A Boy and His Princesses

My son loves Disney princesses.

He’s never seen a single princess movie, or been to Disney World, or watched the Disney Channel. I’ve taken him into the Disney Store at the mall a few times, but as far as I can tell it’s just another toy store to him. But recently, JCPenney opened a Disney-themed section in their stores; being a “Disney-phile” myself, I wanted to take a look. Joshua was with me, as usual, so he came along for the ride (he was in his stroller, after all).

I had no idea that he would fall in love with the princess dolls.

The section contains Disney-themed clothing, books, and toys. I figured that, if anything, he’d be drawn to Cars, or Toy Story, or Monsters University. Never in a million years did I think that I would walk by a display of princess dolls and watch my son freak out and reach for one. But, alas, that’s what happened.

For Joshua and Ariel, it was love at first sight.

And then he saw Snow White:

Yup, I’m talking about these little “toddler” dolls, marketed to girls, right here:

Now, let me share a quick truth with you. I’ve always wanted a daughter. I’ve wanted a little girl I can dress up, have tea parties with, and take to ballet class. When we found out we were having a son, I thought I’d lost my dream. As Joshua has grown, I’ve remembered that he likes dressing up (regardless of whether they’re daddy’s ties or mommy’s heels) and dancing. Tea parties, not so much…at least not yet. I also remembered that there is NOTHING WRONG with a two-year-old boy who wants to play with dolls; it doesn’t matter if they’re stuffed animals, G.I. Joes, or princesses. Dolls are dolls to kids this age. I’m not going to tell my son that he can’t play with princess dolls just because they’re “meant for girls”.

I wanted my mom to see this for herself, so the next time we found ourselves at the mall I took her to see his reaction to the dolls, hoping that he would repeat his earlier performance. He did, but with a different princess.

Joshua Bear, say hello to Jasmine.

Because Grandma is Grandma, Joshua got to take Jasmine home…and he didn’t have to wait for Christmas. Such is the nature of grandparents, I guess.

Joshua has thoroughly enjoyed carrying Jasmine on shopping trips, holding her in the car, and pushing her around the house in his pink Graco doll stroller. Yes, you read that right — my son has a doll stroller. He chose it with a gift card he’d been given for his birthday. (For the record, I loved that he was making his own choices and I certainly wasn’t going to say no. His gift card, his money. He can spend it however he wishes.)

As for the rest of the dolls, Penney’s sells them for $15 each — reasonable, right? — so I decided I’d buy him one more as a Christmas present.

Ariel is currently sitting in my office closet, awaiting wrapping paper and a giant bow.

My mindset right now is that if it makes my son happy, it (probably) makes me happy (chasing squirrels halfway across the neighborhood and using dining room chairs as ladders to get onto the kitchen counter notwithstanding). Even if it’s pink. Even if it’s supposed to be for girls. Happiness is happiness; what kind of parent would I be if I denied my child something so simple, if it’s truly harmless and brings him joy? Let him have his dolls and his stroller. Right now, girls and boys are just children. They’re not girls and boys yet.

Let’s let toddlers be toddlers, okay?

To purchase Disney toddler dolls from JCPenney, click here.