Our daughter. Four. Brave. Imaginative. Strong-willed.
Irony. That Megan and I (who collectively own maybe one dress) would end up with a daughter who loves princesses, dressing up fancy, all that.
“Mommy, I am holding a ball tonight. Will you wear your purple dress?” she asks Megan enthusiastically.
“Good luck with that,” I say to Megan under my breath.
It’s true. Without any encouragement from us, Kai found her way to, not only princesses, but the DISNEY princesses. It’s extreme, her love and obsession with them. We try to remain supportive of her interests, and I have to admit, we’ve given in here and there by buying her princess-themed things of which there are MILLIONS. It got to the point that she decided almost nine months ago that her name, Kai, wasn’t princessy enough. She asked us to start calling her by her princess name. One day it was Cinderella, the next Belle, the next day Mulan. We went along for a while, thinking it didn’t hurt to appease her, but we tried to create boundaries of when it was okay to pretend princess (It’s NOT pretend, Mama!!) and when she had to go by ‘Kai’ (like in school). God forbid someone addressed her by ‘Kai’. She’d blurt out, exasperated, “That’s not my name!”
It has been an ongoing work in progress. We’ve at least been able to have her ask politely, “Will you please call me …?” instead of screaming out indignantly. On this trip, we’ve talked a lot about how in our villa we can address her by her princess name, but outside when we introduce her to people, we need to use ‘Kai’. She acknowledged us and we were suddenly hopeful that Bali would be what would break this ‘stage’…..
Today, Agung took us for a short walk through the rice fields surrounding our villa to the village centre of Pejeng. It was lovely to see the local way of life – Balinese homes and temples, children flying kites in the street, boys fixing their motorbikes, smiling faces everywhere. I am thrilled that it’s close enough that I can do this walk. It makes it easy that everyone strolls at a slow pace around here. He brought us to the house that his parents and siblings live in. In Bali, children are revered and everyone has been so loving to Kai. We watched while Agung’s parents took Kai in their arms. She didn’t resist. They asked what her name is. Megan and I held our breath. Slowly, Kai opened her mouth to speak.
“Um. My name is….Rapunzel.”