As most would not suspect, I don’t have a very good long term memory. I think it’s because I have so many things floating around my head that is of dire importance this very minute that I can’t remember things that have no value to the present; such as my kindergarten best friend, my first piano recital, what my room looked like prior to 10 years of age. I remember none of it. I honestly don’t remember much before 9th grade. Strange, odd, I know. Especially when talking to my husband who remembers every teacher (probably only because every single sibling of his had the exact same teacher all their lives, oh, yeah, and his parents) from his elementary years. However, he could not tell you what color pants he is wearing at this very moment without looking down. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s because of some trauma I experienced and am trying to block this era from my mind for fear of damaging me emotionally. I just have more important things to worry about, for instance, where is my purple lightsaber and my red blankie and foxy and the little yellow wheel that goes to this car and my half chewed candy I was saving for later and my husband’s watch, keys, ring, remote and ipod.
But I do remember a few events, possibly because I have heard them repeated throughout my life by my mom and I just am under the impression it is a memory.
One, I was not your girly girl growing up. I have no recollection of dressing up as a princess or ballerina. In fact, I walked into my first ballet class, took a look around at all the girls wearing their leotards and tutus and promptly turned around and exited the facility. I told my mom, no. Not for me. My sister loved the whole tap, ballet, jazz thing, and I do actually remember her recitals. But don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a tomboy either. I did enjoy my strawberry shortcakes and my little ponies, but I also collected comic books and baseball cards. I just didn’t get the whole dress up and pretend you’re Cinderella thing. I did pretend to be a mom a lot, had all my babydolls and made them little baby books with their first words and even their first haircuts. But this I only remember because my mom saved the little books and I recently got to read them.
My daughter however is unusually obsessed with princesses. I say unusually because I don’t know many 15 month olds who know what a princess is and who they are. She was able to identify which princess was which. She knew Belle, Cinderella, Jasmin, Ariel, Snow White, and Aurora before she knew the names of most of my family members. In fact, she not only knew these princess’ names, but what their attire should be. When you pull out a princess themed sticker book, she could tell you that the ensemble with the midrift bare piece is for Jasmin. Somehow she knows Jasmin is a middle eastern belly dancing princess who shows her belly button a lot. And somehow she knows that Belle is always in yellow, Cinderella usually in blue, Aurora in her characteristic pink, Snow White in her blue, yellow and red dress, and Ariel, well I hope you all know that Ariel is a mermaid.
However knowing all this information is one thing, and reenacting this is quite another. We recently entered into the dress up phase of life. I recently went through toys and discarded old and brought out new, one of which was a dress up costume and set of shoes, tiara, and gloves I received at my baby shower for Greta. One look at this and Greta had to wear it. Immediately. Take off take off! As she grabbed at her own clothes. Put on Put on! As she pointed to what I was holding in my hands.
She clanks around in these heels that are going to break her neck and then I will be blamed for not watching my daughter close enough, and get evil stares from people who think I am such a bad mother. She wears the tiara and purple gloves, all the while pushing a baby stroller with a doll inside. She is not phased by her brothers who are reenacting their own stories, one of rushes and gaining yards and tackling. She tunes them out better than I can. She even identifies with one of the princesses more than all the rest. On her own she will tell you I’m Aurora. I am enthralled with this whole concept because somehow I feel like I am enjoying it with her for the first time. I tried to capture a few moments of this the other day.