Pirate or princess? Twenty years ago we would have never asked that question when it came to a girl ... Today, it matters!
"Mommy, tomorrow is princess and pirate day," my oldest daughter tells me at 9:00 at night just as I am about to fall asleep on my feet. My stomach is rumbling and I'm carrying a full basket of laundry in my hands.
"Sweetie," I say in the nicest voice I can muster, "why didn't you tell me this earlier?" I say dumping the laundry on my bed and finally kicking off my heels.
"I forgot," she says dismissively. "But it's really, really important. We have to come up with an outfit!"
"Okay," I say peeling off my suit jacket and heading for the dress-up rack.
I shuffle through the outfits which are haphazardly hanging, mostly inside out from bent wire hanges on the tiny rack that looks like it is about to keel over from the weight.
"What kind of princess do you want to be?"
"I want to be a pirate," she says, hands on her hips.
"No, Sweetie, all the girls will be princesses. You will feel weird," I say, not wanting her to be embarrassed or laughed at.
I picture her as the only female swashbuckler in a sea of Ariels and Cinderellas.
"Mommy," she says defiantly. "Well, okay," she says giving in to my weary gaze.
We settled on a pink and green number, an understated tiara, and cute sandals.
The next morning after getting dressed and looking in the mirror she told me she looked awful and that she wanted to be a pirate again. Due to the school bus screaming down the street, I ignored her protests and ushered her quickly out the door.
When she got home that evening I asked her how the day went.
"You were wrong," she says with a scowl. "There were three girl pirates!"
"I'm sorry, Sweetie," I say sincerely, kicking my feminist behind for forcing my tomboy into princess-hood. "It won't happen again."
"Next year I want to be a pirate," she says with a power pout.
"Absolutely," I say. "Absolutely."