Welcome to Princess Proofing 101 ~ there is no prerequisite for this course, and it is open to all parents of girls and boys. If your day included being dubbed either the Handsome Prince, the Wicked Stepmother or the sidekick animal by young Royalty... this is the course for you. If *you* chose to be handsome, wicked or creaturish by your own choice, carry on. Because it is all about the choice.
Check out the introduction post if you wonder what all this is about (and keep in mind, I have a tendency to type with tongue firmly in cheek)~ this series is meant to take a fun but intentional look at the challenge of raising a child in a princessified (yes, it is a word, I swear it!) culture.
e. e. cummings wrote in his poem 'Just':
"spring when the world is mud-lusious... when the world is puddle wonderful" ♥
Spring is the *perfect* time to combat those cabin fever induced Princess fantasies by subjecting pristine tutus and sparkly shoes to the cold wind sun warmed reality that is spring (or will be for us in the more northern parts of North America). It is hard to be pretty and genteel when beckoned by a giant mud puddle reminiscent of the one poor Dr. Foster met in Gloucester! And even the pinkest and princessiest (also a word) of rubber boots lose their shine after a thorough coating of mud.
Spring and the glorious freedom of being out of doors and hopping on bikes and revisiting favourite swings and slides (with mud puddles at the bottom!) can wipe the gentility out of even the most hardened (or is it softened? ) of royalty. At the very least, our winter pampered princesses will have to stretch their horse (bike) riding muscles and learn the hardest of lessons~ that a cloak thrown over a mud puddle will not in fact keep one from getting muddy feet~ instead, one will end up tangled in a muddy cloak and on her face in said puddle (ask me how I know!).
The key here is to get outside. And yes, to get muddy. Clothes and skin all wash. And if you time it perfectly and go outside while it is raining, you can get dirty and then clean almost simultaneously!
For the reluctant dignitary, a dignity-free parent will go a long way... you splash, too!
Or plan and plant a small garden~ you can't plant pansies without digging in the soil!
Collect some pinecones, rocks, twigs... whatever... and make something wonderful with them.
Float a paper boat.
Go on a signs of spring Scavenger Hunt.
Make a mud angel.
Heck, even get your rubber boot stuck in the mud so that you have to hop out of it and walk through the mud in your socks. Remember that feeling?
Each of these activities is full of potential learning, laughter and health.
They allow children to feel their strengthening bodies and stretch their world to include the natural landscape ~ the favourite climbing tree, the last tree to leaf, the race between the tulips and the daffodils, the biggest puddle and the warmest and dryest spot to lie for cloud gazing.
Our favourite spring activites include marking the return of the various birds with silly welcoming songs we make up when we see them (the crows came back ths week); rock hopping in the lake while water levels are low (and always, as with all spring waterways, extreme care and parental supervision), having stick races in the springwater runoffs and just saying hello to our old haunts and faithful friends as they emerge from their blankets of winter snow.
Taking out the rubber boots is a part of our yearly rhythm.
You may notice three different pairs (3 different years) in the photos!
Gosh, with all this outdoor fun, I nearly forgot about princesses altogether!
And chances are your little ones might, too!
Given an alternative world in which to move, our girls learn first hand that being a girl is not about being a helpless trophy, or a beautiful vessel on a gilded shelf, but being a girl is also about movement and vigor and strength and the amazing, magical wonder of nature of which we are a part~ dirty, wet, glorious and puddle wonderful!
••What do you think? Please add your thoughts and comments to the comments for this post!••
1) Don’t call me Princess
2) Get outside and get dirty.
3) Practice Empathy ::Consider other points of view
4) Share the classic Fairy Tales
5) Be Creative (act, sing, dance, make...)
6) Develop a variety of interests
7) Keep toys simple and open ended
8) Avoid the Pink Aisle/ Resist the Hype
9) Keep child’s play child friendly and child focussed
10) Love the Rainbow
11) The Real Thing
12) The Fairy Cheat
Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree
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