The Princess had her first ballet class yesterday. Her father found a listing in the local parks & rec catalog which we could just squeeze in with my dropping her off before work and her father picking her up afterwards.
Consequently, the last week was nothing but growing excitement for her. She studied this book nonstop, poring over details ranging from foot position to hair accessories. She packed her frog backpack with everything she could possibly need including hairbands in various colors and a string of fake pearls "for luck". Then the bag was unpacked, double checked, and re-packed more times than I could count.
We visited a distinctly non-glamorous dance store in a grotty eastside strip mall for shoes and The Princess was in little girl heaven, surrounded by tulle and spangles and glitter. I felt sort of itchy myself and longed to escape, but I tried to let her enjoy the moment.
The big moment came yesterday, we met up with her father in the rain and they went off to find the class. The Princess was nearly vibrating with excitement when I said "goodbye". I drove to work once again wondering why I have such a hard time with all this sparkly pink girly stuff. I know I don't want her obsessing over her appearance and her body image. I don't want her to get nasty and competitive, and I don't want her to feel she needs to compare herself with other girls or meet socially constructed expectations of beauty.
We kept talking to her about what hard work ballet is but in fact The Spouse tells me that the class is really a bit of a fluttery pink free-for-all with all those tiny tutu'd girls running about. The Princess, he informs me, was very serious and tried her best to take it all in. When I came home from work she was still flouncing about in her dance ensemble, eager to tell me every detail. I guess what matters most is that she is very, very happy.
Now, I wonder if I can get her to think about tae kwon do or aikido....