Farting is funny. I don’t know if it’s the noise or the smell or just the fact that it comes out of your butt. All I know is that I will never stop laughing at a good rip.
My daughter, Penny, knows they’re funny. But, even at the tender age of 4, she’s figured out that they’re not the kind of funny a young lady wants to take responsibility for.
As every dad knows and fears, raising a girl is bound to provide some extra challenges along the way: her changing body, awkward purchases at the store, awkward conversations with her about these things, and, of course, the slightly veiled threats to her boyfriends. But that’s all really far into the future. I didn’t think I’d have to worry about “girl stuff” beyond dealing with the inevitable princess obsession. But my little girl is a princess. And princesses don’t fart.
What you may not know, unless you are also raising a princess, is that if a princess farted from her royal posterior, proper etiquette maintains that she must lay the blame on another princess. That’s pretty much how it was explained to me, anyway.
The other day, Penny farted — a real loud one. We looked at each other, and started cracking the eff up.
But then she got quiet and whispered, “Daddy, that was Snow White.” Uh, no, honey, I’m pretty sure it was you. “IT WAS SNOW WHITE!!!”
Wow. Alright. I guess your Snow White doll farted. “Or maybe it was Simon who farted.” Hmm, he’s upstairs napping, honey. “Well, Snow White, then.”
And then it went back to being funny again, as we both blamed her dolls and her brother for the cheese she continued to cut.
Penny wasn’t always such a proper princess. When she was born, Allie and I had a “no Disney,” as well as a “no pink,” policy. We bought a mix of girl and boy clothes, preferring boy shirts because they didn’t sell superhero or sci-fi shirts for girls. We painted her room green and purple and decorated it with robots and rocket ships. We thought we were going to mold her into a lover of science fiction and geek culture.
Until she started having opinions of her own. And, holy crap, did she have opinions! Soon, everything was pink and she seemed to have a new favorite princess every other week.
It started, innocently enough, with her attire. She insisted on being dressed like she was an infant extra from Punky Brewster. It was actually pretty cool. She was fine with wearing the T-shirts we preferred, but she paired them with pink tutus and, since I could never find matching pairs, mismatched socks. This started when she was only 18 months old, and, since then, I haven’t had much say in what she wears. But as long as she picked out a weather-appropriate outfit, I was happy to help her get dressed in whatever she wanted.
Ironically, the princess obsession began with her favorite gassy scapegoat, Snow White. That was the first movie we let her watch. We’d already softened our position on Disney and, we reasoned, Snow White is a classic. That viewing was probably the first time I’d ever seen it all the way through. I thought the movie was slow and had some pretty scary scenes for kids. Penny friggin’ loved it. From then on, there was no looking back. Penny’s style shifted from Cindy Lauper to Cinderella. (Though I still couldn’t find matching socks.)
Princesses became the thing! Some now I was raising a princess of my own. Out went all the other shirts; everything had to have a Disney princess on it. Sometimes – especially on mornings I hadn’t yet consumed enough coffee and wasn’t ready for a fight – I let her wear her princess costumes as regular outfits. “Yeah, she’s really excited about Halloween,” I’d tell people in August. She was so obsessed that you couldn’t call the movie Aladdin by it’s proper name. Nope, that movie is known in our house as Jasmine, Aladdin being relegated to bit player. And god forbid someone point to her shirt and get the name of the princess wrong. I’d close my eyes and sigh because, having a deep knowledge of all the princesses (including my own), I knew what was about to happen. “That’s not Cinderella, it’s Aurora,” Penny would say indignantly. I’d calmly explain to her that not everyone was as princess savvy as the two of us and make her apologize for “having a rude voice.”
It might seem odd that, staying home with me, Penny became so wrapped up in princess culture. The fact is, Allie and I tried to influence Penny with the things we liked, but they didn’t take. We introduced one princess and BANG we were immersed in Disney! And that’s fine. It’s a phase and I think it’s starting to wane (a little). She loves it and I love her. So when she wants to play princess figurines or dress up and play Ball (as in gowns, not base) that is what we do. She doesn’t think she’s a damsel in distress and doesn’t rely on me or any other guy to “save” her in her fairyland. She just likes the pretty dresses, jewelry and dancing.
Penny is a princess, but she is not a through and through girly girl. She loves to wrestle and jump on the bed and off the couch. She gets bumps, bruises, and scrapes, and sometimes even gets a little dirty. She also does this really cool move (that Allie hates) where she runs, jumps up, and slides on her knees. It’s totally rock star! I make no qualms about the fact that I tend to encourage some questionable behavior. I think it helps keep her stay well rounded. I’d like there to be some evidence that she stays home with dad!
My girl is a kick-ass princess who thinks farts are hilarious. She just won’t take the blame for the real stinkers.