At Age 3, She Discovered...Pink: Making Peace with Ponies, Princesses & Tea Parties
When the glittery princess costume arrived in the mail, I didn’t flinch: I had been expecting it. This moment had been a long time in coming and, after all, Little E and I had had a real good run. Eventually all little girls trade in their Chewbacca figurines and Lego® spaceships for tiaras and tea parties, right?
As she tore into the FedEx® box with ravenous glee, I knew it was time to let her totter on down the road to the Girl Zone. But I’m not gonna lie: When she immediately started using her jewel-encrusted scepter to dole out tough justice to a pack of imaginary aliens, I was secretly thrilled. I’d received an extension on these fleeting days when toys were neither pink nor blue—just props to feed a roaring imagination, all in the name of FUN.
Leading Little E toward the traditionally “boy’s side” of child’s play was never intentional; I was totally fine knowing that my wife and I were never going to have a baby boy. It’s just that when it came to playtime with Little E, I simply worked with my own fond memories of childhood play…which just so happened to include a lot of toy guns, monsters, aliens, and of course, game-saving touchdown dives.
So as you can imagine, when Little E invited me to play My Little Pony with her for the first time, I didn’t know quite how to react. There is no way to put a Kung Fu grip on a pony action figure, and I was a little uncomfortable with discussions about nail-polish colors and pony-tail hair styles floating around the tea-party table.
So—I winged it.
We packed up our little ponies and headed to a burned-out, war-torn landscape (i.e., a pile of gray blankets and pillows), where inhabitants found themselves caught up in tribal strife between the horned ponies and the winged ponies, family betrayal, revenge, and the occasional equine zombie attack. The story was such a hit that we turned it into our own little serial called Ponyville. Most episodes include the benevolent titan (a.k.a. Giant Little E) making an appearance to save the day, and we end the story with—naturally—a giant pony dance party. (And, just to make sure we aren’t veering off into play that’s too violent, we’ve created a rule that all injuries can be cured by pony tears.) For her birthday, I even made a book out of our favorite Ponyville episode, and not a bedtime goes by that we don’t read it by the light of her turtle nightlight.
Sure, it’s a little weird, but then…that’s us.
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she ascends to that higher frilly plane—and when that day comes, I will be ready. But until then? Long live the post-apocalyptic pony party!