By Casey Seidenberg
Three years ago I had a daughter after almost a decade of all boys in the house. At first, raising a girl wasn’t so different from raising boys; she didn’t have long hair in which to don bows, she wore her brothers’ hand-me-down blue onesies and she was dragged to hours of sporting events where she happily played in the dirt.
But recently something shifted. At the age of 3, she has decided that she is officially a girl — a dress-wearing, doll-toting, tea-party-hosting girl. Although we didn’t push any of the stereotypical girl gear on her — she has spent the past few years playing with trucks and trains as happily as with dolls — it is official: Her favorite activity is to dress up and play princess. And if you ask her (or often even if you don’t), she will tell you her favorite colors are pink and purple.
Coinciding with this shift, she has begun to assert herself at the table. She is becoming a pickier eater. The clams she once loved sit on her plate untouched, she barely bites the kale chips and a sweet potato is definitely not to be passed off as a regular one.
She is an opinionated 3-year-old girl now, and I better get used to it. In an effort to meet her in the middle, I made a delicious dip for a recent weekend lunch and served it on china with cups of tea. The dip was pink, of course, yet also free of artificial food dyes. My daughter dove into it with crackers, apples and carrot sticks and later told her friends all about her “pink party lunch.”
The beans in this dip provide protein and calcium, the olive oil provides healthful fats and the beet has essential vitamins and minerals. With the right dipping materials, it makes an impressive meal. My daughter has asked to serve it at all of her upcoming tea parties. Works for me.
So to all of the little princesses out there, I wholly embrace your enthusiasm and hope someday you come out of the phase as strong-willed as you went in — and worrying less about how sparkly you are on the outside than how strong you are on the inside. But at age 3, let life be pink.
First published in the Washington Post on Thursday, July 10, 2014.