three out of her princess dress every night as her eyes begin to close, and she protests right up until she isn’t conscious to do it.

So I’ve got one who I’m going to have to haul off the dirt jumps at dark and one who’s practicing to be Miss Elk Valley. And I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it. Not that I would. They are who they are. Turns out there was a life lesson – for me.