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Keeping up with the princesses

Yesterday Jordan went to a "princess party" at the photo studio my cousins' own. Under normal circumstances I probably would have never wanted to attend one of these things, thinking it was just another example of how materialistic society has become and how spoiled children are. But Jordan, like most girls around her age, loves to dress up and is enamored by princesses, plus these ladies are my cousins and I was in town, so we went.

I have to say it was kind of neat and probably felt magical to the girls, though some were too young to be there (watching one of the moms try to put makeup on her crying two-year old particularly annoyed me). But Jordan had so much fun, and she was an angel pretty much the entire time. She stood still the entire time she was putting her dress on and having her hair and makeup done; and while waiting for the other girls, she sat quietly at the table for something like 10 minutes. She seemed to like the visit by the princess (a pretty high school senior wearing a prom dress) and looked so cute drinking lemonade out of the pink tea cups (and sitting in the chairs that were covered in beautiful white linens, no less). Afterward, she told both the cashier at a drug store and the waitress at a restaurant about the party, proudly showing off the crown she was still wearing. I am anxious to see how the professional pictures turned out (yep, part of the party), but was glad for the camera phone that allowed me to snap a few to tide me over.

But despite that, and at the risk of sounding like a 70-year-old woman, I wonder what has happened to simpler times. Why do so many people have theme parties, complete with character visits, pony rides, and a vast array of activities? Can someone please tell me why it has practically become law that attendees of kids' parties get gift bags/trinkets to take home? I saw an episode of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" last year, I think, where Christine could not afford the per-kid cost for a birthday party for her son, so she ended up having something at her house, and the kids went on a scavenger hunt for random things around the house. The kids had fun, I seem to recall, though I think her kid ended up being the butt of jokes at school because of it. And I thought, sadly, that is probably close to reality today.

Christine is my hero in some respects. She has stoop up to the snobby moms, the ones with the perfect hair, makeup, and clothes, who make sure their kids have the best of everything and don't play with anyone who may be "beneath" them. Sure I put makeup on before I leave the house, but my hair is almost never styled, and my clothes are not the most fashionable. On most days, I let Jordan wear whatever she wants, as long as it is weather-appropriate. If she wants to wear the same outfit she just wore to school, and if her socks don't match, that is okay by me. It is a victory just to get a brush through her hair or to get that kid to brush her teeth before we leave. I just cannot worry about all those things. At least not today.
So for now, I am going to look back at the princess party and look at it for what it was, a fun, magical party for my little princess. And that I drank a mojito while there did not hurt...


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