The only weird encounter there was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. When I was planning the trip events a friend of mine insisted that I make an appointment there for Julia. She had recently taken her daughter there and said it was really fun. So I made appointment several months in advance.
On the day of the appointment we also had a lunch reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table. I knew that little girls liked to dress in their princess gear for this, so I brought along two gown options for Girlchild in my backpack, even though she had insisted that she didn’t want to dress up for the lunch. As a side note…Girlchild is not a tomboy; she enjoys playing dress up and princess play very much. However, I never inundated her with the princess brainwash items–for instance I did not allow her to wear anything that said “princess” on it until she asked for it, which was around the beginning of preschool when she saw other little girls doing it. So as a result, I’m pretty comfortable with the fact that Girlchild gets just as excited to see a bug close-up, as she does to play princess. While in line for lunch I said, “Oh! I almost forgot, would you like to put on a princess dress for the Royal Table?” All the other girls were dressed up.
Me: “Are you sure? I brought two dresses to pick from and all the other little girls are dressed up.”
And then she chose one, put it on, kept it on for photos and autographs and the meal. When we were back outside the castle she said, “I don’t want this dress on anymore.” Ahh. Another teary-eyed moment for Mom. You mean I don’t have to convince you that the dress might get in the way of rides and fun? You mean you understand that you can dress up for special occasions and dress practically other times? Sniffle. Kid, I think we’ve raised you right! Another teary-eyed Disney moment, but probably not one they’d want to include in their commercials.
So…back to the Bibbidi Bobbidi. We go inside and I do have to admit, it’s beautiful. If a princess did go somewhere to get all fancied up, I would imagine it would look like this. We checked in and received our royal invitation for fancying for the imaginary ball, and sat. And waited. In the course of 10 minutes, I started to feel sick. Adorable little girls were walking in in fuzzy curls and bows, and perfectly imperfect little girl hair….and walking out looking kind of trampy. I looked at the brochure they gave us, which showed the 3 hairstyles from which we had to choose. One was a fake hairpiece of a poof on top, that looked like it had been teased with hairspray, and you could even get this in pink. Another had little braids popping out everywhere–I don’t remember if that was a hairpiece or not. And the third was the option of getting your daughter’s hair sprayed and combed straight back into a taut little mean schoolteacher-type bun, where you could see the hardened comb grooves in the hair. I asked Girlchild which she’d like, and she did choose the schoolteacher bun, which I’d convinced myself was the best option. Better to look more like the back-up dancers (sans heavy makeup) for Robert Palmer than a toddler beauty pageant participant or someone with the hair of Predator. Still, it was harsh. These little girls exiting wearing the schoolteacher bun looked MEAN. Even when they didn’t mean to look mean…if they weren’t smiling they looked MEAN. I’d seen them around the park earlier and just thought their mamas didn’t know how to do hair…I didn’t realize they’d been officially done up.
And then there was the face sparkle. Okay, I mean who doesn’t love a little pixie dust, right? It’s magical. I have to admit, my own makeup powder includes some sparkle–the theory is that it deflects light and blinds the viewer into thinking you don’t have any wrinkles or tired bags under your eyes. Magical, I tell you. However….face sparkle should be minimal on adults unless you work….nights. And on little girls I’m just not sure how I feel about it. These girls looked like their faces had been hairsprayed with glitter.
And then there was the attitude of some of the girls. We’d chosen the next-to-cheapest dress-up option at the boutique, which included a scary hairstyle, sparkly make-up, and nails painted. The most expensive option was priced I think from $189-$250 and included an overpriced Disney princess dress (you know, the kind with the princess mug on the chest so there is no confusion about who you’re supposed to be….you know, very legit princess–I’m sure Princess Kate will have her own mug on all her necklaces when she gets hitched in London soon), shoes, tiara, etc. In my mind the price was too ridiculous, I don’t care how magical or special you’re feeling or what you’re celebrating. Yet I saw one little bossy girl walk in–probably younger than my 4 year old Girlchild–and when her mom pointed out and suggested a dress to her she snapped back, “No! I want this other dress. I had that dress LAST time!”
It was then, after waiting 15 minutes for our “appointment” that I turned to a completely quiet and nonchalant Girlchild and said, “You know, if you don’t want to do this, we don’t have to. It’s just supposed to be fun. If it doesn’t sound like fun to get dressed up, we don’t have to.”
“I want to do it.” She said this pretty expressionless.
“Okay. I just wanted to let you know, we’ll do whatever you want.”
A few minutes passed and I was really not looking forward to my sweet little princess being transformed into a sparkly frog. Girlchild spoke up.
“You know, I don’t think I want to do this. I changed my mind.”
My heart beat faster.
“Really? It’s okay if we do it. I want you to have fun.”
“No. I want to go ride rides instead.”
“You’re sure? You won’t be sad when you see other little girls dressed up?” I was smiling now. I couldn’t help it.
“No. I don’t want to do it.”
“Girlchild…I love you. You’re the BEST little girl in the WHOLE world.”
I shielded my wet blurry eyes from the sun as we walked back into freedom.