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Monday, April 26, 2010

Save the Date: Consuming Kids

I know here we go from our princess cruise to the movie Consuming Kids.  As a parent if you don't take things with a grain of salt you're going to go a little insane, but you have to stand up for what you believe in and surround yourself with people, causes, support groups that help keep you walking the path of your ideals.

 


On Wednesday, drop the kids off for dinner at a friend's house, hire a babysitter, or have a girls' night out and start the evening at the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library for a screening of  excerpts from the movie Consuming Kids:  The Commercialization of Childhood.  Diane Levin will be there for a conversation about topics raised in the film and how we (parents, teachers, care givers) can react and prepare ourselves and our children to deal with the way we are "marketed to".

The event is on Wednesday, April 28th at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Main Cambridge Public Library branch.  After you take it all in, then you can head out for a drink and a bite to eat.  Walking distance (Café Pamplona, Grafton Street, Mr. Bartley's Burgers).  If it's a nice night for a longer walk (Olé, Trina's Starlite Lounge, East Coast Grill, East by Northeast).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pretty Pretty Unsure Princess

If you mention the Disney princesses I get a little knot in my stomach for several reasons.  I'm just not a huge Disney fan, my kids are way too scared of the most "babyish" television shows to even consider watching a Disney movie, and I am not a fan of the mass princess marketing on everything from food, to clothing, to toys.   BUT, when it comes to the princesses, I don't want to stop my kids from jumping on that fantasy wagon.

Since she doesn't watch the movies, there are a whole lot of issues that I feel I just don't have to deal with when it comes to the princesses and what they represent.  My five year old knows the rule that she can play with the princesses, we even buy the princess "no-fruit" fruit snacks for a treat sometimes, but she is not allowed to have shoes, or clothes, or bags that essentially promote the princesses for Disney.  She's okay with that. She even has a nightgown or two with the princesses on it.  Given all that, I was actually excited to bring my daughter to The Spirit of Boston's princess lunch cruise.  It seemed like a cute idea and I knew she'd be so excited to drift off on a princess fantasy for a little while.  We went with her friend "aka little sister" who is a disney princess and fairy lover that is not afraid to watch the movies, her mom a lover of most things Disney, and her little sister (princess opinions to be determined).

As we walked towards the dock the girls saw toddlers, tykes, and little girls all dressed in various princess costumes (some Disney, some not).  There was a sparkle in their eyes and a rush of excited energy buzzing through their bodies as we stood in line waiting to board our cruise.

I have to say the entire event was well done.  Nothing was over the top.  The "real" princesses were almost all so perfect asking the children about their special outfits, or telling them about their own adventures from their respective stories.  They knew when to give children a moment to take it all in, and when to jump full force into a conversation.  Missing from the cruise were Princess Jasmine (it seems Abu was sick and Jasmine stayed back to take care of him) and Princess Tiana (we think she was promoting her new movie).  :)  On our particular trip princess Aurora didn't seem like she was having such a great time, but luckily the kids' were too excited to notice or care.



After we boarded and took our seats, the children colored pages from their goodie bag, and took pictures with Ariel who happened to be on deck.  They then guided us through our send-off with streamers and all.  The buffet was set with a perfect selection of foods (a few extra crudités might have been good for the kids), but the quality was excellent especially compared to other "kid-friendly" restaurants or special lunch outings (such as the terribly disappointing American Girl's Café).  It seems veggies with dip were on the menu, but I didn't see any at the buffet and somehow they had no apple juice (not a good thing with a ship full of children, but it seemed to work out.)

After lunch, it was time for a  few songs (well sung by the staff) and then a little dance party.  The girls had such a great time dancing with the princesses.  My usually quiet and clingy kindergartner was going up and down to the dance floor on her own without any concern about my whereabouts.



We were seated at the top level which was great for taking photos and perfect with our littlest princess guest (only 2 months old) because it was a bit quieter.  Also, with fewer tables and easy access to the outdoor deck, there were plenty of great opportunities for the moms (and a few dads) to take in the gorgeous views.

 
We were guests on this cruise, but before we even docked back at the seaport, my daughter asked if we could come again.  I said we definitely would.  The girls had a fabulous time, it wasn't unpleasant for me (the Disney-phobe) and it's an experience we would love to share with more of her friends!  Some children even had their birthday party on the cruise.

Upcoming Spirit of Boston princess lunch cruise dates are:  July 25th, 2010 and August 14th 2010.  Children 3 and under are complimentary, tickets for children 4 - 12 start at $15.90 and adult tickets are $35.90.  The cruise is from 11:30 to 1:30 with a boarding time of 10:30.