G’dammit can something go right today please??!?
My darling daughter, not unlike her mother, tends to pride herself on being somewhat original.
She spent weeks and weeks telling me she was going to be Sleeping Beauty for Hallowe’en, only to suddenly change her mind about a month ago in the Disney store and say “Mommy, I really, really want to be Mulan for Hallowe’en this year… I can be Sleeping Beauty next year,” I was a little surprised, but figured I knew the cause… “Is somebody else going as Sleeping Beauty this year?” I asked. “Blondie,” she said.
Okay, so Mulan – I get it, quirky, kicks butt, and not terribly ‘common’ as princess infatuations go. Sure. Mulan it is.
We get the whole ensemble.
She is excited about it for a month.
Today, I tell her “let’s not do the black hair spray, wig and make-up for school today honey – we’ll save that for tonight,” trying to keep the school vs. ‘costume malfunction’ issues down to a minimum.
She says okay.
So I put her hair up on top of her head with the appropriate Mulan hair-thingy and she is enchanted.
She preens about the mirror and the house. Thrilled.
She insists that the ‘special’ Mulan shoes aren’t too small – although they clearly are – damn growth spurts happen at the most inconvenient times.
She flutters about with the ‘special’ Mulan fan, telling me “the dog doesn’t even recognize me Mommy, she thinks I’m Mulan…”
We go to school. She’s excited. We are the first in her class to arrive.
Standing outside of the door, we look over the list of what everyone has said they are coming as for Hallowe’en… “there Mommy! See? It says ‘Buttercup – Mulan‘ that’s me!!”
The list contains the usual assortment of other princesses – Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel… a smattering of animals, Leopard, Bear… a few fire fighters and pirates and whatnot. There are no duplicates. Apparently it’s a class full of individualists.
Or so I think, until her little classmate Michelle* rounds the corner wearing – you guessed it… a Mulan costume.
I glance back at the list – ‘Michelle – Snow White’ – hrm.
Buttercup’s face falls… she sees that Michelle is wearing elaborate eye make-up… and her naturally long black hair is done up. Michelle looks up at her Mother, who says in Spanish “oh, another Mulan?” and Michelle says in Spanish “yes Mama, but I wanted to be Mulan like her, it’s okay if I’m Mulan too, yes?” Her mother answers “yes, yes, you are both beautiful princesses.”
You see, Michelle doesn’t really speak English. While her mother is fluent in it, she’s not at all. Buttercup befriended her several weeks back – and has tried to overcome the language barrier… often asking me ‘how do you say XXX in Spanish Mommy?’ so that I can translate for her and she can use it later. One of the first phrases she asked me was “how do you say ‘big hug’?” She’s a sweet thing, my girl.
I may look as Caucasian as they come, but I speak enough Spanish and French to get by… something I’ve noticed most people don’t expect of me. It’s amazing sometimes what people will say in front of you when they think you don’t understand the language they are using.
Given the situation and what Michelle said, I suspect Buttercup has been paid an oblique compliment… but she’s 4 1/2, so she sure doesn’t see it that way. I could see as her little gears started turning – assessing her costume versus Michelle’s – which was better despite only minute differences? She said nothing. But I can read my daughter like a book. She liked both dresses equally, but she was envious of Michelle’s hair and of the make-up. She decided it was balanced out by the fact that she had the fan, the hair thing and the shoes Michelle didn’t… but she’s SO not happy about being one of two Mulans.
My poor boo. She’s not yet 5 and she already knows the embarrassment of showing up to the party wearing the same dress as another woman. I suspect it will be awhile before she buys off-the-rack again for Hallowe’en. I guess I’d better get my sewing skills up to par for next year. Sigh.
The list said ‘Michelle – Snow White’… dammit.
*I’m not changing her name, I don’t expect her to be a recurrent player, and besides, there’s about 8 zillion Michelle’s out there, eh?