Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm watching Oprah. This is the only thing I do that makes me feel like I am a real housewife. It would be better for my family if I could cook, clean, decorate, not get surly when my 3-year-old wakes up with a mystically sore toe at 1:30 in the morning, or garden. Instead, I watch TV. My whole life, that has been one of the few things I have excelled at consistently.

That, depression, and getting pregnant.

Oh, here she goes. Oprah is getting "in your face" with a snippy 20-something who thinks it's funny that she texts while driving. I have alternately loved and been irritated by Oprah over the years, and I've been watching since 1989. Now I've settled in to revering her. When I get anxious about politics I imagine her going in and yelling at the people I disagree with. It's surprisingly soothing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Henry and the princesses

Yesterday evening we went to Park Street to find a lunch box for Henry, after I inadvertently smashed his Bob-the-Builder one by slamming it onto the floor in the midst of a fight with Simon. Another really stellar moment in parenting. And marriage, for that matter.

I had seen an assortment of non-commercial lunch totes in the window of Lauren's Closet a week earlier, and I liked them, so we went there. As soon as we walked in, Henry's eyes bypassed the two shelves of tiger, dinosaur, and fire truck bags, and immediately rested on the Disney princesses.

"I want that one," he said.

"Are you sure?" I asked, although I knew a princess lunch box was exactly what he wanted. He had been talking about it for weeks, ever since Milan, a girl in his class, brought her own princess lunch box to school. "They also have a ladybug one, and these diggers are cool..."

He didn't even glance at the other options. "Princesses," he said.

"Great!" I said, and I got the sparkly pink bag off the shelf. "I'm so happy they have the princesses!"

I was not actually happy that they had the princesses. I don't mind the pink and sparkly. I'm delighted that he has some interest besides his current fascination with swords. But, really, princesses?

The bag is a perfect illustration of my issues with the princesses. Belle, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty each wears a coquettish half-smile and half-lidded gaze. Even Belle, the feisty, book-loving heroine from Beauty and the Beast, offers a come-hither stare from over her shoulder. The whole tableau looks like it could be an ad for an escort service.

In spite of that, or maybe because of that, Henry loves them. The Disney princesses are currently right alongside Peter Pan, the movie Cars, and Legos in his field of interest. I don't want to discourage Henry from loving princesses just because he's a boy. I'd just rather he loved a more three-dimensional image of femininity. Like Rosie the Riveter, maybe. Of course, a Rosie lunch box would probably look pretty similar to his Bob the Builder one. Maybe that's why he’s so drawn to the docile, glittery princesses. They are different from anything else he has.

As Henry stared happily at the princesses, I asked Amelia which lunch box she wanted. She immediately reached for the one with the dinosaur on the front. The dinosaur was not flirtatious or sexy. It was posed very academically, as if in a side-view mug shot.

“Great!” I said, and meant it.