Ellie had a field trip on Wednesday morning to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (or, as she’ll tell you, to the playground). With the exception of field trip days, she attends afternoon pre-school and we sleep the morning away. On field trip days, she has to be at school at 9am (otherwise known as middle of the night to our family). This has the double impact of throwing our schedule off and making for a very fragile and exhausted pre-schooler who will NOT nap, no matter how much we plead/cajole/bribe her to try. So it’s always a challenge to figure out what to do with Ellie on those afternoons (which luckily are only once every two months).
I consider it fortuitous that I got a text from my friend A, telling me about a Disney Princess Academy at Vivo on Tuesday. I looked up the event, and while technically it for ages 4 and up, I decided to take a liberal approach to the the age limit—she’ll be four this calendar year, I decided. They’re going to let her dress up and get her photo taken as a Disney Princess. I have an afternoon I need to kill. Win. Win. Win.
So post-field trip, I took the girls to Vivo. We had to spend $30 in the mall on a single receipt to be eligible to register–which was the perfect excuse to hit Baby Gap and get a new outfit for each of the girls. What a hardship!
We then had to stand in line to register. Then we had to wait an hour for our assigned slot. This was when I realized that perhaps this wasn’t the perfect outing for Ellie, who burst into tears at multiple points. However, she rallied after some quiet cuddles (while luckily Rhi slept) in a corner, and a trip through the attached Disney Princess boutique to find potty presents (we are struggling with pooping in the potty–and if some branded crap will convince her to do it, I’m more than willing to sell my soul to the Disney corporation to make it happen).
Registration is another $20, but that pays for the makeover, a complimentary photo, and a class at another mall next week (theoretically there’s cupcake decorating and other nonsense). If the girl complete both, she’ll get some kind of certificate. There’s also a pageant, but I purposefully know nothing about it, as I am very uncomfortable with pageants on many many many levels. I just wanted to give Ellie a chance to play dress-up.
Ellie waiting to get to the promised land….
Waiting for her turn to pick a costume (like I ever had a doubt who she’d go with) and go into hair/makeup.
Costumed–I love the tail/skirt.
Getting her hair did. I have to admit I love this shot.
After this photo, they applied some light makeup (eyeshadow, blush, gloss)–her first experience with makeup. As I watched them apply it, I had two choices–to listen to my inner feminist/gender critique and worry about the messages of princess culture and blah blah blah (and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely DO worry about princess culture etc), or to just delight in sharing the joy of dressing up as a little girl (which I had delighted in only days before when I played with my makeup for the Lady Gaga concert) with my little girl. I went with squealing in delight that she looked JUST LIKE Ariel, and getting her sunbeam smile in response. Plenty of time to talk about princesses and my concerns about getting a Prince as opposed to a PhD as a happy ending (recent re-tellings of stories included Cinder-Ellie going to Med School instead of marrying the prince).
The lineup of princesses was precious. I would’ve LOVED this at their age.
Pictured–Ellie posting. Not pictured–Rhi waking up and screaming for milk about 15 minutes too early for me to do anything about it. I’m totally down with breastfeeding in public, but not while I’m wrangling E and trying to pick up her photo.
Totally worth the 4 hour investment.
It took a lot longer than I had planned and we missed ballet (which I was lucky enough to reschedule to the weekend). However, it absolutely made her day. She has the photo on her wall next to an embroidered Ariel picture that my mom made. If you have a princess-crazy girl (I was irritated that it was explicitly only for girls, but not exactly surprised), this is definitely a must-do.
Princess Academy runs through June 3 (Sunday) from 11-7 at Vivo.